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Second life for $1 house

A recent addition to accommodation in Greytown was bought for $1, cut in half, and hauled over Remutaka Hill to its new location.

‘Brittania Villa’ was relocated from Petone to Greytown in late July 2021 by Kaleb McCartan, who had “always liked it as a kid”.

When he saw the property was for sale, McCartan found the vendor was happy to sell him the house for the extremely nominal price on condition he shifted it from the site – a bargain that was balanced out by how “costly” it was to move.

McCartan is the owner of Lower Hutt-based architectural design agency Kaleb Design, which specialises in renovation projects. He started the business about the same time he brought the villa, which was also his first project.

Now situated in the heart of Greytown, the villa’s renovations took roughly 18 months to complete – longer than expected due to covid disruptions.

McCartan said he was impressed with the “really onto it” Wairarapa builders and electricians who worked on the house.

According to Wright Brothers Building director Stan Wright, it needed a lot of work on the roof.

“We could see that it had been through the wars, but it ended up as a better house structurally afterwards,” Wright said.

“When we moved on into the inside, we were like ‘holy hell’, but it came together at the end.”

McCartan’s 12-year-old son also lent a helping hand on the renovation in exchange for extra pocket money.

The McCartan family currently live in Eastbourne, Wellington, and have plans to move to Wairarapa after their son finishes college.

In the meantime, McCartan is keen to do more work in the region, while the villa – which features four bedrooms and two bathrooms – is proving popular as an Airbnb, particularly with larger groups.

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