2016 has been a brilliant year for Bibby + Brady, and one of the highlights for us has been working with our awesome clients, Kim Brann and Bruce Polderman, on their Te Awanga cottage. Designed and built in 1978 by Hawke's Bay architect, Steve McGavock, it's vaulted ceilings and use of native timber were inspired by renowned New Zealand architect, John Scott.
When we first visited the cottage in April this year we were excited about the potential. The bones were there, and the architectural details were fantastic, but everything was a little tired and it was in definite need of attention. Kim and Bruce had been living in the main house (which is a larger version of the cottage) for several months, and needed our help with paint colour and flooring, as well as what to do with the beams and lighting. The decision was made to start with the cottage. Initially, once renovated, the plan was to rent it out long term, but within the first few weeks it was decided to turn it into boutique accommodation - the perfect couple's retreat, "Chambourcin Cottage".
The first decision we had to make was what to do with the beams. It was quite dark in the cottage on our first visit (mainly due to some of the windows being covered) and the beams felt a bit heavy overhead, so our first instinct was to paint them white and make them disappear. But upon reflection we realised every detail of the architecture was well thought out and the beams were an important part of the design. All of the light and electrical switches were black, as were the negative skirting boards and architraves.
The beams were a dark brown that didn't look like a natural wood colour, so we wanted them to be painted black and the ceiling in Resene Quarter Merino for a crisp contrast. We chose Resene Eighth Lemongrass for the walls of the living room. The soft, peaceful colour with a hint of green complimented the black and white, and because the neutral tone had a touch of colour it helped move and bounce light around the room.
Kim and Bruce hired their own painters and builders who did a fantastic job. Painting the beams was a fiddly job, but the finish is excellent. The old joinery was replaced with new matt black joinery, and the woodwork was brought back to life. We wanted to keep the window treatments simple and unfussy, using white curtains and blinds with matt black accessories (curtains rods and cleats).
When it came to choosing furniture and accessories for the cottage we wanted to create a beautiful retreat with comfort in mind. The scale was important in the small cottage, so although the sofa is large and solid (and super comfy), choosing it in a colour similar to the wall means it takes up less visual space. Accents of velvet and brass introduce a touch of elegance. At the time of these photos the cottage was about 90% finished - this dining table is a stand-in as the brass and marble table we chose won't be ready until early next year; and a few finishing touches like art are still to arrive.
The flooring was old and varied throughout the cottage so we chose to use carpet in the bedroom only. Everywhere else features polished concrete which is both beautiful and practical. David Trubridge pendants in the living room and bedroom suit the style of the house and look amazing. We hung my own Billie Culy print for the photoshoot and we loved it in the space, although it was a little small, so we ordered a much larger one to take it's place.
The bedroom is a really great space. A queen size bed fits snuggly on one side with room for a chair in one corner, and another small wing fits a large wardrobe, a small desk and a loft above.
We painted the bedroom area the same Resene Eighth Lemongrass as the living room, and the beams and ceiling also got the same treatment. We commissioned Francois Guittenit of Le Workshop to make the floating bedside cabinets for us. As the space around the bed was tight, we didn't want heavy bedside tables taking up precious floorspace. They have an airy feeling and work perfectly. Bedside lamps are still to come and our upholsterer, Asha Payton of Little & Fox, is making us an upholstered bedhead.
In the corner adjacent to the bed the beautiful velvet arm chair echoes one we put in the living room. It sits below an artwork by Jane Denton which we love. The simplicity of this piece works really well with the mid century style of the cottage. Beyond is a little courtyard to sit and enjoy a coffee and the spectacular view in the morning, or a glass of wine in the evening.
I love the wardrobe and desk area of the bedroom. Kim and Bruce's builder Lee Tiedemann of Russell Knox Builders did an amazing job putting new doors on the wardrobe and installing the brass inset handles we chose. He also built the shelves to the left of the wardrobe.
I designed a screen for the side of the loft inspired by mid century breeze blocks, and Lee finished it off beautifully with a timber edge. Francois built the loft ladder and the little desk. Beautiful new wool carpet by Cavalier Bremworth was laid in the entire bedroom area.
The original kitchen cabinetry was still in pretty good shape so it was given a new lick of paint and Lee added a wooden chopping board at the far left of the bench and a wooden surround to disguise the range hood.
Kim and Bruce wanted additional storage in the kitchen and a small table and chairs. Because of the tiny space Francois came up with the idea of building a unit that wrapped around one side of the kitchen. This not only gave them cupboards and shelves for storage, but also additional bench space and a breakfast bar overlooking the vineyard. It's the perfect use of the small space.
A small shelf was added above the stainless steel bench and we replaced all of the fluorescent lights throughout the cottage with copper tubular lights. We sourced a beautiful stoneware dinner set and accessories, and gorgeous hand blown glassware. All these details add to the experience for the lucky couples who choose to stay at Chambourcin Cottage.
On the other side of the kitchen is the front entrance and a hallway that runs down past the toilet and bathroom to the back door. When we started this project there were three different kinds of flooring from the back door through to the living room. Now it looks really smart with polished concrete flooring the entire length, softened by the occasional rug.
We designed a floating vanity similar in style to our bedside cabinets and Francois built and installed it in the hallway by the back entrance. Once again we wanted it to be floating to create a sense of airiness and space, and the large mirror above it reflects light around.
Opposite the vanity is the tiny bathroom. Although it caused a few heads to be scratched with things that cropped up along the way, we're really proud of this space as it's so awesome! We chose a small hexagon tile and the entire room is tiled from floor to ceiling. Matt black accessories pay homage to the original design details, and to add warmth we introduced accents of wood, brass and leather.
The outside of the cottage has come along way since we took this first photo (below) in April. We carried on the black and white colour scheme from inside, and worked with our favourite garden designer, Yo Kjestrup of Yo Designs, on the garden at the front. We wanted to create a garden with clean lines in keeping with the mid century style, and Kim and Bruce also wanted to direct people down past the French doors to the main entrance just beyond. Yo came up with a clever design using dark stained planter boxes to stop people from automatically entering through the French doors while also creating another private patio space.
We are so delighted with this little cottage, and Dael and I both love it so much we were ready to move in ourselves, as was our photographer Florence when she visited to take the photos. If you're looking for somewhere to get away for a relaxing and romantic break, I can't speak highly enough of Chambourcin Cottage in Te Awanga, Hawke's Bay. The views are spectacular over the boutique vineyard, Heretaunga Plains, and the Kaweka and Huiarau Ranges beyond, it really is a special place! Your hosts, Kim and Bruce, are the loveliest people and will be able to advise you on all the amazing things there are to offer around their beautiful coastal region. Tell them we sent you ;)
Click here to read more about this project and to see 'before' images.