Our client has a lovely cottage with a downstairs office, bathroom, kitchenette and 2 bedrooms upstairs above the garage. The office & garage were in constant use and the client wanted to convert the cottage into 3 seperate areas independent of one another but fully functional all at the same time, with the cottage able to be leased out independenty. This needed to be done without altering the appearance of the building. There were 3 obstacles to overcome:

The original height of the floor.

Space – Although the upstairs area has the same floor area as downstairs, due to the height of the floor and the pitch of the roof, one ended up losing a lot of floor space because there wasn’t enough head room to use the floor area near to the outer walls.

Budget – Sticking to the budget was crucial in completing this project and meant we had to be creative in finding solutions that would solve the space issue and please the client’s aesthetic tastes.

Time – The client was expecting extended family from Europe and we had just over 2 months in which to complete the project.

To overcome the space issue and keep within budget, we first raised the height of the roof at the rear of the cottage by adding 2 windows, which match the front facade of the cottage.

Work in progress – adding windows to the rear of the cottage to raise the roof

The windows at the rear now match the original 2 at the front of the cottage

We then lowered the entire floor over the office area by about 500mm. This made an enormous difference which added about 25sqm of usable floor space to the upstairs area.

The level of the floor before it was lowered.


The level of the floor after it was lowered.

Work in progress.

The completed floor after lowering, with original floor boards relaid.

The extra floor space we gained and the raised roof allowed us to add in a new small, but elegant, bathroom upstairs with a walk-in shower. Before the renovation, guests had to use the downstairs bathroom.

New upstairs bathroom

The new walk-in shower.

The downstairs bathroom was converted, with new fittings and the bath removed. Two seperate lockable entrances allow access to the room from both the office and the new kitchenette, keeping things relatively private for both.

The original bathroom which had to serve both office and flatlet

The new downstairs toilet and basin.

The downstairs office was walled off to seperate it from the flatlet.

The downstairs area before renovation.

The office can now function seperately to the flatlet.

On the flatlet side we installed a new updated kitchenette.

The original kitchenette, attached to the staircase.

The new, seperate, kitchen area for the flatlet.
The original staircase was kept.

The new streamlined kitchenette.

We added a deck around the side of the cottage to give access to the flatlet from the rear and also provide a pleasant spot for sundowners with a view of the mountains.

Side view of the cottage before the deck was added.

The smart new deck bypasses the office to allow access to the flatlet from the rear.

Having been able to spare most of the orignal Oregon Pine flooring went far to keeping the project within budget, and despite rainy days we were able to complete the project on schedule. The client commented that we had managed to create exactly what they had imagined!