Favourite Space | Marilyn Perko

It’s time for another of our ‘Favourite Space’ blog posts. We get to meet so many fabulous and talented people in our job, and when we see an interior that is really special and a true reflection of its owner, we just want to share it with you. Marilyn is a client of ours and was kind enough to allow us to photograph her home and share a bit of her journey with us.

Marilyn in her living room, which for some time during the renovation was her bedroom | photo: Florence Charvin

Before we get to Marilyn’s story though, I wanted to tell you a bit about our relationship with her. The way we worked with her is not our usual process. Normally, with a renovation like hers we are a lot more hands-on, but we quickly learnt how capable Marilyn was with managing her own renovation. A long-term Piha resident, upon arriving in Hawke’s Bay she came to us for advice on colours and fabrics, and we helped her choose, make and install all of her curtains and wooden shutters; we purchased her wallpaper for her bedroom study, bedlinen, and a lot of fabric for countless beautiful cushions and squabs we had custom made. We worked with Marilyn on an hourly rate for design advice and whenever something arose that she needed a second opinion on, she’d pop in to see us. We have the utmost admiration for how she handled her renovation (which we know can be a stressful experience) and for the beautiful home that she has created for herself. Marilyn, you’re a star, and now over to you…

We supplied fabric for curtains, window squab, cushions & furniture | photo: Florence Charvin

About your renovation:

B+B: How long did you live in Piha, and what made you choose Napier to relocate?

I lived in Piha for 21 years, it was my retreat from the world of work. I decided to retire in 2017 and I knew it was time for a move, much as I loved Piha I wanted to be closer to amenities, theatres, galleries. I initially looked at inner city properties but the escalating real estate prices in Auckland put that out of reach and I wasn’t quite ready for apartment life. So I set about looking out of Auckland, my check list was to be near the sea, walking distance to shops, not too far from an airport and room for visiting friends and family. North of Auckland was a contender and no further South than Hawke’s Bay or New Plymouth.

A beautiful side table spied by Marilyn and sourced by Bibby + Brady | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: Did it take you long to find your Napier home?

I spent some time checking out a number of areas but I was drawn to Hawke’s Bay. I narrowed my search to Napier and, as I hadn’t been there for some time, I flew down one weekend just to look around. Or so I thought - I ended up putting in an offer on a 1920’s bungalow on the hill, and that was the end of my search! I have renovated several times and I knew this property needed serious work but I feel in love with the view, I could hear the sound of the waves, it was close to Napier City and less than 10 minutes to the airport. All my boxes ticked! Something I didn’t expect living so close to the city was the bird life; Tuis, Bellbirds and Kereru.

Marilyn’s living room with views over Napier and out to Cape Kidnappers | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: What is your favourite space in the house, now that it’s all finished?

It has to be my bedroom area with ensuite, walk in wardrobe, study nook and view of sea and city. I just love the wallpaper, an indulgent Designer Guild feature wall in the study nook, expertly papered by Claire Condon.

We had beautiful wooden shutters installed in Marilyn’s bedroom | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: What were the highlights and lowlights of your renovation?

The completed renovation took 10 months and with old houses there are always surprises (and there were a few), but I was fortunate to have a wonderful builder, "Wayne Reid Builders", and a band of exceptional tradies. An Auckland friend put me in contact with his friends in Napier who had recently completed renovations and they passed on all their contacts. The difficult part for me was living around the renovation, moving from room to room, no laundry or kitchen, inadequate heating…...I’ve been down this path before but it does get more challenging with age, however I am thrilled with the end result. A big thank you to Dael and Vic who have been there to give advice on colours and furnishings, and for their never ending enthusiasm for my project.

We sourced the Designers Guild wallpaper from our friends at Icon Textiles | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: Do you have any advice for others undergoing their own renovation?

Take your time to find a builder, someone who sees your vision, and if you require Council consents/plans include your builder at the planning stage if you can. You must be well organised, living on site was an advantage as often quick decisions need to be made, but most importantly keep a detailed account of what you are spending.

Beautiful linen curtains over French doors seperate the inside & outside dining areas | photo: Florence Charvin

Getting to know you better:

B+B: What’s your favourite time of day?

Dusk, the fading light as the sun disappears and the city lights begin to twinkle. A time for quiet contemplation and a glass of wine.

B+B: Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by the generosity and kindness of those who give to their communities. The hours and hours of voluntary time caring for the young, our precious environment, the disabled and elderly.

Marilyn’s love of art is evident in her kitchen and dining area | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: What are you reading/listening to right now?

One of the first things I did when I moved to Napier was to find a book club, at the moment we are reading “The Forest of Wool and Steel” written by Japanese writer Natsu Miyashita. I’ve just finished reading “Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead” - hard to pin point the genre but described as ‘a meditation on human compassion and a murder mystery’. With the longer nights I enjoy listening to my Jazz collection.

Marilyn brought these tiles into us for our approval. We love them, of course | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: Sweet or savoury?

Definitely savoury.

B+B: Favourite drink?

Depending on the occasion - Celebrate with Champagne, Martinborough Pinot Noir and a single malt by the fire.

