Information & Tips

Turning Ideas Into Reality

There are three main categories when it comes to undertaking significant work to your home:

Renovation: An update to an existing building or a return to an as new condition.

Alteration: A change to an existing building.

Addition: Adding or extending on to an existing building.


When considering any of the above, the first steps are to think about the following:


What do you want to gain out of the work? Think big and small.  You may have one big goal such as open plan living, but are there also small changes that could be made at the same time that would be beneficial?

Make sure that you have a rough idea of what you think you want to spend and consider what flow on work may occur as a result of your ideas.

Materials - Internal and External

Do you want to try and match to the existing materials or do you want to make a complimentary feature by using different materials?  Do you want to update other areas of the house to match?


Draw a rough plan of your idea to play around with the space, or take it a step further and lay masking tape on the floor to show where new items will be moving to, to get a better feel for the new space.  Consider where natural light comes from, what you first look at when you open the door and what item the door might back on to.  If the space is small, think about using a wall hung vanity so you can still see the floor which makes the room feel larger.  Think about the use of mirrors to reflect light and consider whether a chosen tile size is right for the space.

When thinking about tap-ware, look for items that can be used with your water pressure.  Consider where the basin mixer might direct water, will it hit the plug and splash everywhere?  Think about the length of the bath spout, how far will it stick out into the bath.  A new toilet - how much larger is it compared to your current one, will you still be able open the door properly?


What specification do you want to install? Do you want soft close drawers, a stone top, a breakfast bar?  Where will the sink and cooker be positioned and what type of extraction would you prefer?  Will you be buying new appliances? What type of splash back do you want and where do you want it to extend too? Tap-ware, do you want a fixed spout or a pull out one so you can get to all areas of the sink?


What timber would you want to use, pine, macrocarpa or a hardwood such as kwila? What are you hoping to achieve, to capture more sun, make a full entertainment area, a spa are? Do you want steps or something low to the ground? Will it need handrails or railing (if over 1m then yes) and if so what style?

Open Plan Living

From a cosmetic perspective, the main considerations for wall removal when creating open plan living are things like ceilings and floors. There will potentially be a gap where the wall was. Will you replace the old ceiling or are you happy with matching materials if possible? Flooring as well, will you need to replace floor coverings or potentially source T&G to match?

If a wall is being removed that currently has cabinets against it, where are you going to put those items, do you need storage created?

Budget and the Reality of Renovations

When renovating any building, regardless of age, there can often be hidden problems that we can only find once linings, cladding or flooring has been removed. When considering any work, it is prudent to keep this in mind and make sure you have a contingency in your budget and some flexibility in your time frame. 

Renovating, altering or adding to your home can be an exciting and a very rewarding exercise. If you like where you live, then improving the home you already know so well can dramatically improve your quality of life, and improve its capital value.

Our Help

While we recommend that a home owner considers the above information as a basic start we are also here to help.  If you have a rough idea of what you want, but don't know where to go from there, then call us.  We can discuss your ideas, make suggestions, advise on what you can and cannot do from a structural point of view, and help you really kick start the ideas and planning stage.

Plans and Consent

We are on hand to provide advice right from the ideas stage of a project to completion.
If you would like some basic information about consent-able works, then the following details from the Rotorua District Council are useful.

Below is also a section outlining the process for having plans drawn.

Rotorua District Council

While considering any work to a property it is prudent to determine whether the work will require consent.  We can advise on this but the Rotorua District Council do also have good references to this on their website. Below are two links that will be helpful:

Residential Plan Services

While we will happily work with a property owners own Architect, we are also able to offer an 'ideas through to final sign off' service in conjunction with Kerry & Karen Tuck at Residential Plan Services.

Kerry is a Licensed Building Practitioner (Design two, Site two, and Carpentry) and has spent over 40 years working in the building industry, primarily in home building and renovations. 

Residential Plan Services Ltd also undertake shop and office designs, school refits and alterations, along with, industrial and farm building design.

For more information please visit their website:

Generally the process for having plans undertaken is as follows:

  1. Architect will meet with the owner (and often our office too), will put a quote together for their work and present to the owner

  2. Once the quote is accepted concept plans are drawn and presented

  3. Once full plans are complete they are sent to council

  4. Once plans have been accepted by council the building quotation can be undertaken

Often we can start some of the pricing process based on the pre-council approved plans however this is not always possible.

Call or email now for your obligation free discussion or quote