Reimers Avenue, Mt Eden

Bungalow renovation in Mt Eden

At Nala, we love adding a contemporary touch to bungalows and villas. It all comes down to preserving as much of the home's original character as possible while making it dry, warm, comfortable, and more functional for modern family life. This beautiful Mt Eden villa had a few challenges, but we have converted it into a stunning two-level property with future rental income potential. Being knowledgeable about the Auckland Unitary Plan zones and the restrictions on building and renovating properties with special character, we knew exactly what we could and couldn't do to make the best use of the land and existing structure.

The Brief

There were two key issues our clients wanted help with for this project. The first was that the villa layout was quite traditional and didn't provide the space or flow needed for this family. The second request was to convert the makeshift granny flat that had been previously added and turn it into a separate unit that could be legally rented out in future.

Like many Auckland villas, this property is in the SCAR zone (or the SCAR Overlay) – the "Special Character Areas Overlay – Residential" of the Auckland Unitary Plan. There are guidelines and restrictions that determine what we can do to such a property to maintain the special character values and to reinforce the predominant streetscape character of the area.

We wanted to preserve the historic style and appearance of this villa while meeting the requirements and modernising the home.

Villa Renovation Bathroom
Villa Renovation Auckland - Reimers Avenue
Auckland Villa Architects
Architectural Renovations
Kitchen Renovation - Nala Studio Architects
Auckland Villa Renovation
Outdoor Living
Living Room Renovation Mt Eden
Auckland Renovations
Mt Eden Side Angle

The Design

The original design of this home was a traditional villa layout that is quite common in Auckland. As you enter the front door, a wide hallway ran to the back of the house, with a small kitchen at the back. On the left of the hallway was a couple of bedrooms, and to the right was an ample single living space. We love taking this original type of layout and moving things as needed to make the home work for the lifestyle of the family currently living there.

Here we created a large master bedroom with an ensuite on the left, and turned the space on the right to an open plan living area and dining room that flows to a modern U-shaped kitchen and scullery. Because the children are older (late teens, early twenties), instead of a traditional dining room set up we used a large movable island that could serve as a workbench, breakfast bar or bar leaner when the family is entertaining. This space opens out to a deck on the west side of the house that gets the afternoon and evening sun.

This western deck is another spacious dining/entertaining area with an incredible, large dining table made of Indonesian railway sleepers and a retractable awning that has built-in guttering and remote control operation. While providing complete shelter from the Auckland rain, it creates an additional living space for the family to enjoy. This additional "room" proved quite useful as the family spent weeks working from home during Auckland's lockdown periods.

Towards the back of the house we added two bedrooms, a small office and a full bathroom. And along the wide hallway, we integrated some much-needed storage space. The home still has its original mouldings and stunning high ceilings, allowing us to make the spaces more practical without looking crowded or cramped.

Because the house sits on a section that has a steep drop-off at the rear, it becomes a two-level property at the back. Over the years, there had been previous renovations, so we had an area in the back on the lower level where we could create a separate space for the children. We modernised it and added two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom so it can now function as a hang-out zone for the boys or as a separate dwelling. With its own external entrance and firewalls, it has the potential to be a proper, legal rental unit.

The Result

While many Auckland villas follow a similar original floorplan, there are a number of ways we can improve a home's layout and make it feel larger than it is. For this project, we've managed to give our clients more storage and living space, and a modern kitchen that works really well for their lifestyle. We've also managed to "future proof" their home by creating a space for the older children to enjoy, which can eventually be used for rental income.

We're thrilled they've been able to turn the challenges of a steep site into a magnificent addition to the home.

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