The dining table is one of our favourites in recycled oak | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: Favourite thing you own?

My painting by Dean Buchanan is a favourite and I have it in my lounge, I never tire of looking at it. Dean lives in Karekare just over the hill from Piha, the painting is of Cathedral Cave at Mercer Bay. I bought it from Dean’s studio in Karekare and he told me how he would climb down to the cave to get mussels.

The painting by Dean Buchanan is very special to Marilyn and reflects colours found in the living room | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: Do you have any future plans for your home?

Scaffolding and building clutter took its toll on the garden, so I've been busy outside. I’m looking forward to Spring! I'm also toying with the idea of developing a studio/bedsit under the house.

Accents of black in the dining room add a touch of depth | photo: Florence Charvin

Thank you so much Marilyn for letting us be a part of your renovation story, for allowing us to share your home with our readers, and for the celebratory champagne on the deck ;)

Beachside Apartment | Before & Afters

Last year we undertook a renovation project for lovely clients who had bought a beachside apartment, badly in need of a freshen up. The apartment was to be their home-away-from-home when they were in Napier, so they wanted it to be comfortable and low maintenance, but also smart and sophisticated.

We updated the entire base layer of the apartment - new tiles, new carpet, new paint colour throughout, and new window treatments - as well as sourcing and purchasing a range of new furniture.

In the entrance we added wallpaper and powder coated the stair balustrade matt black for a sharper, more contemporary look. White wooden shutters half way up replaced the old venetian blinds, letting light and the view in whilst still allowing our clients privacy. The clean lines of the new console compliments everything around it.

The first thing you see once you reach the top of the stairs is the kitchen which sits between the living and dining spaces in the large open plan room. The original kitchen was quite dated, painted in a marine blue and featuring a curved island with a pole right through the centre of the bench.

The first thing we did was to meet with our builder and get an engineer in to see if we could remove the pole. as it was going to seriously compromise whatever we designed for the new kitchen. We were so happy (that’s an understatement) when we were told it could be done. It required a steel beam added in the ceiling which we had drawn up and submitted to council by our friend, Andrew Mitchener of Mitchener Architecture & Design.

Our joiners, Sydaz, built the new kitchen for us. We kept the lines clean and contemporary and used a simple but striking material and colour palette. The granite bench top continued up the wall as the splash back behind the cooktop. We carried the floor tiles out beyond the island in both directions to define the kitchen area.

How good does that look without the pole running through the centre?!

With a neutral coloured carpet replacing the old blue carpet, we then used one of our favourite Armadillo&Co rugs to ground the new dining table and zone the dining area. A mirror on the back wall replaced the artwork to reflect the stunning ocean view.

We removed the low nib wall between the dining area and the area under the window, at the top of the stairs, to create a sense of airiness and space.

The built-in desk was removed and we had a sofa custom made for the nook - the perfect spot to tuck yourself away with a good book. Lastly we replaced the roman blind with the same wood shutters we installed in the stairway.

When you have an open plan living space it’s important to have a consistent colour palette for a sense of calm and cohesiveness. The black dining table relates to the black oak kitchen cabinetry; the smokey table top echoes the pendant lights; we kept the soft furnishing light and neutral and added accents of golden mustard.

The bathroom required a total overhaul. We ripped everything out and started again with a new layout. Where the shower was previously we installed a custom made vanity, designed by us and made by Sydaz.

We chose to tile the entire bathroom, floor to ceiling, in the same tiles for a clean, contemporary feel. The neutral coloured tiles, that feature a lovely subtle texture, are also used on the floor in the entrance and kitchen to continue that sense of cohesiveness. The vanity features the same wood we used in the kitchen island, and the same granite on the bench top. Accents of black look smart and add a touch of depth to the space.

The decision was made to remove the small bathtub (there is a bath in a downstairs bathroom), and we opted instead for a large walk-in shower. We worked with our friend, Hayden Borrie, who custom made the black steel shower frame for us. Because the bathroom style is so clean and simple, everything had to be just right and the black shower frame added the weight and the ‘wow’ that we felt was needed in that corner.

Thank you so much to our lovely clients for allowing us to share their home with you all. If you have a renovation or new build project in your near future, why not get in touch with us to see if we could be of help to you.

Napier Hill Home Renovation

We’ve recently finished working with a fabulous client, helping her renovate her home on Napier Hill. Rachael had moved to Hawke’s Bay from Wellington with her two young children and bought a beautiful old character home. It had great bones and stunning views over the hill and out to sea, but the layout wasn’t quite right and the interiors were a bit tired. After working with Citrus Studio Architecture on the plan, Rachael hired local firm Davcon Construction to complete the renovation. It was Davcon director, Julian Davis, who recommended Rachael talk to us about her kitchen design. Jules knew we’d be able to guide her through all the tricky decisions regarding colours, bench tops, cabinet style, handles etc.

The old kitchen was completely removed and this space (above) has now been turned into a media room for games and movie watching. Walls came down and moved to create a much better flow and layout throughout the house, and the kitchen moved over into the old dining room.

