Ninety-year-old home restored to glory


The painstaking renovation of a two-storey Arts and Crafts-style house paid off for Clive Barrington Construction Ltd, winner of the Heart of the Home Kitchen Award in the Registered Master Builders 2007 House of the Year, in association with PlaceMakers.


The house, located in one of Christchurch’s most prestigious suburbs, has a history of familial and institutional use, and was in a poor condition prior to the renovation.


From the outset, company owner Clive Barrington realised it would be a major renovation project.


The house had to be completely stripped of interior linings and much of the existing flooring. All existing windows and doors were also removed, and the rear ground floor was completely remodelled with a new family room created.


Clive says it was important to the client that the original character of the historic property was retained, while still modernising it to include all the conveniences necessary for contemporary living.


“The kitchen is a perfect example of the work we did on this home. We crafted an entirely new kitchen that fitted seamlessly with the design style of the rest of the house. Its detailed, carved wood panels incorporated the hi-tech kitchen appliances in a way that ensured the historic style of the home was retained.”


The team of builders and subcontractors, which numbered more than 50, worked for 18 months on the renovation project.


“The client was amazed with the result. I think they never realised the home could look as good as it does,” Clive says.


“A renovation of this scale requires a lot of time and effort, and is inevitably costly, but the result is a stunning home. This house has already been around for about 90 years, and it will be around for another 90 years thanks solely to these renovations.”


Mr Barrington has been building for 26 years, and says his company only builds architect-designed houses.


“We have great relationships with a number of (architecture) firms. Sometimes they will come to us with a client of theirs, but more often than not we are now getting clients who want us to build their home as well as our advice on who is best to design it.”


While architect-designed homes are generally far more detailed and complex, Clive believes they are the most satisfying homes to build.


“I have been involved in such a range of properties over my years in the industry — from edgy urban dwellings to million-dollar country homes. I have a real passion for quality design which has led me to build only one-of-a-kind homes.”


Clive Barrington Builders Ltd is an “old hand” at the House of the Year competition, with the company winning the Canterbury House of the Year Supreme Award in five of the past seven years, and taking out the national title in 2004.


Clive says its success in the competition comes down to two things. “We only enter one stunning property in the competition each year, and to ensure that property really is stunning we hold to the basic business mantra of doing things well in a traditional manner.”

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