Home Tours

Villa renovation bathed in sunlight

A renovation of a character villa allows this Auckland family to bask in sunshine all year round


Villa renovation bathed in sunlight

When renovating a house or garden, designers will often suggest that you live with the existing one for at least a year before making any major changes. This allows you to really get to know the spaces and how the light works at different times of the day and year. After buying their Grey Lynn villa eight years ago Lisa and Trevor Reid did wait a year before they started renovating but the delay was less about design considerations and more about the imminent arrival of son Archie.


The back of the house was extended to create one large open-plan kitchen, dining and living space. A wide deck on the same level continues the flow outside and the level of the lawn was raised to reduce the gradient between house and garden.

“The house had been used as a natural therapy centre before we arrived,” says Lisa. “At the back there was a narrow space with just a toilet and sink – no real kitchen or bathroom to speak of. And behind the house was a carpark, with no garden at all.

“Because the living areas are south facing we stuck to a white palette for the walls. We wanted as much light in here as possible so we had two skylights installed in the ceiling.”


To create further light in the extension the couple requested large windows on the side walls and full-height glass doors across the back of the house opening to the garden. The large windows also allow the family to enjoy the lovely view across the Grey Lynn ridge towards Auckland’s south east.

Although it would have been cheaper to lower the ceiling in the new extension Lisa felt that it was important to maintain the original stud height of the house. This has created an uninterrupted flow between the old and new sections so it’s not immediately obvious where the extension begins.


Shelves on either side of the original fireplace in the living area display books and precious china she inherited from her mother. On the walls are prints by Flox and Dick Frizzell.


“Continuing the high stud paid off despite the extra cost,” says Lisa. “It is really incredible having that height in the living area. We also didn’t want the renovation to date, so in the extension we had the new windows along the side walls made in the same style as the original house.”

Decor Tricks

  • When buying kilims and rugs always take a selection home to see how they look in situ. “Play around with how they might work in your space,” says Lisa.
  • Use tack strips to keep kilims and rugs flat, whether hanging on the wall or laying on the floor.
  • Cleaning rugs and kilims can be done professionally but for removing spot stains Lisa uses three parts water to one of white wine vinegar. Always dab with the grain.
  • She also recommends Giltgrip underlay. It’s slightly tacky underneath so that it grips onto the floor and the rug, leaves no residue and gives kilims extra padding.


Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Todd Eyre.

Create the home of your dreams with Shop Your Home and Garden