A Tour of the Greatest 700 sq ft Flat in New Zealand!

This is where we 1) lived the longest and 2) did the most!

We also had the most outdoor living space here of any of the prior places we’d lived in New Zealand.

This granny flat is where we tripled our kitchen counter space, refurbished the most pieces of old furniture, and drank the most of my infamous Lemon Drop Sorbet each summer.

First, the tour! It’s a quick and easy one.


NZ flat front view
How and why we suddenly quit our jobs and moved to New Zealand!

We realize this is not the best shot, but it’s the only one we could find.

Google Maps helps us get a better one, but we can’t take credit for it:

NZ Front flat view

We’re “the granny flat” on the left. This time, the family who lived in the bigger place (to the right), were not the owners (like our last place) but they were also renters.

NZ front flat door view

There’s our front door! Our thin, poorly sealed, nostalgic aluminum door! (They say aluminium in New Zealand. Really. It’s true. Even though it sounds like a child pronouncing aluminum in a cute but wrong way, a whole country of people say it. I love that.)



Flat kitchen and lounge view
Don’t worry my mind was already swirling with ideas on how to maximize our small kitchen!

This whole area is our lounge, kitchen, and dining.

This is what you’d see when you came in that aluminininium door. (That’s even funner to say and I’m getting a good laugh out of it right now. Gotta save that one for a rainy day when I need an easy laugh. Okay yeah, the more I keep saying it, the funnier it feels. I also may be very tired.)

Have I mentioned that “lounge” is what they say in New Zealand instead of “living room” or “family room? I like it. It’s so efficient! In true Kiwi fashion.

Here’s what you’d see if you ran to the other side of the room and looked back towards the front door (because we do allow running in our space—and who can resist with all the furniture gone?):

Flat Living Room empty
Our $20 DIY pallet coffee table made its way to this lounge as well!

These pics were taken when we first took possession of the flat. So I apologize for the darkness but I wasn’t planning on them being good enough for the internet one day. I was just hoping they’d prove we hadn’t done any existing damage.

Now, here’s a different angle of our lil’ kitchen, and it has the kind of blur that looks like I really WAS running while I took it.

I’m so fast!

Flat Kitchen
Small kitchen? No problem! We had grown accustomed to solving small space storage problems!

Eh? Eh? (I’m nudging you with my elbow.) Notice something? Notice the drawers?

Drawers in the kitchen! Score!

(You won’t know why I’m so excited about that if you haven’t read this first.)

I’m probably dancing with joy about those drawers while I take this photo, and that’s where the blur came from. That explanation is more likely than me running.

(I don’t like to run. And I was a sprinter in college. I don’t know how that happened. Well, I do but it’s a long story and I don’t enjoy remembering my sprinter days so you’ll probably never hear it. Wasn’t that anticlimactic? Instead you’ll hear about random things that reeeeeeeeeally get my jig up, like the gorgeous couch and chair set I got for $20. Yep, I will go on and on about that one NO PROBLEM. WITHOUT BEING ASKED.)


Okay, I don’t actually remember anyone in New Zealand ever calling it “The Loo,” but they may have and it just didn’t phase me.

View of bathroom with shower and sink
If you’d like to see a bathroom we were actually able to remodel you should check out our CA house master bathroom!

What we actually DID hear Kiwis calling it often was “the toilet.”

We tried explaining to friends how that sounds a bit crass to Americans—we try to soften it up by calling it “the bathroom” or “the restroom.” Heck, even in England they call it “the W.C.” (Which, sidenote, I think wins out as best non-gross name for that room.)

Nope, in New Zealand they just say cheerfully, “I’m off to the toilet!”

Even now, it makes me smile and appreciate the straightforwardness of that information.

See, what’s not to love about different cultures?! (As discussed here.) So many fun tidbits of random information in my head that entertain me to no end!

Speaking of random tidbits of cultural information, here’s a shot of our towel warmer.

Towel Warmer

There were towel warmers in every flat and home we witnessed in New Zealand! This is NOT normal in the States (in fact it’s considered quite “posh” to have a fancy towel heater in most places), but perfectly normal in NZ.

The same Kiwis who laughed to us about the silliness of things like home insulation, double glazed windows, and wearing shoes outside—


They’ll freeze all winter in their chilly houses and cut their feet on sharp objects while walking barefoot down the street…

…but they draw the line at their towels holding onto moisture.

We love Kiwis!


Empty Bedroom
Tour our first flat in New Zealand!

Yep, that’s a bedroom.

It’s pretty simple. It has a closet. It has a window.

Someone was actually brilliant about that narrow window, because it lets in minimal light and that is how this gal likes to sleep. The darker, the better!

Even more brilliant would be no windows, but I think that’s illegal in bedrooms. (UNTIL I BECOME PRESIDENT/DICTATOR.)

View outside through living room doors
We DIY’ed some patio furniture for this patio and it was amazing!

Back in the lounge, there are these cool triple sliding doors out to our patio.

Which was the biggest and greatest outdoor space we ever had in New Zealand, after the two tiny balconies of our first place and the zero-outdoor-space of our second flat. But who’s comparing?

(Me. I’m comparing.)

In this lovely little spot in New Zealand, we

  1. Made the most amazing kitchen island ever.
  2. Saved chair lives and finagled furniture to fill in gaps in our living situation.
  3. Almost completely filled the outdoor patio with all Jessica’s plants and outdoor ideas.

You can also check out pics of all the places we lived in New Zealand, as well as the many many cool projects we tackled in New Zealand right here.

If you’re wanting ideas a bit bigger than that, check out what we’re doing now in our California house!

Or if you’re wanting to know more about our adventures, you can check that out as well!

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