It's hard to imagine Chamon and Grayson Ford sitting still. The energetic couple bought their Northcote Point house in January 2015 with toddlers Declan and Elliot in tow, but somehow managed to transform the house and garden in their first year there.
Just as life got slightly easier, baby Wesley, now one, was due, so they decided to add more bedrooms and overhaul the family bathroom. Like many young families, they loved the neighbourhood and the schools, planning to make this their forever home.
"We're pretty sure the core of this house was a state house," says Chamon. "My mum recognised this layout from her childhood home, but then there were all sorts of addition in the 60s or 80s pushing out the kitchen and garage. We love making a house our own, and new houses are not to our taste."
The couple admit that Grayson is a perfectionist. He's extended his shower screen business into bathroom renovations, as he realised every other fixture — taps, tiles, baths, vanities — had to be to his exacting standards.
So, floors and walls in the bathrooms are real stone, tap ware is brass, light fixtures are top end. Floors in the new bedroom and porch addition had to be rimu to match the state house originals, and new double-glazed timber windows copy the proportions of an older house. Aluminium ranchsliders were replaced with walls of timber-framed sliding glass, and new skylights flood rooms and halls with light.
Blackledge Builders did the renovations.
Charon has a designer eye too, so the couple nutted out a new kitchen plan. They turned a glass bay window into a stainless steel bench with a horizontal window splash back (its view of a clipped hedge provides the colour in an otherwise black and white palette), herringbone tile and black overhead cupboards framing the gas cook top.
Beside it, space was cribbed from the adjoining double garage to made room for the couple's coffee machine and appliances.
The wall of a detailed pantry, fridge and wall ovens added more storage, but Chamon's joy is the marble island bench.
The couple nodded to the state house vintage with shelves of recycled rimu and penny tiles.
After they'd added the two bedrooms to the front of the house, the Fords knocked through a wall to a small bedroom beside the kitchen, creating a sitting room. Walls slide back to the new deck, sheltered by a Louvertec roof.
The main living room got a boost with a modern plaster job on the fireplace — but it is purely decorative, as the house is insulated and heated by a central heat pump system.
The original sun room has sliding windows above the new built-in benches. This is the boys' playroom, opening to the back yard.
Friend Adam Evans of Urbis Landscapes has boys of a similar age, so after he'd levelled and retained the back lawn, and added a pizza oven and a lounger sun deck with a board walk access for the grownups, he proposed a castle for the kids. The climbing frame has balance beam access to the trampoline, disguised behind a glamorous pleached hedge.
The side yard has room for raised vege and herb beds, citrus trees and a clothes line.
The modern addition upstairs was ripe for the couple's touch: a bedroom, originally an office, now makes a nursery for Wesley.
The rest of the floor is a master bedroom with soaring ceilings, walk-in closet and french doors to a private deck. Beams were painted white, the bathroom transformed with marble tiles, a double walk-in shower and the soaking tub. The couple couldn't find a vanity they liked, so had one custom built in American oak.
The front entrance was given a new driveway and security gate, with room for guest cars and turnaround. But the high-energy couple has unexpectedly found another project in the neighbourhood they love, so are saying goodbye to this house and moving on.