Design News

An old garage turned chic office is the first finalist in Reno of the Year

From ugly tin garage to dusky pink office space in a matter of weeks, these new business owners can call their first project a resounding success

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In just six weeks, Melissa O’Shaughnessy, Holly Buckley and Ashlee Clegg of The Reno Girls transformed a “large, ugly” tin garage in Melissa’s Whangaparaoa backyard into the base for their new business.

The three friends launched the renovation business six months ago to combine their styling, construction and project management skills, and to “spend more time with the kids,” says Melissa, a former pastor. The office was the first project the trio undertook – although they’d each completed their own house renovations – and it went off almost without a hitch.


Builders and materials $15,000
Kitchen $2000
Gib stopper $1500
Paint and painters $2000
Electrician $500
Homeware $60



What was your inspiration for the build?
Melissa: The rise in popularity of container rooms and houses. I thought this could be a similar concept, and it worked perfectly.

What interior style were you aiming for?
Coachella Valley desert with a mix of boho. We wanted the style to reflect our brand – fun, relaxed, playful and girly; an oasis where we can dream and create.

How did the three of you split the work?
It was a collaborative job. I had the overall vision of what I wanted the space to become, Holly worked with the colour and design, and Ash helped me execute it.

I personally love white so when Holly suggested pink,

I was a little hesitant. But it has absolutely made the space!

What did the renovation involve?
We took the tin exterior off two sides of the garage and replaced it with board-and-batten cladding. The other two sides weren’t visible so we simply painted the tin. We also built a small deck. Inside, we insulated, gibbed and plastered the walls and added skirting boards. We moved the existing windows and added a sliding door. We also built a bathroom structure so we can install a bathroom later. We had a custom kitchen unit designed and installed. Then, of course, we had electrical work and plumbing to do.

Did you use tradies or do the work yourself?
We used tradies. Advantage Projects were our builders. Artisan Kitchens did our kitchen unit. We painted the exterior ourselves and had painters do the interior – including a feature wall, concrete floor, ceiling and beams.

Did you have to upgrade the flooring?
We were fortunate enough to have a good quality concrete floor already there, so we just painted it white. I was hesitant, thinking it may be too cold, but so far, so good.

Any challenges during the reno?
We reused the existing windows to save money, with the intention of replacing them when we renovate the house. Unfortunately, they aren’t very functional as they don’t open and close very well and they aren’t overly secure. We are in the process of getting them replaced with two gas strut windows that will look out to the future entertaining area. We are also going to install two swing doors to replace the slider. It won’t be a major job as we set it up knowing they’d be replaced at some point.

How does the new space work for you?
It’s fantastic! It’s got everything we need, plus a bathroom to come.

What’s your favourite feature of the new space?
Probably the colour of the walls. I personally love white so when Holly suggested pink, I was a little hesitant. But it has absolutely made the space!

What was your budget, and did you manage to stick to it?
Our budget was $20k, and the final build cost just over that. However, we still have the windows to install and final plumbing work to be done.

What did you save on? Splurge on?
Matt from Artisan Kitchens suggested a bamboo benchtop from Bunnings instead of terrazzo or granite, which saved us heaps. We also opted to have the sink just sit on top of the bench, rather than flush, which meant that Artisan Kitchens could put it in themselves. You can hardly notice the difference and it saved a lot of money. We also saved on furnishing and styling by using mostly our own items and repurposing some older pieces. I think the gas strut windows will be our biggest cost, but it will be worth it, especially in summer.

See before & afters of the renovation below

Fact file

+ Walls painted in Resene ‘Soothe’, feature wall in Resene ‘Coral Tree’, ceiling, floor, interior door and skirting boards in Resene ‘Sea Fog’, exterior in Resene ‘Pitch Black’.

+ Table and rug from Freedom.

+ Couch secondhand.

+ Pendant lights from Annabelle’s.

+ Custom kitchen unit by Artisan Kitchens.

+ Chairs from Indie Home Collective.

+ Coffee table and black cabinet repurposed by Holly.

+ Cushions from Freedom. and Penney + Bennett.

+ Blush desk chair and ottoman from Me & My Trend.

+ Desk from McGreals.

+ Throws, feather wall art, beads and items on dining table and kitchen bench from Gifted Company.

COLORSTEEL® – for a home you can be proud of.

Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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