Home Tours

This house went from a cottage to a five-bedroom family home

The owners of this Greytown home didn’t have an ultimate plan for their property, but in 10 years it has evolved from a cottage to a five-bedroom house

Who lives here?
Jo Lysaght (graphic designer and co-owner with sister Sharon of Caravan Homewares), Dave Murray (owner of 3D illustration and web design company Satellite Design), Baxter, 9, Evie, 7, dogs Arnold and Pipi, two rabbits and two pet lambs.

Jo, what do you love about where you live?
Our mature trees, space for the kids and their pets, yet still being only 10 minutes to town or an hour to Wellington.

Your best creative idea?
Mixing as many reclaimed materials into the new build as possible to achieve maximum character. We’ve re-purposed colanders for lightshades and fence posts for garden gates.

What’s your favourite part of the house?
Definitely the new living space. It holds a crowd comfortably yet still feels cosy enough for just the four of us; it’s command central!

Decor tricks

  • Borrow ideas from existing buildings. “We replicated the proportions of old Victorian sash windows, and even though ours are aluminium, they have great scale and fit the exterior well,” says Jo.
  • Pay attention to the elevation when looking at house plans. Plans are great to check the flow and amount of space but only the birds view the house this way. What you see on the elevation is what you get, so ensure the proportions are pleasing even at a small scale.
  • Look past the dust and colour of secondhand pieces; once cleaned up and placed in a modern environment they take on a whole new personality.
  • Break up plain walls using built-in alcoves, shelving or anaglypta wallpaper.


Photography by: Elizabeth Goodall

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