Eastbourne Established Family Home


The situation

Bright Build’s clients had a 220m2 (four bedroom, 1.5 bathroom) home from the 1970’s, on a large 840m2 site in Eastbourne, Wellington. Purchased in 1985, the family had lived here for 32 years. Age had caught up with the home, and a lack of maintenance was affecting both the structure and the expansive grounds.

Inside was….

  • The accumulation of a lifetime of belongings.
  • A leaking roof that was causing mould and rot, damaging some of the structure.
  • Dated kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Aged furnishings (curtains, carpets, paint work).

Outside had….

  • A half-empty, leaking pool.
  • Extensive overgrowth of plants and trees.
  • A broken asphalt driveway.
  • Fences that needed attention.
  • Non-existent grass growth on the lawn.

The client's wish list

  • To empty, repair and renovate a dated 1970’s interior into a fresh, contemporary home.
  • Improve the grounds, front fences and eliminate the overgrowth.
  • Allow all-weather access to the home through concreting the drive and paths.
  • Finishings to be of a good standard and represent good value, as budget was a consideration.
  • Project to be driven and managed by Bright Build, as the clients would not be in Wellington for the duration of the renovation.

The solution

Craig met the clients on-site, and discussed their desired outcomes for the property.

From here developed the wishlist which would form the basis of the contract to perform the home and grounds renovation.

The clients were kept in contact of developments via photos, telephone calls and email updates. Any issues that were uncovered were easily dealt with through phone and email – saving the clients valuable travel and work time, given their location away from Wellington.


First steps were to remove the household belongings, arranging with charities for what could be collected. The kitchen, laundry, downstairs toilet and some of the upstairs bathroom were gutted. Leaks were identified, repaired, and the damage caused to ceilings, walls and floors cut out and replaced.

Craig designed and fitted a new kitchen and benchtop, complete with oven/hobs etc.

The downstairs guest toilet was converted into a full bathroom, and the upstairs bathroom was modernised as the budget allowed. New ventilation was put in, and where required, new bathroom and laundry fittings were chosen and supplied by Bright Build, and plumbing updated.

Heating was replaced with a new gas central heating system, and the water cylinder was removed and switched to constant flow gas hot water.


The grounds were in a state of overgrowth and disrepair. Bright Build first broke up and removed the concrete in ground swimming pool to provide a flat back lawn. The surrounding pergola and vines were also demolished, and the improvement to the amount of light in the house was noticeable.

Trees were felled, and many plants required heavy pruning and cutting back. Stormwater and sewage pipe checks were arranged to ensure that there were no blockages or tree roots affecting them.


New LED lighting throughout the house made a real difference, and will be more cost-effective for energy usage long-term. All floor coverings in the home were removed and replaced with new.

The interior was completely repainted, giving the home a much lighter, modern feel. Touchups were made to the exterior as required. Bright Build measured, sourced and fitted the entire houseload of curtains.

The finishing piece for inside the home involved keeping the property secure with a new coded front door lock, locks for the French Doors, and even arranging for a new key to replace one that was lost – to avoid the cost of changing locks.


Bright Build removed the existing lawns (which were dead/dying) and installed new ready-lawn. Garden beds were planted with modern, low-maintenance plants.

The rotten, incomplete front fence was fixed, waterblasted and painted. And even the letterbox was replaced and fixed in position.


Outdoor Area

High-end Hataitai Transformation

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The situation

One of Bright Build’s repeat clients bought a three-bedroom, 1920’s timber home in one of Hataitai’s premier streets.

  • The home had been a grand dame in her day, but was in need of a substantial makeover.
  • The exterior showed great bones, but was looking tired and in need of maintenance.
  • The roof was very old.
  • The home had been impeccably looked after, but the interior was dated.
  • The large kitchen area did not utilise space well, and still retained the original meat safe.
  • The single bathroom was out-dated.
  • A second toilet and laundry were not using their floor area effectively.
  • The site was very uneven and not conducive to outdoor activities, with limited access.

The client's wish list

The brief was to retain the beauty of the original character, whilst creating a complementary stylish home environment with modern layout and conveniences.

  • Alter the floorplan to form a fourth bedroom (originally 3 bedrooms), without increasing the foot-print of the exisiting home.
  • Modernise the layout to allow open plan living alongside an entertainer’s kitchen.
  • Provide Indoor-outdoor flow from the living space
  • Create a Master bedroom with full ensuite.
  • Enhance and embrace original character where possible (such as the solid timber doors).
  • Utilise the views into Evans Bay.
  • Retain the substantial, ornate plaster ceilings.
  • Investigate using a small gap under the house to form a useable space.

The solution

Prior to the owner’s purchase of the home, Craig went through the property to discuss various options for renovation. He then worked with the owners over a period of time to design a floorplan that would satisfy their requirements. This resulted in an extensive internal rearrangement of rooms, with only a single bedroom retaining it’s original walls. All alterations were designed within the existing building envelope to reduce the project cost.

