How to Restore the Forgotten Majesty of your Villa
February 17, 2020
Auckland has many classic villas awaiting makeovers to bring them fully into the 21st century. If you’re planning to renovate one of these iconic timber masterpieces, seek expert advice to avoid costly mistakes and any potential budget blowout. Proceed with both care and a sense of responsibility.
Here, we look at villa renovations Auckland wide, and some of the issues unique to these old villas, offering a quick guide to restoring these precious character homes.
What to preserve in your villa
Planning is paramount when converting a villa into a modern home. It’s important to retain the heritage associated with these sturdy yet cold and draughty houses, built between the 1880s and World War 1. A common design solution in recent years has been to retain the villa’s original street appearance but with added landscaping, while extensively modifying the rear of the house to create a family living space.
A knowledgeable Auckland building company should be able to provide alternatives that suit the positioning of the house and its surroundings.
Some renovated villas simply retain their original layout, while featuring modern kitchens and bathrooms. However, a restoration project will generally focus on boosting overall ambient light levels, modernising and adding bathrooms, introducing fresh and stylish decor, and creating a generous amount of ‘indoor/outdoor flow’.
Generally, a full villa renovation requires replacing interior wall linings (originally scrim and sarking), installing compliant insulation, repairing or replacing windows and doors, rewiring and replumbing to get the house up to building code, and replacing or reinforcing piles and roofing as required.
Combining character with compliance
Respect your villa’s heritage by recycling as much timber (such as doors and floorboards) as you possibly can. Chances are, these are precious native timbers.
Addressing the villa’s shortcomings in energy efficiency is a priority too, so insulation in the ceilings, exterior walls and under floors is extremely important for compliance and comfort. Those ancient rattle-prone sash windows will also need to be draught-proofed and, ideally, retro-fitted with double glazing.
As for home heating, you may want to look at a combination of modern heat-pumps and a retro-fitted gas fireplace.
It’s all in the layout
While an architect or designer may be able to suggest a number of configuration options, a popular choice with villas is to open up the back rooms with timber beams to create a large living space, including kitchen and dining and a deck area that extends out into a landscaped backyard. By adding onto your overall floor-space in this manner, you can then add a bedroom and/or additional bathroom/en suite to the original main structure.
And, of course, the front of the villa should retain all its original glory, albeit with a new lick of paint, replacement weatherboards and appropriate decorative features where necessary.
Blending new with the old
Villa renovations require a total makeover that delivers a smooth aesthetic flow, so the ‘old’ blends with the ‘new’ and nothing appears to be ‘tacked on’. There needs to be continuity of colour schemes and materials throughout the home, so that everything matches and nothing looks out of place.
Hopefully you’ll be starting with a largely unspoilt original structure, so you know exactly what you’re dealing with from the beginning. Villas that have been remodelled back through the decades can often be a little more problematic to renovate.
Let LD Construction bring your villa to life
Wherever you’re up to in your renovation journey, we hope that the destination is truly delightful. Rediscovering the majesty within your villa will give a whole new meaning to the expression ‘house proud’. Good luck!
If you’re ready to modernise your classic villa, trust nothing less than the top builders Auckland has to offer. The renovation experts at LD Construction know what it takes breathe new life into Auckland’s most antiquated villas. Contact us today to arrange your consultation.