Winding back the clock on a century of change

By the time Angus and Elizabeth moved in, their 1905 country home had seen numerous owners – each more intent on leaving their mark than the last. “Over the last 40 years especially, the house had been really changed around,” explains Elizabeth. “It had quite a few 70s and 90s features, and the original 11-foot ceiling had been lowered four times.”

Determined to reconnect the home to its roots, the couple wanted a builder that would bring it into the present, while remaining sensitive to its past. “We heard about James through word of mouth,” Elizabeth says. “He’s an excellent problem-solver and pays great attention to detail.”

That attention to detail proved invaluable, as each update drew inspiration from the subtle features of the original home. Builder James Cradock, of J Cradock Limited, points to the example of a plaster wall, newly erected near the garage. “The shape of the wall was designed to echo the silhouette of the original corbels,” he says. It is thoughtful details like this that turn a decidedly modern addition into a natural evolution, well in keeping with the rest of the home.

For Elizabeth, recycling and reusing as many materials as possible was another way to bring the past and present harmoniously together. “We recycled windows and doors, and even kept a section of the original beaded tongue and groove wall in the laundry,” she says.

“Everything needed to be authentic to the original design,” agrees James, “so we aimed to use existing materials wherever possible.”

Now the couple can safely say their 1900s classic has been officially – and warmly – welcomed into the 21st century

Location: Geraldine | Canterbury

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