Bright Build then engaged a local architect to draw up the final plan and prepare documents on our client’s behalf, for submission to Council.


The kitchen moved location to the north-eastern end of the house where it gained sun and character of the ornate plaster ceilings. Also created was the ability to have an eat-in kitchen, a separate dining area, and open-plan living. French doors were installed in the eastern wall to take advantage of the morning sun and create indoor-outdoor flow to the newly formed deck. And the panoramic Evan’s Bay view is now fully revealed.


The new lounge position (previously the Master Bedroom), provides a light- filled, gracious room with views across Hataitai. Sightlines through to Evans Bay and the kitchen/area were created when the adjoining wall was carefully opened up to ensure the beautiful ceilings remained in pristine condition.


A new location was also created for the bathroom to enable installation of a beautiful freestanding bath, tiled shower, wall-hung vanity and toilet.

Master Bedroom

The Master Bedroom was moved into the previous lounge space, and the existing pantry area was transformed into a full, new ensuite. Large wardrobe spaces were also created.

Additional Bedroom

The valuable fourth bedroom came from a rearrangement of the laundry, second toilet and hallway. A versatile space, it can also be used as a third living area/office/teen retreat as it has it’s own access to the deck and lawn.

Outdoor Area

A large Gwapa deck (with stainless steel fixings due to sea proximity) was created to link kitchen/living via decking to the fourth bedroom/additional living space – and down onto bench seat style stairs down to lawn. The grounds were landscaped to form new terraces which made flat, child-friendly play areas that are easy access. New lawn and plants were added.

Additional improvements

  • Underhouse/basement workshop creation
  • Creation of additional storage cupboards
  • Installation of full gas central heating
  • Insulation
  • Secured garage and installed electric door
  • Revealed matai flooring, which was then prepared, patched, and sealed.

Energy Efficiency in the Eastern Suburbs


The situation

A 675m2 site in Seatoun was purchased in November 2014 to become the family home and Bright Build Office and Workshop.

With the Christchurch earthquake fresh in everyone’s mind, Craig wanted to build a strong home on a rib-raft slab foundation.

To reduce carbon footprint of travel between work and home, it was important for the office and workshop to co-locate on the same site as the house.

Craig’s research and experience had shown him that homes built to (and above) the New Zealand Building Code, were still inadequate for New Zealand (and in particular, Wellington’s) climate.

With the longest boundary nearly north-facing, Craig also wanted to test the use of solar energy production in Wellington. The aim being to build using the best available techniques and see if they really did improve the outcome for the occupants of the home.

The client's wish list

  • To create the Bright Build office, workshop and healthy home for six people that is warm in winter, cool in summer, and provides fresh, clean air at all times.
  • Economic to heat and cool via reduced energy needs.
  • Solar generating to reduce our energy footprint, with the potential for self-sufficiency utilising batteries in the future.
  • Utilise world-class insulation techniques to construct a home that requires little energy to maintain a comforatable temperature.
  • Stronger, more resilient structure in the case of earthquake.

The solution

Craig and Jen worked out the brief for the new home and work premises. Using this as a guide, Craig used 3D architecture software and worked out the floorplan that best utilised the allowable site cover and rooms required.

Hours were spent researching, attending trade shows, talking to Passive Home Architects and Structured Insulated Panel (SIPs) providers. This resulted in the selection of Formance as the SIP system to use. Inovo Architects in Christchurch then prepared these plans in readiness for building consent.

Being the first Formance House in Wellington (and a complex structure at that) meant that Craig had to engage with the local expert engineers, who became familiar with the Formance system over the course of the project.

Now Formance has been accredited to NZS3604.  This means that architects and designers can follow the tables and apply the correct SIPs – without the need for an engineer.

The result

Let’s start from the ground up. The home and Bright Build office utilises a rib-raft slab contains polystyrene pods within it, which assist with energy conservation. Rib-raft foundations are useful in earthquake prone areas as they allow the building to “float” (the concrete floor construction sits “on” the ground, rather than “in”), making it seismically strong. Compared to standard foundation methods, the components fit together easily, reducing labour time and costs.

Arrival of the panels was significant as 10 tons of SIPs were delivered to site. Once sorted, the giant jigsaw came together quickly, just as Formance promised. Given the variety of architectural features in the home (e.g. very high raking ceilings, visible central ceiling apex), Craig and the Bright Build team became expert at devising techniques to assist the construction – no mean feat when faced with 5.7m long panels, 1.2m wide and .265m thick, weighing over 150kg – that had to be suspended 4.5m in the air with no space for a crane to access.

Once the envelope was up, in Winter 2016 Craig and the team noticed it was the warmest building they had ever worked on – even before the joinery went in! And after the Thermal Heart, argon filled, low-emission joinery was installed, the insulating properties were even more pronounced.

The building walls and roof (with a combined floor area of 390m2) were quick to erect. Another benefit was the ability to immediately see the view afforded to each room – traditionally this only happens once the cladding is completed.

