Friday 29 January 2016

Favourite Finds

Boy, it's been a while since I've done a "favourite finds" blog post, but I've been really busy pinning, posting, saving, coveting, discovering, watching and learning, so there's lots to show you. Friday seems like the perfect day to share some of these things with you, and you may even decide to try or check them out for yourself over the weekend.

I recently pinned this gorgeous kitchen and shared it on Facebook. The beautiful Morris & Co wallpaper was originally designed in 1876, but still looks amazing in this modern day space. I love it teamed with the crisp white tiles - green and white is a favourite kitchen colour combo of mine, it's so fresh. The wood and copper accents help to bring out the blush of the flowers. Old and new, it's the way to go.

In my job I use a camera a lot to take 'before' and 'after' photos of our clients' spaces, as well as pics for our Instagram feed. We have a large SLR camera that we use for work purposes, but more often than not it's just my iPhone that gets used for everyday snaps. I recently came across the Olympus Pen E-PL7, and it's now high on my wish list.

As well as looking super cute, it's small and compact enough to carry in my handbag, while serious enough to take some great photos. The LCD screen flips down, and can be turned around around making it the perfect selfie accessory (not that I'm a selfie kinda gal).

Definitely my favourite new app is PocketYoga. For just over NZ$5 you can download the app to your phone and/or tablet and be ready to practice your yoga anytime, anywhere. I absolutely love it! You can choose between different practices, different durations and different difficulty levels. Wherever you are, home or away, just roll out your yoga mat, make your selections and you're ready to go. With soothing background music, let a calm voice talk you through the practice. Once downloaded you don't need wifi to use the app, so it's great to take on holiday with you.

I came across these wise words earlier this week and I knew I had to share them with you. So true, and such good advice. Make sure you follow this link and read them all.

Every year on my birthday, I always ask for the same thing - no fighting from my kids, and pizza and bubbles for dinner (I'm easy to please). This Friday Night Pizza is the best, and since it's Friday you should make it tonight - everyone will love you for it. If you live in Napier, pop into Vetro for your prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, and other cheeses. They also sell the delicious Pizza Pazzi bases. Or if you can't be bothered cooking, just buy the whole thing from Pizza Pazzi.

If I'm not drinking bubbles with my pizza (sometimes I'm the responsible driver) I'll be drinking my new favourite, Höpt Soda. My friend Mandy introduced me to it, and it's so delicious. I like to pour mine into a wine glass or one of our crystal tumblers, and have even tried it with a splash of gin (when I'm not the driver, of course) - yum! There are four delicious flavours. I have now tried them all and my favourite is Pear & Basil.

I'm currently saving for a pair of Juliette Hogan Japanese Denim Ankle Jeans. I'm a huge JH fan, and these jeans are the perfect length, just above the ankle. They look fab with heels, ankle boots, sneakers, and even my fave pair of Havianas. Can't wait to get them in my wardrobe.

Last on my list to share with you today are my two latest TV obsessions. I had heard a lot of hype about the series Breaking Bad, so over the holidays I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I'm now midway into season 3 and am well and truly hooked. Sometimes I cringe, but you just have to keep watching to see what happens. 

And new to TV One and OnDemand is the series Blindspot. We've only seen one episode so far, but already I love it, and am intrigued to see the mysteries unravel each week. Check it out this weekend, and let me know your thoughts on it (and any of my favourite finds).

Monday 25 January 2016

Nina Dobrev's Home Tour

Definitely the coolest home I've come across on the net this year is the California bungalow belonging to Nina Dobrev. I have a hard time putting a label on my interior style, and I don't necessarily think that we should have to label everything. But if I did, "relaxed-boho-glam" would be an apt description, and I think Nina has the same aesthetic.

After following Mat Sanders (Consort Design and creative director for Domaine Home) on Instagram for some time, Nina knew and loved his style. He, along with partner Brandon Quattrone, worked with Nina to help transform the Spanish-style, four bedroom house into the glamorous, laid back home you see here.

Mat used the strong contrast of black and white throughout the home and softened it with warm tones such as natural wood, brass and gold.

Artwork, books and accessories collected by Nina over the years help bring through her personality and tell a beautiful story about who lives here.

A powder blue kitchen is a bold choice, and it works so well with the brass fittings and black and white tiles. They've even included an all-time favourite of mine - the breakfast nook - yay! The tiled herringbone floor is gorgeous.

