Like everyone in Aotearoa, we were heartbroken at the devastation caused by the weather events earlier in the year, so back in February we teamed up with Flooring Xtra to giveaway a $8000 home package to get a homeowner back on their feet.
Our lucky winners were Erin & Ryan a couple living in Mt Roskill in Auckland, just one of the suburb’s that was hit really hard.
We caught up with Erin & Ryan 10 months on to see how their restoration journey has been.
01 Firstly thank you for inviting us into your beautiful home, please can you tell us a little bit yourselves, your home and the people who live with you? How would you describe your home and style?
It’s just the two of us and our little cat, Clementine. We work in busy professional jobs (marketing and law) and because of that wanted our home to feel like a relaxing and calm space to come back to.
Our home is compact but we have tried the most of every inch, and make it as light and airy as possible. We like to keep the rooms themselves fairly minimal in terms of colour and finish, and add fun pops of colour with furniture and furnishings. Our home is definitely an extension of us!
02 The week of the floods – can you tell us about this and how your house was affected?
I (Erin) remember sitting at work all day looking out the window at the torrential rain and thinking about how awful the Elton John concert was going to be in that - little did I know that would soon be the least of our worries.
When we got home from work, there was some minor surface flooding but nothing too alarming. It wasn’t until we saw one of our outdoor cushions floating down the driveway that we realised we had a big problem.
Over the next hour, the water came up rapidly, and while Ryan was out helping cars that got stuck in the water Erin raced around the house rolling up rugs and lifting items off the floor.
The water had just about hit our floor level (our house just under a metre off the ground) when the power went out in half the house (and it was getting dark). That’s when we made the call to leave. We grabbed a bag and waded through the water to meet our friend who drove as close as he could get - the water was chest deep at some points which was pretty dicey in hindsight (but adrenaline covered that in the moment).
I can’t say we slept very well that night, with no idea what was happening at home.
Our friend (and lucky for us, also our builder!) drove us home the next morning, and our first focus was the obvious damage to the backyard (downed fence, AC unit knocked off the wall etc). When we first went inside, the house looked ok at a first glance, until we realised the carpet in the hallway was soaking. Our friend pulled back the carpet and that’s when we started to realise the extent of the damage given our house had particle board subfloor.
To be honest, that day was a total blur - no one teaches you what to do in a situation like that. We had lots of friends and family come over to help, and we didn’t even really know what to ask them to do. Lots of conversations with insurance, who sent over an assessor later that weekend who confirmed that the entire subfloor was damaged and needed to be replaced. We also were frantically trying to find somewhere to live, and pack up all of our non-damaged belongings. It was a total whirlwind with lots of tears (from Erin - Ryan held it together better).
We then found a temporary unit to move into and spent the Monday (Auckland anniversary day) relocating ourselves and poor Clem!
03 How has the process of restoring your home been?
Once the work started in May, the process wasn’t bad at all. The hardest part was the waiting and uncertainty before we had our building quote approved by insurance and a start date confirmed. That said, we are grateful that we ultimately had a ‘fast’ turnaround (5 months out of home) because we supplied our own builder.
We were really lucky to have one of our best friends (who rescued us the night of the floods) as our builder, and it brought us a lot of comfort knowing that he would do an excellent job and care about all the details (Isaac Van Weerd from VW Developments). He talked us through every step and sent us loads of update pictures and videos and didn’t mind the frequent visits, which made the waiting easier.
One small positive - we had renovated our bathroom last year, and Erin wasn’t stoked with the colour of the tiles that we picked, so at least she got a redo on that!
04 Can you tell us what winning the prize meant to you?
Honestly it was such an awesome positive moment in what was a really hard time of uncertainty. Erin still remembers getting the message that we had won it while in the office and screaming that we had won to her slightly taken aback coworkers!
At the time we still didn’t have our building quote approved or a start date confirmed, so to win a prize like that was the highlight of that entire period, and gave us something positive to think about in the midst of all the insurance admin.
It was really fun to go and choose some beautiful pieces for the home and celebrate being back there - we really are just so grateful.
05 What A&C pieces did you pick for you home?
We love the pieces so much, and they slot into our home perfectly. I had been on the hunt for the perfect stool for our bathroom, a new coffee table and a chair for Ryan’s desk so these selects were perfect. We still have a little bit of the voucher left and I can’t wait to pick up some final pieces!
06 Do you have a favourite feature or room in the house?
We love all our spaces but I think our favourite is probably the hallway, as unexciting as that sounds! We had a lot of fun trying to make it an interesting space with panelling on the walls, feature lights and a built in bookcase and we are stoked with how it came together!
That said, we also love our bedroom - it’s such a relaxing and calm space.
07 Do you have any advice for creating a home you love?
This is such a personal question, but for us a real key was having a consistent vision for the house so that all the spaces are cohesive and tie in together.
We are big fans of originality too - whatever that looks like to you - so many new builds and renovations can be a bit bland, which we noticed when we were in the market for a house. Because of that, we aimed to have some fun and unique features to make a home that feels more like us.
I (Erin) think you can also do so much with furnishings to change up your space to reflect your personality - and this also makes it easier to switch things up if you get bored!
08 Do you have any future projects for your home?
We are currently in the middle of finishing our outdoor living space - which has been a work in progress for well over a year thanks to the flood interruption! Hoping for some consistent sun to finally get it finished.