Celebrity News

The Block NZ’s Alice and Caleb share their hard-won reno lessons

All we can say is wow!

With their impressive credentials including winning The Block NZ and completing over seven houses together, Alice and Caleb sure know a thing or two about renovating. We discover the important lessons they’ve learnt over the years.

Meet and greet

Alice Pearson, director of Pearson + Projects, Caleb Pearson, property development manager, Alek, 4, and Mika, 2, plus Nala the dog.

The Block NZ’s Alice and Caleb share their hard-won reno lessons

People fall into one of two camps, says Alice Pearson: you either do one house renovation and vow to never lift a hammer again, or you start looking for your next project the minute you lay down your tools on the current one. Alice and husband Caleb definitely fall into the second category. Their present home is their sixth renovation – or the seventh if you count the one they overhauled in the 2013 season of The Block NZ, which they won.

On their checklist were: good bones, small enough to pop on the back of a truck and fit down a tight driveway, and a layout that would work with the 327-square-metre site and suit decking that would connect to the backyard. And good light.

“Light makes such a difference to houses. So much of a home is about the feel and atmosphere,” says Alice. “No matter how well you renovate a house, if it’s dark and gloomy even white walls won’t fix it. Experience has given us confidence in our ability to find houses with true potential.”

Lessons learnt

Alice: We’re definitely outsourcing more these days. With young kids, time is more precious and it costs to have babysitters, so I gladly outsource things like wallpaper stripping!

Don’t compromise on quality but shop at the right places – invest the time to know where to shop and to know what quality is. Buying well doesn’t mean buying the cheapest, but saving the most money while buying a quality product. Otherwise you’ll buy something cheap, it’ll break and you’ll have to buy a new one, which defeats the whole purpose. Look for ends-of-line or go on Trade Me and see if people have ordered too many of something and are selling off the surplus.

Words by: Debbie Harrison. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

Via our sister site Homes To Love.

The Pearsons also reworked certain spaces to gain more storage, something you can never have too much of with a young family.

The wallpaper, combined with blush full-length curtains, floor-to-ceiling mirrored wardrobe doors and beautiful linen and lighting, has given the room a modern, romantic look that Alice loves.

The romance of the Eijffinger wallpaper and blush drapes is tempered by modern black accents in the bedroom.

She designed the kitchen and bathroom first (“because the plumber needs to get in and do their first fix”) and found herself hankering for copper tapware and a blush-pink splashback in the kitchen.

Featured on the cover of Your Home and Garden, the dining booth was created to overcome a spatial problem but has become the star of the home with its striking lighting and rich colour scheme.

Alice recommends diverting money to beautiful lighting and you’ll need fewer decor items. The living room light cluster cost $756 and makes the dining nook a special space.

Floor plan.

The built-in seat provides storage for toys and a comfy spot for story-time with Mum or Dad.

The beds are toddler-sized to make it easy for Mika to transition from her cot, as well as to save space in a small room.

Alice and Caleb drew a picture of what they wanted and sent it to Cutshop, who sent them back two kitsets. Alice painted them, added decals and cut a $300 Ikea queen mattress in half to fit them both.

Alek and Mika share a room, leaving the third bedroom free to be a playroom.

Structurally, there wasn’t too much wrong with the house – the couple just decided to rejig the layout to make it work better for their family and the site.

Alice was happy to sacrifice space in the small bathroom ( to fit in a bath, and nabbed the tiles for just $165 because they were an end of line.

For previous projects, Alice has always gone for a white scheme with black touches, but this time she wanted to add subtle colour in tones she’d never considered before.

Get your favourite magazines home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.

Related stories