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colour confident

From Habitat magazine - issue 12

A variety of rich colour transforms the walls of this grand masonry villa.

In an era when minimalism ruled, Phil and Jenny Weeks went against the trend, painting the rooms of their grand brick villa in vibrant colours, and decorating with their vast collection of art, accessories and furniture.

Master bedroom
Jenny's favourite room is the moody master bedroom, with walls in Resene Mondo. Get the master bedroom look with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Mondo.

They bought this property six years ago and aside from a new but modest family room at the back, didn’t have to touch the layout at all. The original rooms of the house, with their dramatic pressed tin ceilings, had been left as is by successive owners. Any alterations, such as developing the attic space into bedrooms, had been sympathetically executed. Amazingly, that layout perfectly suits modern-day living for the Weeks and their teenage sons Ben and Sam. The living areas interconnect beautifully, while the upper floor kids’ rooms share a landing study.

The house is 101 years old, built of brick but rendered with concrete and etched to look like large stone blocks. Many of the original features still exist, like the glowing stained glass front door, the ceilings which are all different, the kauri floors and deep architraves.

Villa white
Music themed room
Exterior: The old villa is an unusual masonry construction. Music theme: The front living room has a music theme and walls in Resene Double Raffia.

When Phil and Jenny bought the house, many of the rooms were wallpapered. The couple chose a range of Resene colours for the individual rooms, deciding what was right for the room and which best suited the furniture. There is a muddy gold in the music room (Resene Double Raffia), Resene Raspberry in the dining room, Resene Claret and Resene Tana in the guest bedroom and Resene Stonehenge as a feature wall in the family room. Ceilings and trims throughout are Resene Alabaster while Resene Quarter Ash has been used as a neutral for some rooms. They also added new window dressings in most of the rooms.

The one area that hasn’t seen a paint brush is the main living room, which has a beautiful antique French wallpaper Phil and Jenny couldn’t bear to cover. In what Jenny says is a ‘spooky’ coincidence, their sofas are exactly the same colour and a similar design. “A friend said it was a sign we were meant to own this house.”

Feature wall
Timber joinery kitchen
Feature wall: Resene Sanguine Brown is used as a feature wall at one end of the kitchen. Kitchen: The original timber cabinetry sits against the stripped brick walls for a true farmhouse look. Trims are in Resene Milk White from the Karen Walker range. Get the kitchen look with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Sanguine Brown from the Karen Walker range.

Also, for two years the bare kauri skirting boards and architraves in the hall remained as is, until they were painted Resene Alabaster. Says Jenny: “It made a big difference, really lightening the hall.”

The couple has also gutted the rear lean-to and added a family room which opens on to the pool-side terrace. This room is as minimal as it gets for the Weeks, with pale walls and clean-lined furniture – well, except for the striking black-and-white floral chairs.

Red dining room
Dining room: Resene Raspberry is the perfect appetite enhancer in the dining room. Bathroom: Even the bathrooms are rich with detailing and collections. Ensuite basins, from Michael Cesar.

While all three bathrooms were refurbished, the timber cabinetry in the kitchen was kept. At one end, the raw brick of the walls can be seen behind shelves of sparkling glassware. The timber handles were replaced with stainless steel cup handles for a quick update, and an impressive Rangemaster stove was added.

Jenny and Phil have a natural eye for styling and design, displaying their many objects and accessories into artful arrangements – old perfume bottles in the bedroom, art glass in the family room, and instruments in the music room. Phil is the collector, says Jenny. “I’ve told him no more.” She also attributes him as being the more adventurous one when it comes to colour.

Family room
Purple bedroom
Family room: An addition houses the family room, finished in Resene Quarter Ash. Jenny relaxes in the new family room. Internal shutters, from Averill Construction. Bedroom: Phil’s passion for Art Deco and Art Nouveau was unleashed on the guest bedroom. The feature wall is Resene Claret while the rest is Resene Tana.

Furniture and accessories have been bought from local antique stores but also from throughout the world, via e-bay and dealer websites. There is a sofa from Denmark, a chandelier from the United States and a range of antiques and silverware from France, Germany and Uruguay. Some of the furniture came with the house, like the grand sideboard and coal scuttles in the living room.

Phil has a particular passion for Art Deco and Art Nouveau, and has unleashed it on the guest bedroom, which has a birdseye maple bedhead, marble clock on the side table, retro radio and sunburst mirror above the bed. Jenny doesn’t share this particular taste. “It’s not allowed to spread,” she pronounces, before admitting that the refurbished ensuite has ended up looking rather Deco with its theme of circles and squares.

Her favourite room is the master bedroom, a large room with moody Resene Mondo walls, a fireplace and white-painted internal shutters on the bay window. “It’s a snuggly room.” In fact, the entire house has a warm, cloistering feel – “very much a winter house,” says Jenny.

In summer, however, there’s a swimming pool beside the family room, and plenty of shading trees. The once cottage-style garden has become less floral as the property’s trees have matured – a perfect foil for this grand house.

Did you know? Avoid fly spots on ceilings with Resene Fly Deterrent. Designed to discourage flies from landing on the painted surface, it reduces the appearance of unwanted fly spots.

Alternative solution

Fun fresh space with a modern colour

Aimee Sherriff of House of Aimee Design, suggests this alternative scheme:

Alternative solution 1

This is a beautiful space and I just love the architraves around the windows. I wanted to take this traditional, more ornate looking room and create a fun fresh space with a modern colour palette of teals, greens and blues – something a little lighter and summery. The repainted floor boards and rich colours in the rug add depth to the room. The headboard is a playful element and the addition of the Gum Drop pillows offers an inviting space to relax and enjoy in the afternoon sun. This is a scheme of fun and vivaciousness!

A romantic scheme with an old-fashioned twist uses painted floors of Resene Nile Blue, a feature wall in Resene Bermuda Grey with the remaining walls and trims in Resene Half Dutch White.

Contact: phone: 03 445 1892 mobile: 021 942 968 email:

Accessories: Roman blinds Fan Fare + Folly in colour Teal, from Warwick Fabrics. Amy Butler Coventry bed linen, Gum Drop Pillows, from House of Aimee Design. Kartell Ge pendant by Feruccio Laviani in yellow, Kartell Take lamp by Feruccio Laviani in green, from Backhouse Interiors. Briscoe Rug in aqua by Designers Guild, from Icon Textiles.

Alternative solution

Traditional and modern elements brought together

Jo Webb of Resene Australia suggests this alternative scheme:

Alternative solution 2

This space is one of strong contradiction. The traditional and modern elements are brought together, however, through the use of strongly contrasting colours – dark Resene Blackout and pale Resene Sea Fog. Adding splashes of burnt orange, matched to Resene Whizz Bang, brings warmth and vitality to the otherwise dramatically neutral canvas. Keeping the walls light helps create a feature of the Victorian-styled windows and skirtings, while painting them quite an unexpected colour helps highlight the traditional features of the room.

The floor is stained in Resene Black Pepper from the Resene Waterborne Colorwood range, the walls are Resene Sea Fog, the trims are Resene Blackout and the ceilings are Resene Alabaster. Accents are matched to Resene Whizz Bang.

Contact: phone: 0061 07 5512 6607 email:

Accessories: Cavalli bedside cabinet in wenge, Regis chandelier, from Freedom Furniture. Bamford bedinen in Snow, from Sheridan. RCU C ME O Floor Lamp, from Hermon & Hermon. Feng Bed, from Zanette. Gardenia Eden cushion, from Rapee.

Words: Sharon Newey
Pictures: Mark Heaslip
Illustration: Bruce Bryant

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