Step By Step
Your Home and Garden|April 2020
Masters at making every dollar count, this family have worked wonders on a classic split level house that no one else wanted
Tina Stephen

When Nita Pearson and partner Francis Scordino were looking for a home, they saw potential where others saw problems.

“We needed a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a boys’ backyard that sat within our budget,” Nita remembers. “At the time, 2011, there wasn’t a lot to choose from. Fortunately for us, the fact that this home needed a complete renovation made it so ugly that no one else was looking at it!”

While nothing had been touched since the Seventies, Nita loved the location of the property – up high on a sloping site in the Auckland suburb of Pakuranga – and they were able to snap it up. The classic split-level house had elevated views and all-day sun streaming into an open-plan living and dining area, with a kitchen tucked into the rear. On the lower level were the bedrooms and access to a large back garden. Happy with the sunny aspect and the layout, Nita focused on fixing some of the issues inherent in an old home.

Work begins

The family wasted no time getting rid of the tired old carpets, window treatments and wallpaper. With a limited budget, they did most of the initial work themselves while saving for the next stage: the bathroom.

“This was definitely the worst area. It had no windows and there was this weird separate toilet by the back door. It needed to be reconfigured,” says Nita. Her interiors experience – at that time she was an interior design consultant and was also selling vintage finds online – meant she was able to handle the design and planning by herself, working to a budget of just $5000.

Stage by stage

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