Todd Cameron knew he had a lot of work on his hands when he bought the landmark Holtom's Buildings, in Paekākāriki, about two years ago.
The building, dating back over 100 years, was leaking like a sieve and wasn't up to earthquake standards.
It would have been an easy option to demolish the building and start a new development.
But he loved the character of the building, knew it meant a lot to the community, and felt it had a lot more life in it yet.
So a refurbishment plan for various parts of the building was created before a hardworking team led by his father Brian Cameron put on their tool belts and got to work.
Earthquake strengthening featuring steel beams and more have given the building a 70 per cent rating.
New roofing has stopped the rain coming in, double glazing windows installed, walls painted and regibbed, new rooms created, and lots more.
One of the highlights has been the revitalisation of an upstairs gallery and studio which had to be closed for six months.
The Paekakariki Art Studios has now opened its doors to the public and it's impressive.
Twelve artists work in the area which features a range of work areas and a chilled-out vibe.
The artists are Alan Wehipeihana, Dianna Fary, Sushei Hamlin-Sullivan, Christopher Small, Ara Kennedy, Francis Salole, Vicki Locke-Fearon, Emma Hercus, Liz Millar, Alayna Flighty, Jenn Loev and Elsie Fomie.
"The owners have done a hell of a lot of work," said Alan, who has worked in upstairs space for many years.
"We've all got individual studios.
"We're really thrilled, and I think the community is too, that the building wasn't pulled down.
"Most people who would have bought the building would have demolished it."
The makeover did create one or two surprises though.
"We knew there was coal dust in the ceilings from the steam trains that used to idle outside. It was thick."
Alan said the art space makeover was "fantastic".
"I've been solo for a long time, then had a few more artists coming in during the day for a while, but now it's just abuzz."
Dianna, who has worked in the art space for a long time too, said, "I love it and I'm really grateful that it has been restored to its former glory and I would say the community is very grateful too."
No doubt the overall work was a challenge, albeit one Todd and his team were up for.
"Most people would have put a digger through it. But we wanted to save it.
"It's a cool space and a beautiful old building. It was about to fall down really. So we've rebuilt it inside out.
"It wasn't heritage listed or anything but we could see the intrinsic benefits of restoring it. It's a long-time gain for the community and for the coast in general to keep these types of buildings.
"And without my father's skillbase we wouldn't have been able to do it - old school tradies that just do everything.
"The project has been a beast and it's nice to be able to see the finish line."
Various work was still underway including creating a bakery in one of the downstairs areas which used to be a garage.
"It will be a bigger version of the Olde Beach Bakery in Waikanae Beach."
It was hoped the bakery would be completed in a month or two.
Out the back of the bakery, a pub is being created, which is expected to be completed later in the year.
Aptly the pub will be called The Holtom.
"It's a pretty amazing space."
The Holtom's Buildings, which dates back to 1920, is certainly a lot more visible too with a splash of pink colouring among some of the front top.
"There was already orange and red on the building and we have just had a baby girl so that might have influenced it a little bit."
Holtom's Buildings, which comprises various businesses, was originally one storey and used as a garage before a second storey was added which was once a sewing factory.
Various businesses as well as accommodation, have occupied areas of the building over the years.