Nina has just enough layers to create a warm, comfy and interesting home without being OTT. Beautiful natural materials and texture for the relaxed, cosy vibe, and a touch of glam in the artwork and accessories.

Usually a peach bathroom is not so favourable with me (I've seen too many bad ones left over from the eighties), but teamed with chic panelling and simple black and white styling, Nina's is super cute.

Finish the tour off with a gorgeous blue walled pool area complete with festoon lights and a Buddha head - yes, I totally love Nina Dobrev's new digs! Check out more at MyDomaine.

Photos by Chris Patey

Friday 22 January 2016

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 -

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Stormy Seas

I spent many hours and days of my childhood playing in the surf at Wainui Beach. As I grew older I became a little intimidated by the ocean and it's strength, but I've never stopped admiring it's beauty. I am drawn to the colours - the glittering turquoise of a calm sea, and the emerald greens and deep teals of a stormy sea.

It's this rich, dark, and moody palette that I'm really loving right now. I love the drama and the sophistication it brings to a room. I would recommend using these colours in a room with plenty of natural light, because you get the most beautiful effect as the light moves and changes in the room. If the room lacks natural light the colour may just appear a bit flat.

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Despite the fact that my school uniform was green and blue, I still love this combination in an outfit. Choose shades with some depth for maximum impact.

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If you're not sure about using these deeper colours on your wall, start by introducing them in smaller doses. Whenever you're working with colour, whether it's in your home or your wardrobe, make sure it moves you (in a good way). What colours are you drawn to when you enter a shop? What pages stop you in your tracks in a magazine? These are the colours you should be surrounding yourself with.

Girl in Sea Print: Bibby + Brady | Deadly Ponies Handbag: Superette | Resin Bowl: Dinosaur Designs | Monmouth Tumbler: Mekka | Essie Nail Polish: Farmers | Ceramic Whale: Bibby + Brady | Burberry Prorsum Jacket: Sohelee Tahmina | Luxembourg Bar Trolley: Jardin | Blue Velvet Sofa: order via Bibby + Brady

Monday 18 January 2016

Messervy House For Sale

Matt and Kate Arnold discovered the Messervy House whilst on a walk down a quiet cul-de-sac in their hometown of Christchurch. After talking to it's owner, they learnt that it had been designed for her family in 1964 by architect Allan Mitchener, and she'd lived happily in it ever since. Matt and Kate kept in touch with Biddy Messervy, and when the time came for her to move out, they bought the house off her.

As only the second owners, Matt and Kate spent last year restoring Messervy House back to her former glory. They painted inside and out in the original colours, replaced the cork flooring and cracked windows, had new linen curtains made, re-wallpapered, and replaced the kitchen benchtop. Everything was carried out with the intention of maintaining the original design of the house, and using the original materials where possible.

Now that she's finished, Messervy House is on the market, and it's very important to Matt and Kate that her new owners are design enthusiasts who will fully appreciate her. Not only the highly imaginative design, but also the effort that has gone into her restoration. The house has a stream at the back with a footbridge connecting to Ilam fields and gardens, and it's a nice walk across the park to the University of Canterbury.

For more information about the house and how you can view and/or buy it, click here. I asked Matt a few questions about the restoration process, read on for his answers.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
Finding cork tiles. We hit a national shortage, nobody had them. Kate called almost every Bunnings in New Zealand and sniffed out anybody who had cork tiles stashed away. We scrounged together just enough by buying them in small packets from all over the country. We almost went down the route of parquet floors, but finally got the cork.

Tell me more about the wallpaper you used?
The house originally had wallpaper, which is slightly unusual for a modernist house, but it seemed to work. The old wallpaper was done for, it was torn, faded and stained, but finding a replacement was surprisingly difficult. Have you ever shopped for wallpaper? It's bewildering. We finally settled on a seagrass, but at the last minute we spotted the green arches designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune (architects we really admire) and we were away.

Do you have any advice to help people find the right architect or draftsman for their project?
Go straight to Michael O'Sullivan.

You've done such a fantastic job with this home, will you be taking on another restoration or renovation in the future?
I think we will. There are lots of these wonderful little houses in and around Christchurch designed in the 50s and 60s that are perhaps a little bit under-appreciated. And when they're made of concrete, like this one, they don't rot or leak, and all you need is some white paint and enthusiasm. I think with these types of places, the less you do the better, really.

photography: Sam Hartnett

I wish you luck Matt and Kate, and to all my readers... if you are interested in buying this beautiful home, or know someone who might be, get cracking! I have a feeling it may be snapped up quickly.
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