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purple heart

From Habitat magazine - issue 20

The colour doesn’t get any less bold beyond the red front door of this purple bungalow.

There’s no need for a street number when you head to Fiona Sheffield’s fringe-city home. As you round the corner, her purple house certainly stands out. Almost theatrical in its quirkiness, the 1914 transitional bungalow makes a bold statement peeping over a striking blue and purple fence and red gate.

Purple home exterior
Home exterior and garden
Fiona: Fiona with Ramsey.  Exterior: The house’s striking scheme has Resene Troubadour weatherboards, Resene Deep Koamaru baseboard, and trims in Resene Vista White and Resene Jalapeno.

“Yes, it tends to polarise people,” says Fiona. “Children love it. They think it’s a play centre. But I’ve had complaints in the letterbox, too.” And one little old lady thought it was a brothel, laughs Fiona.

Fiona has never been afraid of bold colour, something she attributes to having grown up with slightly eccentric parents who regularly took her travelling the length and breadth of the North Island collecting unusual Art Nouveau glass and furniture. “We always had fairly colourful homes,” Fiona explains. “I guess I followed in their footsteps.” Fiona felt the strong luminous hues of her house wouldn’t feel out of place in the colourful, ethnically diverse neighbourhood. After sitting down with her mum and cutting out her favourite colours from Resene paint charts she sought help from Wellington colour consultant Jacqui Tutt, who had helped Fiona’s parents with previous colour choices.

Light blue lounge
Corner chair
Lounge: The cheerful sunburst-patterned door was bought on TradeMe and finished in Resene Jalapeno. The walls are Resene Havelock Blue. Corner chair: A corner of the main living room where quirky collections are set off by walls in Resene Havelock Blue.

Jacqui used Fiona’s chosen colours and put them together to create a balance that highlights the home’s character details. They started with the fence – essential to contain Fiona’s two miniature schnauzer puppies. A combination of Resene Deep Koamaru (blue-violet) for the main boards of the fence was trimmed with Resene Troubadour (purple) and the gate picked out in Resene Jalapeno (red). On the house, they reversed the colours – Resene Troubadour for the weatherboards with gables and baseboards in Resene Deep Koamaru. The trims are in Resene Vista White and a touch of Resene Jalapeno on the window sashes.

Lime green hallway
Dark blue bathroom
Art Nouveau desk
Hallway: The Resene Limerick of the hallway is one of Fiona’s “wake-up colours”.  Bathroom: You can’t complain that there are no mirrors in this bathroom. The walls are in Resene Midnight Express.  Desk: A stunning Art Nouveau desk from Fiona’s parents is the centrepiece of her study. The walls are in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Oxygen.

But the colour continues through the front door where Fiona’s wacky, vibrant private world comes alive. Against a dazzling array of coloured walls, Fiona showcases a treasure trove of Art Deco, Art Nouveau and retro furniture, memorabilia and collectables.

Blue living room
The sitting area beside the kitchen is in the deeper blue of Resene Endeavour.

Fiona inherited many of her parents’ things when they moved to a retirement home. She has found a place for them all, and added her own treasures – whimsical mirrors, ducks, insects, Chinese and Japanese sculptures, prints, kimonos, fabrics and teddy bears. With such a vast collection, many people would have chosen a safe white backdrop. Fiona did the reverse. Her more adventurous approach gives each room a unique personality in a boldly different hue.

Blue lounge

“Your house is your lifestyle,” Fiona explains. “You’ve got to feel comfortable coming home to it. When it’s grey and dark outside, it’s always beautiful and warm inside my home. Everything just pops! And the best thing with paint is, you can’t make a mistake. You can always change your mind.”

The lime green Resene Limerick hallway came first. “Every other colour works around that,” explains Fiona. “The green bounces the light. I get up in the morning and wake up without need for any stimulants. I call them my wake-up colours.”

Blue and yellow kitchen

The main living room is sky blue Resene Havelock Blue, the sitting area next to the kitchen is a combination of bold clear blue Resene Endeavour and bright yellow Resene Broom.

