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A stucco bungalow in New Plymouth is lovingly restored with heritage style

This interior designer restored and refreshed her New Plymouth bungalow by adding a pared-down colour palette and extra heritage touches

A stucco bungalow in New Plymouth is lovingly restored with heritage style

Who lives here?
Sandra Simpson, interior designer, daughter Breia Paige, works in hospitality, plus cats Milo and Cloudy.

When did you move in and what was the renovation timeline?
We moved in July 2010 and started renovating early 2011, completing the renovation over a period of a few years.

Loves and loathes 

Why did you decide to purchase your home?
We liked the location and saw the home’s potential.

What did you love about the home?
It was a cute character-filled stucco bungalow. It also had a nice backyard we could develop.

What did you not like?
There was no outdoor flow from the living area.

The makeover 

Tell us about the renovation process.
The first thing I did was paint the interior in Resene ‘Half Tea’ as the walls were originally dark red, green and yellow.

What did you change in the kitchen?
I made the space into a French-country-style kitchen, adding a butler’s sink and Perrin & Rowe tapware. I also had the framing extended around the oven so it looks like there is an inbuilt coal range chimney.

What other structural alterations did you make?
We moved the laundry to the back of the house and hid it behind bifold doors. We then turned the original laundry into a bathroom with shower. We kept the bath in the main bathroom but it was too small to add a shower.

What outdoor work did you do?
I painted the exterior in a classic black and white style and installed a new roof. We added a number of plants, put a new fence in and added pathways in front of the home. We painted all the fences black, which makes the garden pop. We also redesigned the outdoor area using circular concrete shapes edged with chimney bricks, then planted wisteria to grow over the pergola and provide shelter. Down the side of the house is a wood shed out of sight.

Finer details 

How did you add character in the living room?
I removed the gas heater and the cabinets and shelves that were around the fireplace and put in a classic Firenzo woodburner. I found a mantel at a demo yard and oiled it up to create a mantelpiece. I also put new SmartStrand carpet in the living room, polished the floors and tiled the back room, which functions as a second living room.

What other character features have you added?
In 2015 I started adding shutters, which I love. At this stage, I have only added them to the master bedroom, the end of hallway (as these face the road) and the kitchen window.

Tell us about the ‘keyhole’ archway feature in the living space.
It is original and is a nice divider in the open-plan space, especially since it is a small area. The wall is made from solid concrete, and 11 sheets of laminated wood were used to create the shape.

Did you use tradies or do the work yourself?
I used tradies for the plumbing, roofing, kitchen, shower room and back laundry. I did all the interior painting and exterior stucco painting.

The results 

What were the challenges of working with a character home?
As always there was rot in some wood and nothing was straight, but there wasn’t anything too major.

What’s your favourite feature of the new space?
The open-plan living area. Although the kitchen is small it works really well.

As an interior designer, how was it working on your own home?
Absolutely fun, having access to most things, especially wallpapers and gorgeous cotton and linen fabrics. It’s great to be able to put these into my living space.


What did you save on?
I did the gardens and painted the interior and fences, and had mates build the wood shed and entertainment area.

What did you splurge on?
The fireplace, butler’s sink, taps and shutters. I’m also slowly adding drapes in high-quality fabrics.

Text compiled by Fiona Ralph. Photography by Jane Dove Juneau.

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