Simple product choices help transform a 1960’s brick and tile home

Simple product choices help transform a 1960’s brick and tile home
October 12, 2016

Choosing simple, cost effective products for your renovation doesn’t have to mean you end up with something uninspiring. Just look at the transformation an Auckland couple have achieved with their 1960’s brick and tile home – with the help of Firth’s standard 20 series grey masonry and a Firth Elements polished concrete floor.


The couple first chose their modest home for their young family because of its great location, north facing aspect – with a fabulous view – and pool. “It’s a pretty simple home that doesn’t look like much from the front,” says the owner.

After nearly 10 years of family life the couple decided they wanted to give the house a lift and create some much needed space. They approached their architect and a local building firm to discuss a cost effective renovation.


“We have a dog and teenagers, so whatever we did to the house had to be hard wearing, affordable and comfortable to live in,” she says. “We have always loved honed concrete blocks and polished concrete floors, so they were on the list.”

“The one thing we were very insistent on, when talking with the architect, was that we wanted a feature wall in the lounge for the fireplace. We liked polished grey block walls and also wanted the wall to be broken up a bit and have contrast of colour, if possible.”


Discussions with the builder led them to Firth’s range of Elements coloured concrete and grey masonry blocks.

“After looking at Firth’s Elements coloured concrete options we went for a ‘salt and pepper’ finish in Firth Elements in Mist and, for the feature walls throughout the house, we were able to use Firth’s standard grey 20 series block but picked a block called Onyx from the Architectural Masonry range for the contrasted section through the middle.”


After six months of renovations the family moved back in. “I have to say that the heated polished concrete floors in the salt and pepper finish have been great. With a dog and kids it’s just so easy to live with. And we absolutely love the feature wall in the lounge.”

“Our builder was marvelous and the whole project has turned out so well. It’s amazing the effect the use of honed, simple concrete blocks and a polished concrete floor has had on our house. From the front it is very unassuming, but when visitors come into the hall and see the interior opening out to the back we often get a ‘wow’ – we really like that.”

Why concrete? 

Concrete is the most widely used construction material on earth. In many developed countries concrete buildings and infrastructure comprise approximately 60% of the built environment. Produced from readily available raw materials, concrete’s strength, durability, thermal mass, acoustic performance, fire resistance and its CO2 absorption capabilities ensure its contribution to a sustainable New Zealand.

As a highly durable construction material with low maintenance requirements, well-designed concrete structures can be expected to exceed both their economic and their minimum service life as specified in the New Zealand Building Code and in some cases last for centuries.

Customer: Auckland homeowners
Architect: Andreas Cherry Architecture
Builder: Building Elements Ltd
Product: Firth 20 series Grey Masonry  & Firth Elements coloured concrete ‘Mist’ in a salt  and pepper finish.

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