Home Tours

This Auckland family used mid-century design to inspire their reno style

A homemade reno in Auckland’s Mangere bridge turned out to be the best option for this family. We get the details behind their mid-century inspired home

Meet and greet

Grant Leslie, builder, Stephanie Creagh, photographer, Frankie, 13, and Otis, 11, plus Chloe the dog.


  • The home was small and felt cramped.
  • Storage space was limited.
  • There was just one living area and a single toilet in the house.


  • The kitchen-dining room and lounge were switched around to make better use of the space and connect to outdoor areas, creating a feeling of spaciousness.
  • A hot water cylinder was removed and the cupboard repurposed as storage. The new addition includes generous built-in storage.
  • The garage was demolished and a new carport and second living area built in its place, complete with ensuite and laundry.

How much did you spend on your reno?
Stephanie: $220K in total, with Grant doing all the building work.

Spending tips when renovating?

+ Be realistic about what your budget can cover, remembering that a lot of it goes on ground works and structures you don’t even see.
+ Try to have a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve and how you want the house to work and flow.
+Don’t be swayed by other people’s opinions.
Try not to make changes along the way. Each change costs money and time.
+ Good tradies! We were so lucky to have the most amazing tradies.
+ Be flexible. We had to make compromises, like our strandboard flooring (glued and pressed wood flakes), which was a much cheaper alternative to floorboards.

Expert Q&A with Grant Leslie homeowner and builder

What was the biggest challenge you faced with the build?
Staying mentally strong and committed, knowing I only had weekends to complete the project. The flipside to this was coming home each night and visualising what I would be achieving in the weekend ahead; that really drove me. We’d been contemplating moving or renovating for such a long time that finally making it a reality really pushed me on.

Which aspect of the renovation are you most proud of?
Looking at my home as I pull into the carport each day makes me happy. The entrance area really appeals to me; it has a real sense of ‘coming home’. The other thing that makes me proud is how much the family enjoy the house now. It is awesome to see Steph enjoying the new kitchen and bathroom she’d waited so patiently for. And the boys, as they grow older, will be able to escape their embarrassing parents by retreating to the rumpus. The time and energy put in by the whole family has paid off and we are proud of what we’ve collectively achieved.


Words by: Esther Gordon. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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