Home Tours

This little cottage in the middle of an olive grove uses space wisely

High-quality materials shine out in simple furnishings that have a penchant for the raw and natural in this Hawke’s Bay Airbnb

Meet and greet

Mike Stanton and Carol Stanton (both retired).

This little cottage in the middle of an olive grove uses space wisely

What would you never do again?
Carol: This build was amazing. Everything went according to the plans and there were no surprises either in estimated times or cost or delivery. It was simple and very smooth.

What’s one thing you would change about your home if you could?
There is only one thing I would change. We asked to use a couple of our own subcontractors as we thought we could save money that way. We wish we had left everything to the builder as we’re sure his subcontractors were very competent.

Most memorable experience you’ve had in your home?
The entire project was a breeze, uncomplicated and smoothly executed.

Were there any budget blowouts?
The whole project came in entirely on budget and most rooms were decorated with existing bits and bobs. I opened cupboards at home and found lots of things that are now in the cottage; the porcelain ornaments, cane baskets, books, lamp stands and vases were all sourced from my own shelves and cupboards.

Coral’s top renovation tips

Carol and Mike had undertaken a building project once before and say it was a nightmare. This time around, the process was completed without a hitch. Carol shares her top tips to avoid pain:

  • Recommendations are priceless. Ask around and discuss options with people who have been involved in building.
  • Selecting a good builder and project manager is invaluable. Our project was unbelievably smooth. There were no surprises; everything was on time and on budget.
  • If the price is too high, get another quote! Our first building estimate was ridiculously high. I thought the blame was with the architect but he suggested we get another quote and it was totally within the budget we agreed on at the outset.
  • Don’t necessarily choose the cheapest quote, but be clear about what is included in the price.
  • Know what you want and what you can afford. We could have built a bigger place for less, but we were restricted to 100 square metres and we wanted that space to be highly specified.
  • Be aware of the talent, resources and capability of people and suppliers in your region. I found many locals who were able to provide specialised skills for our home and furnishings.


Words by: Ady Shannon. Photography by: Florence Charvin.

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