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A 130-year-old cottage is ready for holidaymakers after a thoughtful reno

After an extensive and thoughtful interior renovation, this one-of-a-kind, 130-year-old cottage now ready to be enjoyed by visitors to Naseby


A 130-year-old cottage is ready for holidaymakers after a thoughtful reno

Who owns the home?
Paul O’Sullivan, a medical science liaison, and Craig Sherson, who works for PHD, a manufacturer of transportable huts.

Where is the home?
Naseby, Central Otago.

What was the project?
Paul and Craig purchased and renovated a character cottage which they now rent out as a holiday home. The reno was completed in four months by local tradesmen (builder Rodger Murphy, plumber Syd Boardly and Graham Electrical), with demolition, restoration and decor done by Paul and Craig.


Why did you purchase the home?
Craig: It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. We had always loved the look of the cottage and liked the idea of preserving it. It also looked like the property market in Naseby was about to move, which it has, very rapidly.

We now live in Naseby but when we purchased the cottage we were living in Dunedin (we have had a holiday house here since 2014). We found Naseby by accident when we were looking for a holiday home in Central Otago. We fell in love with the place and have now made it our permanent home.

What did you love about the house?
The history, the look and the location in the village. The property had been in the same family since it was built circa 1880.


The reno

What condition was the cottage in?
While charming, the cottage was incredibly basic and had not been lived in on a permanent basis for a long time. The foundations on the south side had started to collapse, which had caused the spouting to sag and water was running into the wall when it rained.

Some of the original mud-brick walls at the back of the house were also suffering badly from damp. The dampness was easily solved by lowering the ground level around the base which had built up over time. There was also a rotten floor in one of the bedrooms. This was removed and a concrete floor was poured.

What elements of the house did you retain? 
We tried to save as much as we possibly could. The biggest loss was the coal range, although this was not original. However, when we removed it, we discovered a small window above the stove which had been covered. The only other things to go were wall linings and floors that had passed their use-by date.

Best makeover moment?
Definitely our opening day. Bessie Pearson (the previous owner and granddaughter of the original owner) did us the honour of opening the cottage. She turned 100 last November.

How did you choose the decor?
It was important to us to not stray too far from the essence of the cottage, and that anything added was in keeping with its character. This is why we chose hessian curtains and embossed wallpaper.


What was your budget?
We didn’t really start out with a budget because it evolved as it went. We thought we would be up for around $60,000. We finished up at just over $55,000.

What did you save on?
Our biggest saving was on the wallpaper from wallpaperdirect.com; this saved us around $1500. Also, the curtains are made from 18-ounce hessian which was $250 for 50 metres. Carol from Carol’s Curtains & Blinds worked her magic putting them together.

What did you splurge on?
The kitchen tiles and Warmup underfloor heating in the kitchen, laundry and bathroom, all from Unico Italiano in Christchurch.

Approx $55,000

Fancy a stay?
You can book the cottage on AirBnB or by emailing levenstcottage@gmail.com. Visit their Facebook Page

Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Guy Frederick.

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