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.

Art | Rae West

You may remember, when I showed you images of our finished kitchen last year, that I was on the hunt for a piece of art with maximum impact for the wall opposite our back door. Most of our guests use the front door, but the back door is the one that my family and close friends use, and I wanted something amazing to greet us when we entered.

Don't you love those times in your life when things unexpectedly fall into your lap?! Towards the end of last year I got a Facebook message from a local artist, Rae West, introducing herself, and she attached images of some of her pieces. They were amazing, and just what I had been looking for. I arranged to visit Rae's studio and ended up commissioning her to create a piece for our home.

As you can see from my previous blog post I love this colour palette - deep inky blues, turquoise, teal, and just a hint of magenta. I absolutely love my tondo that Rae created. My photos don't do it justice, in reality it's even more rich and mysterious and so striking with a beautiful glossy finish.

Rae has been working in this new medium of acrylic inks and resin for the past year. It really suited the direction she wanted her painting to develop, from the subjective to a more abstract expression of colour. She uses multiple veils of pigment, resin and at times gold leaf which blend and react against each other creating beautiful forms and textures.

If you live in Hawke's Bay you can view the magic of Rae's work for yourself at the a+e gallery on Hastings Street in Napier next month. The Solo Show PULSE will run from the 24th February until the 14th March. Everyone is welcome to come to the opening night from 5-7pm on Wednesday February 24th.

If you're not in the Bay, never fear, here's a full list of galleries that stock Rae West's art: 
Black Door Gallery, Parnell  Flagstaff Gallery, Devonport  Moko Gallery, Hot Water Beach  Inspirit Gallery, Cambridge  Soul Gallery, Hamilton  Kura Gallery, Taupo  a+e Gallery, Napier  Ora Gallery, Wellington  Little River Gallery, Christchurch  Vesta Design Store, Queenstown  Art Bay Gallery, Queenstown.

Of course you can also visit Rae in her Clive studio by appointment. You'll find her Fox Street Gallery at 11 Fox Street, Clive - a picturesque part of Hawke's Bay. Phone for an appointment on 021 287 3275 or 06 870 1070, or you can drop her an email - raewest@xtra.co.nz.

My Kitchen | The Reveal

To all of you who have been following my kitchen reno... thank you so much for your patience. It's been over a month since my last progress post, but it got to the point where it was so close that I just had to wait until it was finished (or 99% finished) before I showed you. Here is a reminder of where we've come from, or read all about the full kitchen renovation in these previous posts.

I can't tell you how ecstatic we are with our finished kitchen! Not only does it look amazing and just how we wanted it, but it is so functional, with so much more storage, and it's a joy to work in! A huge thank you to Rick and his team - Ben and Shane - from Sunshine Joinery. Rick listened to everything we asked for and worked closely with us to create our perfect kitchen. The guys were all a pleasure to have in our home, and their workmanship was faultless.

I wanted the kitchen to fit seamlessly into our house, which is a 1940's bungalow. We took a classic look and gave it a contemporary spin by using panelled, soft-close, handleless cabinetry. The lack of handles gives it a clean, contemporary feel, while the panelling ties in with the era of our home.

You'll remember how I deliberated over the tile choice for our splash back... well, we love our final choice - the Cube Collection from Tile Space, supplied by Napier Ceramic Tiles. I wanted the tiles to contrast the stone marble-look bench top while also complimenting it. I also love the geometric pattern juxtaposed with the vertical panelling in the cabinets. The bench top we chose is an engineered stone called Smart Quartz by Granite Pacifica, colour Mont Blanc, installed by John and his team at Pinnacle Stone.

The wooden shelf is one of our favourite details. Rick made it from our old mantle pieces, so there is history and a story to tell there. The led down lights underneath add additional task lighting to that corner.

One of the things I was certain I wanted was cupboards that went right to the ceiling. They didn't in our old kitchen, and the tops of them were a serious dust collector. It also uses every available space for storage which was important to me. The very top shelves house those things that we don't use all the time, but are still necessary.

The two places we needed handles were on the pull out pantry, and the bi-fold cupboards into another pantry. I'm crazy in love with our brass handles from Schoolhouse Electric. The lines are clean and simple and echo the handles on the fridge/freezer and oven, but the under side is rounded to mould to your fingers - gorgeous! The beautiful Skandi tea towel is from Izzy & Jean.

I was also adamant I was going to have a black stone sink to contrast all the white. It is awesome and big enough to fit a roasting pan! I chose a beautiful Paini matt black tap supplied by Plumbing World in Napier.

One of the few things to finish is to fit a piece of the stone bench top behind the sink and under the window sill - that's happening this week. Plus I'm searching for the perfect piece of art for the wall between the kitchen and dining room windows (will keep you posted on that).

Also, we have some white roller blinds previously used on our kitchen and dining room windows, but because of all the white, I want to have some roman blinds made up in a beautiful fabric - I'm thinking blue and white ikat, similar to the ones we put in this client's dining room.

The pendant lights above the breakfast bar are another fave of mine. They're a Bibby + Brady special from a favourite supplier of ours, so any enquiries can come to me :) Because it's quite a small kitchen, the glass shades don't take up much visual space, and they don't block the view to the tiles and wooden shelf behind. I've pinched some bulbs from our bedroom, but I plan to add some yummy filament bulbs soon.

Our floors are another big win for us. We love the effect of the different boards, and the brass strips that separate them. Barry from Bay Floor Sanding did an amazing job sanding and polishing them, and our awesome builder, Glynn Pritchard - GCP Construction Ltd - had the task of laying the horizontal rimu boards and routering (is that a word?) the brass strips in.

Rather than having bar stools at the breakfast bar, we opted for more cupboards and an open shelf - perfect for adding some colour and pattern.

We still have a little bit to finish off in the dining room. Sunshine Joinery are going to make us a built-in corner bench seat. This will be a fantastic spot to get comfy and admire the kitchen :) It will also bring more storage under the seats. Our American oak dining room table is absolutely gorgeous and made for us by Francois of Le Workshop, and the Italian dining chairs were a brilliant TradeMe find. Opposite the table Glynn has built us a European laundry, and Sunshine Joinery are also making us a set of bi-fold doors for here. When all of that is finished I'll bring you a separate dining room reveal blog post.

I also have to give thanks to the rest of our amazing team - Davyd Auckram the electrician, John Riggs the plumber, Morris the plasterer, and Mark & Pete (my hubby & father-n-law) the painters. This renovation has been a testament to how you need a really great team around you, and plenty of time to project manage it all. This is something Dael & I, at Bibby + Brady, specialise in, so if you would like us to design and project manage your renovations, we'd love to work with you.