The only quieter colours in the house are the elegant inky blue Resene Midnight Express in the bathroom (a great background colour for Fiona’s mirror collection) and the pale grey-blue Resene Oxygen in the study.

Even the garden resounds with colourful hues with a back fence in fluoro orange. There was no rhyme or reason, says Fiona. “Sometimes I simply choose a colour because I like the name. And Resene Daredevil was definitely one that appealed.”

Matching colour with character...

Top tip: Go for broke with strong colour in transitional areas like hallways where you don’t linger.

Did you know... that Resene tinters are highly concentrated automotive-grade tinters that are also VOC free? The tinters are very durable and are exclusive to Resene.

Alternative solution – bohemian luxe

texture, watery tones and floaty curtains – relax!

Resene colour consultant Caro Wyeth suggests this alternative scheme:

This room has an infusion of natural textures, fibres and colours, layered to create a bohemian luxe feel. The scheme evolved from the colours in the fabric on the cane chairs. Resene Half Emerge is a soft watery blue, which gives a sense of calm; having it on the ceiling draws your eye up and highlights the panelled detail. Resene Albescent White is a soft neutral that adds subtle warmth. The addition of Resene Alabaster on the trims and fireplace brings a level of crispness and helps define the details. I like the mix of aged metals, worn timber and the soft linen of the couch. The artwork and light fixture on the mantel act as talking points, while the sheer Meander drapes from the Resene Curtain Collection catch the breeze and create soft movement. They also diffuse the light to add softness to the room. I wanted the space to be inviting, and not too formal.

Alternative solution 1

Soft breezy colours like Resene Half Emerge and Resene Albescent White create a calming scheme and epitomise a current trend for coloured ceilings. Products used include a Corso de Fiori coffee table, cane chairs and sideboard from Interior Design Online, cushions from MintSix, mirror from Citta Design, an Ampersand light from Fromage Larue, The Swan art by Evie Kemp and word art from Suprette.

Did you know... that you can get curtains and cushions designed to work with your paint colour, from the Resene Curtain Collection? View the range at Resene ColorShops, selected curtain specialists or (NZ only).

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Accessories: Linear sofa, from Corso De Fiori. Mandy Emerson artwork, from Mandy Emerson. Gold Moroccan pouf, from LET LIV. Kasbah pendant, from ECC Lighting + Furniture. Carnival fabric in green by Christopher Farr, from Diva International.

Alternative solution – element of surprise

a quirky twist creates a modern scheme

Judith Brigg of Colour Consultants Australia suggests this alternative scheme:

The fabulous artwork was the inspiration for this room’s colour scheme. By placing the painting on the Resene White wall, it creates a striking focal point for the space giving the room a modern, arty and dramatic atmosphere. The deep rich wall colour, Resene Chocolate Fish, is warm and enveloping, making the room a cocoon from the outside world. Combining it with the crisp Resene White timber trims creates drama through contrast. The scheme is a modern take for a traditional home, and with its clean lines it creates an uncluttered, spacious feeling with the element of surprise. The unexpected sunny and zesty contrasting ceiling in Resene Holiday works well with the dark floorboards stained in Resene Colorwood tinted to Resene Mahogany. The accessories are quirky and just a bit cheeky.

Alternative solution 2

A cocoon of rich colour is created with Resene Chocolate Fish walls, contrasting with Resene White trims and feature fireplace wall, and the surprise element of a Resene Holiday ceiling. The floor is in Resene Mahogany from the Resene Colorwood stains range, while other products used include an ‘Above the Sky’ original oil painting and cushions from BoConcept.

Did you know... that both the Resene and habitatwebsites are full of decorating information, tips and ideas? Be inspired, see the latest colour trends, and get access to technical advice at and

phone 0061 403 800 888   web

Accessories: Oly San Francisco Jackson Buffet, from Coco Republic. Elements 002 side table, from ECC Lighting + Furniture. Vase 7110, Fargo Sofa and Footstool in light grey felt, from BoConcept. Bannister rug in Avocado, from Designer Rugs.

pictures: Mark Heaslip
words: Vicki Holder
illustration: Malcolm White

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