It was in March 2015 when we first discovered the 1910 property, which we lovingly nicknamed the "Grand Old Lady". We learnt all about its rich past, how it had been in the same family for 90 years, originally owned by a 90 year old woman who had been evicted due to the earthquakes. The house was found to be a contrasting mix-and-match of different living areas and kitchens, with the downstairs and upstairs being separated into independent living areas. The house had obviously not been renovated for quite some time, possibly since the 1980's, and was in need of a much TLC after suffering minor damage from the earthquakes (although most of this had already been repaired by the Earthquake Commission).
On first glance of the Villa, we thought it best to overlook it, concerned it would be too much hard work. However, as soon as we entered the property and inspected it, we fell in love with its charm and alluring history. It wasn't just us who understood its potential; builders and other workers have also frequently commented on the intriguing atmosphere that surrounds the Villa.
The Eco Villa has been a huge challenge and learning curve for us, teaching ourselves all about the ins-and-outs of commercial properties. From engineering, building consent, fire, sound and structural safety, with limited knowledge of this in the beginning. Without the help of our Master Builder, Clinton, our vision for the Eco Villa may not have been possible. With a combination of his expertise on recycling and reusing and our concept for an eco-friendly accommodation, we have succeeded in restoring the Grand Old Lady to its former glory, as well as modernising and adding our own personal touches.
Both the team and ourselves have endeavoured to make as much of the house sing as they could, proudly resisting the financial reasoning of demolish and building new. We hope to bring a positive touch to the city, showcasing different methods of environmental living and meeting many wonderful people from New Zealand and afar.
Come and be a part of the next 100 years of this Grand Old Lady.