Custom Design | Bespoke Build | Renovation | Extension

A modest renovation and extension of a tiny two bedroom ex-state house in Onehunga, undertaken by busy professionals - Joseph and his wife Ilona, also an architect. This was never going to be their dream project, but nevertheless a chance to be hands on throughout the entire process.

Having returned from the UK with young children, Joseph and Ilona were looking for a chance to renovate their own property rather than someone else’s.

Joseph and Ilona designed the layout together (perhaps surprisingly without too much debate!). This included the removal of the original state house kitchen, laundry and fireplace along with some selected internal walls.

This created a north facing open plan feel with large format stacking doors opening out onto a terraced deck with views to One Tree Hill. A third bedroom along with a second bathroom, laundry and study nook were also added.

View from road

View from road


“Being architects and designers we had always talked about doing up our own home but being closely related to both designer and builder I had my reservations about going down this route. Both Joseph and Allan proved to be both professional and sympathetic to my wishes and aspirations as a “client”. Would I do it again? Most definitely.”

Ilona & Joseph

Kitchen and splash back.
Covered deck
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Project image
Project image
Top Image

Kitchen and splash back.


Covered deck

Small Images

Lounge, dining and corridor.

Joseph left the internal colour scheme to Ilona. Her monochromatic selections included alternating black and white stone benchtops, a jet black glass splashback, (which the kids love writing on with their flouro pens) and dark walnut stained flooring throughout.

The girls (3 & 7) were given the Resene colour chart and allowed to pick a colour each for one of their bedroom walls – predictably resulting in pink and purple!

Upon receiving Allan’s initial cost estimate it became clear that a priority list had to be drawn up and compromises made. The ‘must have’ items were reduced to the external vertical cedar cladding, the large format stacking sliding external doors and the engineered stone benchtops.

The modest budget wasn’t the only challenge; excavating into Onehunga’s volcanic rock, creating a usable layout on a small site, and moving into Allan’s apartment for three months of the build also had their moments.

Being a family project, Joseph and Allan built much of it themselves (with the help of the McKinstry Projects team of course). The result is a small but perfectly formed family home which they now enjoy immensely!

Project Details

Design/Planning: 6 Months
Construction: 5 Months


Design: McKinstry Projects

Cost/Build/Project Management: McKinstry Projects

Cadastral Surveyor: A I Bates

Suppliers / subtrades

Builders Merchant: Placemakers New Lynn

Plumbing: K10 Limited

Drainlaying: Echo Drainage

Electrical: Vivid Electrical

Roofing: Tasman Roofing

Brick / Blocklaying: John Worrall

Aluminium Joinery: Phoenix Aluminium

Kitchen: Superior Kitchens & Joinery

Tiling: Solid Tile Company

Painting / Staining: Jetspeed Painting

Lighting: Lightplan

Dining Table & Bar stools: IMO

Bathroomware: Elite Bathrooms

Selected Products


Vertical Shiplap Western Red Cedar Profile J55 by JSC Timber

Vertical Shiplap Western Red Cedar Profile J55 by JSC Timber


Strip flooring to match existing rimu tongue and groove, recycled from old villa stud framing.