Couple warm and dry in tiny 'super shack'

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 05:00 24/06/2013
Garage living
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ

ALL MOD CONS: John and Janet Wilson are living in their converted garage for a third winter.

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John and Janet Wilson are making the best out of a bad situation.

It is the third winter the couple have lived in their converted garage after their Banks Ave home, in Shirley, was red-stickered following the 2011 earthquake.

Despite the howling wind, pouring rain and bitterly cold weather that battered the city yesterday, the couple were "cosy and warm" in what they fondly refer to as their "super shack".

The converted garage, which was once a drum studio and sleepout, was fully insulated and a small fan heater was the only heat source the couple had running yesterday.

"It's almost at the stage where it's warm enough to turn that off," Janet, 75, said.

The couple had considered renting but decided to move into the former garage to keep an eye on their TC3 property, which has been their home for over 20 years.

And they have never looked back.

The converted space has everything they could need, including a kitchen and even Sky TV.

"You make the best of what you've got really. We're both survivors," Janet said.

The pair both suffered heart attacks in 2011 - Janet minutes after the February 22 earthquake and John later that year.

John, 69, said if they had chosen to rent they would have used up their $20,000 entitlement a "long, long time ago".

"If we didn't have the sleepout I don't know what we would've done."

That money could now go towards their rent when they had to move out while their home was rebuilt as the shack would also be torn down.

"We'll be sad to see it go . . . At first I didn't like it at all. I was used to living in a spacious area but after a while I got attached to it," he said.

Janet said living in the converted garage had been "quite an experience", but they hoped they would not have to live in it another winter.

They expect to be in their new home early next year and plan to frame a photo of the "super shack" as a reminder of their journey.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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