A pandemic and no international tourists weren't what Tom and Esther Seymour expected when they set out to renovate a Victorian-era building, but about 16 months later the new boutique accommodation is filling up with guests.
The Seymours bought 415 Marine Parade in September 2019 ready to turn to the historic building into a five-room boutique bed-and-breakfast.
A tentative opening date of April 2020 soon flew out the window when Covid ramped up, but the couple are pleased with the end result.
When the announcement of lockdown came Esther was on her way to New Plymouth to buy linen for the B&B and had to turn around and drive back.
She admits what went through their minds at this point was "are we crazy?" as they thought about the consequences of lockdown and the impact on tourism.
Luckily, as they were hoping to open in April, Esther had bought most of the furnishings, fabrics and lighting at the end of 2019 - it is becoming tricky to buy such things now.
Builders and tradespeople had also been organised ahead of lockdown, and were "awesome to work with".
Originally positioned to target international tourists, Covid also meant they had to re-think how they could appeal to a domestic market.
One positive of the pandemic was that it gave them some time to reflect on things and become social media savvy.
Throughout its life, the 1860 building has been a family house, private hotel, split into two flats, boarding accommodation and a bed and breakfast.
Renovations included uncovering a blocked door at the upstairs veranda, installing an elevator, recreating walls and doors and installing en suites for the five rooms.
Each room is different but follows a sort of sea-coloured theme and is filled with local art.
The building was previously sunken and on a lean, causing the doors and floors to warp.
When it was lifted to be re-piled, one of the first steps in the refurbishment, there came confusion and concern from locals with rumours of demolition circulating.
Tom worked onsite every day and about half a dozen people every day asked him what was happening or shared their own memories of the place.
"Once they realised we weren't pulling it down, because that's what everyone thought, they were really positive," Esther said.
The new building also has a dining and living area where continental breakfast is provided and canapes every second night.
The Seymours wanted the experience to be personal, getting to know travellers and providing information about what to do in the Bay.
415 Marine Parade opened in the busy period between Christmas and the New Year and bookings are filling up for the annual Art Deco festival in a month.
When the garden is complete, they want to hold an open day for everyone to look at the new building.