Home Tour | NZ House & Garden

My home recently featured in the August issue of NZ House & Garden, and I thought I would share some of the fantastic photographs taken by Jane Ussher. Our home is a constant work in progress and never quite finished. The perks (and sometimes the curse, if you ask my husband) of being an interior designer is that there's always a new furniture piece or fabric that you fall in love with. I also just like to experiment and change things continuously.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

If you follow us on Facebook you probably know how much we love built in dining bench seating. I commissioned Sunshine Joinery to build our one to mirror the window seat in our living room, with lift up lids for additional storage (you can never have enough). The squabs were made by the amazing Anna from Cushions Unlimited, topped with our own Bibby + Brady custom made throw cushions. Our American Oak dining table was beautifully built by Francois of Le Workshop.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

We designed the kitchen and Sunshine Joinery created it for us. My husband wanted a white kitchen, so I made sure it had lots of texture for interest's sake - beautiful tiles and panelled cabinetry.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

The twins were reluctant models, unlike Minnie that cat who followed the photographer around all day trying to get in every shot.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

The living areas in the house are all open plan so you can sit in the end living room and see right down to the kitchen. We recently painted this room dark blue (Resene Celestial Blue) to define it from the other areas and it's become my favourite space to be in. The middle living room has large bi-fold doors out onto our deck which fill the house with light.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

This is another favourite corner where I can curl up next to the open bi-folds with a glass of wine and a magazine. The chair is from our supplier Soren Liv (all of their furniture is available to purchase through Bibby + Brady), and the antique side table and vintage lithograph both belonged to my parents.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

The end living room overlooks the Botanical Gardens. The hanging pod chair is a popular reading spot, and the most comfortable chair you're ever likely to sit in! These are also available to purchase from Bibby + Brady.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

My desk is a happy place where I'm surrounded by favourite prints. A lot of our decor has a nature theme - water, birds and botanicals. This was never a conscious thing, but when you collect things you love you'll often see a pattern emerging.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

My grandmother's bridge table sits below a painting of my parents' next to the front door. My mother-n-law is always bringing us fresh floral arrangements, so this vignette is very close to my heart. We love mixing old and new pieces in a home to create interest and a sense of history.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

A few years ago I imported some bone inlay furniture from India. I couldn't find any in New Zealand at the time so took it upon myself to bring some in. I sold a lot of it but managed to keep a few piece for myself. Along with the antique gold mirror this definitely defines my side of the room, but you can see the reflection of my husband's surf print which is part of his side :)

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

The print above our bed is by Australian artist, Andrew O'Brien. Our headboard was made by Little and Fox, but I've decided it's time to recover it. The soft grey velvet is lovely, but with so many amazing fabrics available to us in our job, it's hard not to be tempted by something new.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

With our kids growing up so fast, we're in the early stages of adding an extension onto our house. It includes a new master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, allowing our three girls to each have their own room. The kids' bedrooms will all be having a re-design at the same time, and they're looking forward to having input into the design of their own room.

Photo: Jane Ussher | courtesy of NZ House & Garden

Make sure you pick up the October issue of NZ House & Garden as it features the gorgeous home of one of our client's - keep your eye out for the pink Smeg fridge.

Style a console with Rae West art

One of our favourite artists, Rae West, just happens to live right on our doorstep - Hawke's Bay is full of so many talented people! When she recently offered us one of her spectacular original tondo's for our showroom, we jumped at the chance. Her work is super beautiful, she uses resin and ink, and this particular piece also has gold leaf for an extra layer of subtle shine. It's quite hard to capture the beauty on camera, believe me when I say this art is even better in 'real life'.

We decided to combine Rae's piece with a little styling demo, and show you how we styled the console in our showroom in six simple steps. Styling flat surface like consoles, coffee tables and bookshelves is one of our favourite things to do. In my home I'm constantly changing things around to suit a new piece I've found, or just to keep things fresh and interesting.

It can be hard to know how to get the right balance, and how to make it look pretty but also have functionality. To help you get started (if you're new at this), we'll run you through our steps and explain why we've used certain pieces:

Step 1: We like to start with a large piece of art, or a mirror can look great too. Hang it just above your console - too high and it can look disconnected from what's going on below it.

Step 2: A lamp is a great starting point. It adds height as well as light for functionality. We've chosen a lamp with a fabric shade we had custom made. The shade will soften the light rather than having directional light like a desk lamp.

Step 3: Add something sculptural or quirky, purely for fun. We liked the curves of the swans next to the round artwork and the curve of the lamp. The brass links to the subtle gold found in Rae's artwork (although it's hard to capture this on camera).

Step 4: Books are a great tool for grounding objects, they act like a little platform for smaller pieces like bowls or vases. They also add a bit of weight and squareness to balance the curves. If you're anything like me (book crazy!) you'll love the chance to have some of your favourite coffee table books on display.

Step 5: To balance the right side we added a large floral arrangement. It's always great to add fresh flowers or greenery. They bring life and add another sculptural and textural element. We were lucky enough to have this stunning arrangement by Laura Jeffares, but if you don't have access to Laura, a pot plant in a beautiful planter will do the job, or grab your secateurs and snip some greenery from your garden.

Step 6: We could've left it at that last step, but that little space to the right of the vase felt like it needed something. A little dish, bowl or tray is handy for throwing your keys, sunglasses etc in as you walk in the door. It's a functional piece and also another low, horizontal element to balance the height of the vertical pieces - it's all about the balance.

So there you go, six simple steps to create a pretty good looking console. We've kept our colour palette consistent with greens and blues to compliment the artwork, and pinks, gold, and the light wood of the console to balance those cool tones.

This beautiful artwork is for sale, so if anyone is interested in purchasing a stand out piece for their home, please get in touch with us. You're welcome to come and see the art in our showroom so you can truly appreciate it's beauty. Make an appointment to make sure we're not in a meeting or out and about, as we'd love to give you our full attention.

Exhibit your personality with GIB-Cove®

Dael and I wanted to share a project with you that we've had so much fun with and are very proud to have worked on. It's a campaign for GIB® to promote their new range of GIB-Cove®. With five different cove profiles available, you can choose the one which best suits your style and your personality, whether that is modern and minimal, more traditional, or something in between. Coving is an important architectural detail in your home and deserves as much consideration as any other piece you'd choose for your room. We worked with the amazing team at justONE in Auckland who created the campaign and the five different personalities to represent each cove. We designed a living room for each personality that we felt worked beautifully with the chosen GIB-Cove®.

Behind the scenes

We were able to fly up to Auckland to create one of the rooms we designed, and it was amazing to see the room come to life. We designed the room for Mason (and his dog Rusty) to suit his laid back lifestyle and personality. The contemporary lines of the Mezzo GIB-Cove® complimented the room beautifully.

The other four rooms we designed have been turned into fabulous illustrations. Make sure you check them all out on the Gib® website and click on each style to see how to 'get the look'.

A special thanks to all our suppliers whose products we've used in our room designs, but especially to those who allowed us to use their products for Mason's photo shoot - Soren Liv, The Ivy House, Maytime, The Poi Room, Bianca Lorenne, Torpedo7, Carpet Court, and Black Bridge Nurseries. If you're interested in any of the amazing products we've featured you can also purchase through us, just give us a call or fire through an email. And if you're interested in using the GIB-Cove® in your home talk to your local, architect, interior designer, or builder about the range.