Now finished and lived in, Craig and Jen have found that the benefits of Passive House principles and using SIPs are true.  And their new SIPs home sits comfortably at 21-22 degrees during winter without any heating.

With the high level of insulation in the walls and joinery, Jen and Craig have also noticed the serene feel to the internal environment of the home. Also, the continual provision of fresh air and extraction of stale air makes the house airy yet peaceful as there is no need to open windows and the accompanying wind noise and draughts.

Since building, the SIPs and rib-raft foundation have handled Wellington’s shakes very well. So well in fact, that when inside, Craig hasn’t felt a nearby, shallow magnitude 5 earthquake – which panicked the neighbours!

The solar array have proven to be a big contributor to reducing net energy consumption for the household. Also, given Wellington’s chilly breezes, use of a pool in Wellington can be limited to a few summer months. However utilising the solar panels to provide power for heating the pool means the usable weeks for swimming are more than doubled – greatly improving the return on investment.

Construction Facts

  • Floor area – 390m2

  • Constructed – 2016 / 2017

  • Slab – Rib-raft

  • Walls and Roof – Structured Insulated Panels (SIPs)

  • Ventiliation – Zehnder

  • Solar – 24 Panels, maximum capacity 6 W.

Miramar Make-Over


The situation

A Bright Build client purchased a two-bedroom home in Wellington, built in a transitional villa style.

The house had potential, with a high stud and generous hallway, however the layout and décor belonged to another era…

• The kitchen was tucked away in a dark room.

• The bathroom was cramped (with no bath).

• The laundry was very long and narrow.

• An enclosed area to the rear of the home was under utilised, as was a spare shed and a space that was formerly an aviary. 

• Outdoor living was minimal.

• The house/outbuildings had limited visual appeal.

The client's wish list

• Bright Build was tasked with creating a light, airy home with a contemporary feel. 

• A request was made for open-plan living, along with indoor-outdoor flow.

• We were asked to find space within the existing foot-print for a third bedroom and a second living area, without compromising existing rooms.

• Family friendly was a must – addition of a bath was required, and the grounds needed to be fenced and made safe for small children.

• Improvement to both outdoor living and the visual appearance of the exterior was also required.

The solution

Craig developed a plan that would provide our clients with their wish list, whilst also minimising structual alterations in order to maximise the available budget. 
A walk-through meeting enabled our clients to understand, question and discuss the proposed plan.  With the final plan agreed by our clients, we engaged  an architect on their behalf and had the plans prepared for the Council.

Kitchen/Third bedroom/Indoor-outdoor flow



Craig identified that relocating the kitchen from it’s original position in a back room into a larger room (the lounge) would provide open plan living. This move provided better natural light (and sun), created a feeling of spaciousness and also improved access to the kitchen from the front door.

Incorporating French doors into an existing window space enabled indoor-outdoor flow from the living area, with only minor alteration. The additional light helped create an airy feel, and a low deck was created off the doors to allow better connection with the lawn area.

Pulling up the carpet revealed the beautiful matai floors which were sanded and polished. The fireplace was also removed to provide more floor space in the living area.

Craig identified a new modern kitchen layout and installed this into the open-plan area. Two doorways were removed from the lounge area, enabling the previous kitchen to become the third bedroom space, and providing wall-space for the new kitchen.




A doorway was eliminated and a wall was partially removed to open up the very narrow laundry and bathroom into a single, partitioned room. This created space for a stand-alone bath, and also provided additional natural light into the previously dark bathroom.

The bathroom and laundry fittings were all replaced, as was the floor covering. Relocation of the laundry tub and washing machine to the corner of the room, kept them out of the busier bathroom circulation area.

Second Living Area



The backyard garage was repurposed into a studio/office/games room, that could change with the owner’s requirements.  Replacement of the garage door to a ranchslider improved both access and natural light. A ceiling was created, and the skylights framed out with diffuser screens to improve aesthetics. To finish the room, garage carpet was installed due to it’s hardwearing, stain resistant nature.




Originally the entrance was very uninviting, with some basic concrete steps leading directly to the front door. To improve the entrance, timber stairs and a generous landing were added, along with a white balustrade and handrail balustrade, and paint accents around the front door.  This ensured the first impression matched the lovely home within.   

Additional improvements



Repainting was undertaken throughout the interior of the home, the back porch, second living area, and some of the exterior. Lighting was improved and modernised, and bedrooms painted and recarpeted.

The hallway ceiling was altered to replicate the ceiling detail installed in the second living space, and a custom shelving display was built in a small corner created by the removal of a door.

Outdoor Area



The addition of a low deck and french doors created child-friendly indoor-outdoor flow, and provided easy access from the kitchen/living area to the larger, fenced, outdoor living area.

The aviary was transformed into a tool shed, and given a clean-line, modern exterior.

The front fence was partially removed to provide more area for outdoor seating, and realigned to form a larger, secure backyard.

Removal of the ramp and handrail at the back door transformed the back area into a large, unencumbered space ideal for hobbies, messy activities, scooters etc.