How to transform a shed into a home

By Leanne Moore

Clearing the equipment from an old shed to transform it into a two-storey house proves a success.

A comfortable and cosy look were achieved in the former shed by using clean lines and a neutral palette in the decoration. Photo / Your Home & Garden
A comfortable and cosy look were achieved in the former shed by using clean lines and a neutral palette in the decoration. Photo / Your Home & Garden

Wanting a base close to Blenheim, Nic Clouston and her husband, Jock, decided to convert a shed on their vineyard into a holiday home.

This would not only give them a place to stay when they came into town from their sheep and cattle farm on the coast at Kekerengu, but also a holiday home they could rent out.

The shed was being used to store equipment on the couple's 8ha property 10 minutes outside of Blenheim that is planted in sauvignon blanc vines and has views towards the Cloudy Bay hills to the north and the Wither Hills to the south. The grapes are grown for Mount Riley wines, made just up the road.

Two years ago the Cloustons began the process of turning the shed into a low-maintenance and sturdy home that could cope with lots of visitors. And because the house would also be rented out, "it had to be walk in, walk out and bomb-proof for guests", Clouston says.

The original vision was for something small and cosy but council requirements for a permanent dwelling meant the shed ended up being transformed into a two-storey house with three bedrooms.

"I'm so glad they did that now," she says. "We've ended up with something that I think is pretty special."

Although the shed has been completely rebuilt and now incorporates such comforts as double-glazing, insulation and air conditioning, it still has the outward appearance of a rural building with its classic pitched roof and corrugated iron cladding and roofing.

"We didn't want it to be too flash," says Clouston. "We wanted it to be comfortable and cosy, and to sit well in the landscape."

To help with the interior, Clouston called on long-time friend and interior decorator Chic Mackie. They were both keen on clean lines and a neutral palette. Clouston says the great thing about a second home is it doesn't have to be filled with all the "stuff" that goes along with day-to-day living and a family history. "I walk in here and it's just so restful - I love it."

Having decided on a palette of whites and greys, the two women travelled to Auckland to find furniture and accessories to match. "That was the most fun part of the whole experience," she says.

The home's north-facing aspect means it gets all-day sun and there are lovely views from every window. The kitchen has a central island, so the cook gets to enjoy the outlook while preparing meals. And while the house is more about relaxing than slaving away on gourmet dinners, Clouston says the abundance of fresh local produce means it's fun to experiment in the kitchen.

Style tips

Easy care: Holiday homes should be low-maintenance and that means using hard-wearing surfaces such as concrete and steel that will last a long time with little upkeep.

Clutter-free: Keeping your holiday home free of too many objects creates a relaxed feel and means less tidying up and cleaning.

Neutral approach: For a clean and elegant look, Clouston used a palette of whites and greys for the interior.

Leanne Moore is the editor of Your Home & Garden. For more pictures see the latest issue of the magazine.

- NZ Herald

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