Home Tours

A heritage villa in Wellington is reconfigured to suit modern family life

A major kitchen renovation helped this disjointed villa transform into a space that makes living easy. Discover how they achieved such seamless style

Loading the player...

A heritage villa in Wellington is reconfigured to suit modern family life

Anji Foster, real estate salesperson and co-owner, Jason Lowe, business consultant, Bella, 15, and James, 12, plus Jock the miniature schnauzer.


  • The kitchen was located at the back of the house, totally disconnected from the living areas at the front of the house which basked in afternoon sun and lovely views.
  • The rear outdoor space hadn’t been touched in years (including gravel on the ground and graffiti on the concrete wall) and could only be accessed via narrow French doors.
  • We had boxes and boxes of books which we had been taking from house to house and had never been able to unpack as we didn’t have the shelving space.


  • The large, open-plan living area at the front was reconfigured to incorporate a new kitchen, and the old kitchen space at the back was made into a second living area.
  • Two three-metre bifold doors were installed to open up the rear of the house. The concrete walls were painted black and much of the outdoor area was decked to make it usable.
  • A shelving wall was designed for the main living room to accommodate the mountains of books plus the TV and associated gadgets.


Anji: Approximately $40,000 on the kitchen plus additional for the courtyard, old kitchen area and in-built joinery in both living rooms. We still need to get the bathrooms done and the front garden, but good things take time!

Anji’s Reno tips

  • Build a ‘scrapbook’ of ideas, whether it’s an actual scrapbook or on Pinterest. Themes start to present themselves.
  • Stick to your guns. Just because your builder hasn’t done something before doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
  • Go with what you love, not just what’s on-trend. You’ll be living with it for some years!
  • Spend money on a few key items, like a stunning light or benchtop, and save on standard pieces such as handles and subway tiles.
  • Look at which finishes have stood the test of time and incorporate them. Marble, metals, black and white are classic and less likely to date.


Words by: Sharon Stephenson. Photography by: Nicola Edmonds.

Home experts are just a click away