After putting the design concept together for Rachael’s kitchen, we worked closely with our joiners, Sydaz, to bring the design to a reality. We’ve developed a great working relationship with the Sydaz team, so it was a really fun project to work on. Both Davcon and Sydaz have exceptional workmanship, it was amazing to watch both teams help bring our design to life.

Our initial idea was to have a beautiful soft sage green on the bottom cabinets, but to achieve this look with the cabinets painted in a two pot polyurethane was a slightly more expensive option. In the end we opted for a more cost-effective thermoform finish in textured limestone, which is essentially a soft white. We then put a beautiful light grey with a hint of green on the walls to bring in some tone while still keeping the space calm, light and airy.

We’re all in love with the bench top we chose. It’s an engineered stone with a textured matt finish. It features a white background with velvety grey swirls and smaller specks of dark grey. Dael took Rachael out to the Archant warehouse in Hastings where they could view the actual slab of stone. This enables our clients a much better idea of how their bench will look, although we always start by showing them a small sample square. Carrying the stone up the wall as an up-stand was the finishing touch - we love it.

You can see from the progress shot (below) that we put a pull-out pantry and integrated fridge along the wall to the right of the main kitchen. There was nothing we can do with that wall in-between, as behind that is the powder room. Positioning the kitchen island long ways helped to connect everything…

But what really succeeded to connect and ‘zone’ the kitchen area was the wall panelling we asked Davcon to create. It absolutely worked with the style of the home, and wrapping it along the wall between the two pantries, and over on the opposite wall, clearly marked the kitchen area from the adjoining dining area.

The media room, where the old kitchen used to be, is off the kitchen, and we love the sneaky peek of the deep blue walls against the soft grey/green walls in front.

media room re-gibbed and ready for it’s transformation.

loving it’s smart new colour scheme.

The entrance, kitchen and dining room have had new flooring put down. Rachael came home from Hutchinsons with a selection she had chosen and we helped her narrow it down to these boards, which look fantastic. These were the sorts of questions we helped Rachael tackle throughout the reno, another was which way to lay the boards. We would usually recommend running the wood from the front door straight to the back of the house, but the front door sits at the side of the house (to the left of the dining room entrance above). So, although the boards run across the entrance, they then lead your eye down to the beautiful big doors and view at the back of the house.

Rachael already had her dining table, chairs and rug. We sourced the pendant lighting for the kitchen and dining room, helped with art placement, and the colour to paint the fireplace. We sourced the kitchen handles from Archant and the chopping board, bowls and jugs are all ours.

The narrow double doors in the living room (above) were removed and an opening was made on the other side of the fireplace for easier access from the front door and kitchen through to the rest of the house. Large sliding doors were put in (below) to take advantage of the view and the light.

With new carpet and freshly painted walls, Rachael just asked us to help her choose a new sofa, coffee table, side table, and pendant light. We had this sofa custom made for her by one of our NZ furniture manufacturers. They’re made in New Zealand, and the quality and workmanship is superb, so it will last her a long, long time. To keep the cost down slightly, we chose a hardwearing but more cost-effective fabric in a gorgeous deep teal. The large coffee table is the perfect scale for the sofa, and the double layer is handy - you can pop baskets for storage on the bottom layer, or spare cushions. We also had new curtains made in a beautiful soft grey linen blend.

Rachael’s bedroom has these lovely character features, but we helped give it a mini makeover with a new wall colour, new curtains, and a new window seat squab.

The wall colour almost glows it’s so warm and gorgeous. It’s a dusty umber and ashen red toned neutral. OK, it’s pink, but it’s such a sophisticated colour that feels serene and restful in the master bedroom. The linen hydrangea cushions (below) we had custom made - all available to purchase from us.

Directly opposite the master bedroom is the tiny powder room. With no natural light this space would’ve looked flat if we painted it white, so we chose another soft, pretty colour.

The family bathroom was created from scratch in the old entrance area. A large space, we created wall-to-wall storage down one end to house the laundry as well as an extra cupboard for the mop, broom etc. I say “we created it”, but clearly Davcon did all the hard work…

And then Sydaz did a fantastic job creating all of the cabinetry. We chose the tiles from Tile Space, and used HardieGroove™ on the walls to add subtle texture.

The children’s bedrooms also only required mini makeovers. In Rachael’s son’s room it was choosing a colour that he would love, and also one that would grow with him into his teens. Also a cool new window squab so he could enjoy his epic view - lucky kid - and new bedding!

In Rachael’s daughter’s room we opted for a warm, happy colour scheme to add a bit of fun and interest. We kept the colour to the bottom half of the walls, and mixed it up with some different coloured bedding.

And here she is… Rachael was one of our most favourite clients and a joy to work with. We were so impressed with the way she managed a massive renovation with two young children, whilst holding down a very important, full-time job. No matter how smoothly everything goes, renovations are often still stressful, just because of the disruption they cause to your life. But this one was well worth it! The other reason we love Rachael is that she listened to us, trusted us, and followed through with everything we suggested. This is always the best outcome, so thanks Rach, and thank you for allowing us to share your beautiful home. x