Beach bungalow moves with the times
By Richard & Shona Savage
Kakanui Beach Retreat has a long association with the Campbell family. The property has recently undergone its second metamorphosis - refurbished to cater for the next generation of users.
The bungalow was originally purchased in the mid-1970s in Oamaru by the late Neil and Betty Campbell. At that time, they lived in Christchurch but were thinking ahead to their retirement years and bought the house to relocate to their recently purchased section at Kakanui.
The house was cut in half lengthwise, put on two trucks and transported to Kakanui, becoming one of the first dwellings on a scrub covered hillside overlooking Campbell’s Bay. A lot of work was done to prepare the house for habitation and then over the next 10-15 years, the couple and their three daughters, Jenny, Margie and Shona, enjoyed many family holidays were enjoyed at the house.
Neil and Betty retired to the property in the late 1980s, upgrading it more over time. It was always the place for the family to gather over the years as the girls moved around New Zealand and overseas. Gradually weddings took place and grandchildren arrived and they too were introduced to the wonderful place that was Kakanui. Friends from near and far frequently visited and most commented on the ‘world-class views’ and the foresight Neil and Betty had shown to secure their piece of coastal paradise for future generations.
As the years took their toll, Neil and Betty had to leave their lovely home, but were unable to part with it, and it provided wonderful respite and ‘refreshment for the soul’ on their frequent visits from the rest home. The family had to decide what to do with the property after both Neil and Betty had passed away, with a lot of maintenance now necessary.
In April 2007, Shona and her husband Richard Savage bought the house from the estate with a passion to preserve this property for future generations of the family.
They embarked on a journey with a team of professionals to redesign, deconstruct then subsequently reconstruct the ‘new’ house. With three children of their own, it was like history repeating itself as 30 years prior, Shona and her sisters had worked with her parents to change the house from its original state.
The renovation was like so many others – very time consuming, often stressful, more complicated than expected and invariably over budget. However, with a thorough knowledge of the site’s attributes and the path of the sun, changes were made to capitalise on these features. The skill of the craftsman builder and the insistence of the new owners on retaining the integrity of the bungalow design meant many beautiful features of the original house, such as the leadlight windows, were retained and incorporated in the new design.
The end result is basically a character home with the charm and ambience of yesteryear but in a house with the features and comforts of modern living. Yes, it would have been cheaper to build new, but every visitor has commented on the appeal, ‘X factor’ and charm of the property.
We are thrilled with the result and know that Betty and Neil would also be delighted (even though they would have been absolutely mortified at the state of their home at various times of the renovation!).
As the family gathered to celebrate Christmas following the restoration, they all acknowledged that Kakanui Beach Retreat is likely to continue to be the gathering place of the next generation as it is still the one constant in their lives.