Addition Residential: This Renovation reveals the true beauty of an old Napier bungalow  

The earthquake that struck Napier on March 11, 1931, changed many things about the city, not least it’s architecture. One of the houses affected by the earthquake was a bungalow that enjoys spectacular views of Cape Kidnappers, which is a headland that sits on the south-eastern extremity of Hawkes Bay, on a peninsula just south-east of the city.

The house was renovated after the earthquake during the 1930s. While the owners did not take advantage of the spectacular views, they did complete what we call an ‘addition residential’ by adding a second storey to the bungalow.

Unveiling stunning views

Cape Kidnappers gets its name from an attempted kidnapping of one of Captain Cook’s Tahitian interpreters, Tiata, by Maori fishermen. In this modern era, however, the only thing the new locals – specifically the owners of the bungalow – wanted to capture was the spectacular view over the bay.

Not only was the bungalow not taking advantage of the beautiful view, the double story ‘addition residential’ suffered from uneven floors; the ceiling beams were unstable and the house. New light fittings also had to be installed.

Typical bungalow needed to be opened up

The house was typically bungalow in character – spacious, but closed-in with walls and long gloomy passages and no indoor/outdoor flow. The old fireplace, with its unreinforced brick and lime cement mortar, was unstable. The brick fireplace was also not compliant with modern regulations. The owners say that the house was big, airy and cold.

The renovation brief given to Henry Brown & Co. was for the home to be opened up.

The owners wanted to integrate the kitchen, dining room and the lounge to form an L shape living area. They wanted to open up the view to Cape Kidnappers so that the first thing visitors see when they enter the house was the breathtaking views.

The owners also ordered a compliant and very hot burning Stovax fireplace which, due to the heat it would generate, required steel framing and venting from the outside.

Winter renovation despite summer intentions

While the clients aimed to complete the bungalow renovation during summer, they only managed to get everything – compliance and approvals – sorted in time for the renovation to begin in winter. Knowing that building work would be carried out during the cold, wet months, Henry Brown & Co. initially completed a lot of less invasive preparation work to minimise disruption for as long as possible.

Henry Brown & Co. had to make use of extensive sheets of plastic to protect the house and occupants from the elements, but also to limit the effects of the copious amounts of dust that generated when dismantling the old fireplace.

Communication was key

Henry Brown & Co also identified the need to install two massive U-shaped steel pillars to stabilise the second storey while the floors and ceiling beams were replaced, and also while some of the interior walls were pulled down to open up space and reveal the spectacular views.

The reality is that when you’re pulling up walls and floors that have been there for sometimes over a hundred years, you may well discover problems.

Henry Brown & Co’s extensive experience in bungalow and villa renovations means we know to expect the unexpected, but the client was particularly delighted with our level of communication which kept them fully informed, and central to the decision-making process throughout.

If you have a challenging renovation, you want the experts. Call Henry Brown & Co. for a no-obligation chat on 09 320 3706.

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