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off the wall

From Habitat magazine - issue 22

An adventurous combination of bold colour and grunty textures transforms this Central Otago home.

Jan Warburton
Jan Warburton*

The familiar sight of schist and cedar wraps the Wanaka home of art patron Jan Warburton. But don't be fooled by the neutral exterior – the attention to detail applied to these two materials alone hints at the surprises that await inside.

Jan's keen eye for detail and love of bold colour have transformed this 1990 spec home, which was originally owned by her parents. When she decided to alter the house in 2012, her vision of creating a haven for herself and her adult daughters meant that the project became a complete rebuild on the existing footprint.

The end result is a home that reflects Jan's style: "I love it here. The old house just wasn't me, whereas this is truly my house," she says.

Colourful kitchen
Jan’s striking kitchen uses Resene Ironsand as the main cabinetry colour with accents in Resene Bullseye (red) and Resene Spotlight (yellow). The board and batten ceiling is stained in Resene Colorwood Dark Oak.

The house is all about texture... and unexpected use of colour. Where a bold red, yellow and grey kitchen is joined by a bright pink bathroom, a grass green bedroom and dark stained ceilings are patterned with irregularly placed battens.

When it came to deciding on the interior palette, colour-loving Jan drew inspiration from an unlikely source – a neutral woollen floor rug she'd bought in Morocco which sits in the living room. "The living area is actually quite neutral, but I wanted my living area colour scheme to be built around the rug," Jan explains. "I decided I wanted a colourful splashback in the kitchen that went with the rug."

Colourful kitchen and dining room
Colours from the kitchen are echoed in the dining area with its cheerful red bench seat and yellow chairs. The walls are Resene Quarter Craigieburn.

Jan chose a striking Resene Spotlight, Resene Bullseye and Resene Ironsand striped splashback. Resene Ironsand joinery in the kitchen is accented with Resene Spotlight and Resene Bullseye highlights in the recess pulls of the drawers and toekick, and the theme continues to the dining area. A red leather bench seat and yellow Vitra seats make for vibrant seating around the dining table, while a light feature – clusters of light bulbs on a bar, representing sparrows on a wire – hangs above the table.

The red bench seat also houses the living area's television. Controlled by home automation, the TV slides away discreetly into the arm of the couch when not in use.

Modern living room
Jan chose Resene Craigieburn for the living room walls as a quiet counterpoint to her many pieces of art.  Ceiling: Get the ceiling look with Resene Colorwood tinted to Resene Dark Oak.

Walls in the living and dining areas are purposely kept neutral – painted in Resene Craigieburn and Resene Quarter Craigieburn – to draw attention to Jan's vast and varied art collection. The interior has an embracing effect thanks to the unusual dark battened ceilings stained in Resene Colorwood Dark Oak, and the timber floor.

Extensive use of natural lighting, plus indoor-outdoor flow, allows the living area to feel spacious.

Bold kitchen colour scheme
Concrete Staircase
Staircase: Resene Ironsand is a moody complement to the schist wall and polished concrete floor, and used on the opposite wall, and on the balustrade.

Architect Sarah Ritchie recalls: "The dark ceilings confronted some people on site [during construction] but it was fascinating to hear one person come in and say they felt like it had fallen in on them while the next person commented it was like being under a night sky, so totally expansive."

"I think with the dark floor finishes, including the dark bamboo flooring, it feels incredibly luxurious and holds the brighter, bold colours beautifully."

Bright pink bathroom
Jan’s fashion designer daughter Clare suggested the hot pink Resene Lipstick walls in the ensuite to go with the red rubber basin.

Jan says the master bedroom area was the hardest colour scheme to choose, but drew inspiration from a red rubber basin that she'd bought for her ensuite bathroom.

I said to my daughter Clare, who is a fashion designer, "Whatever colour am I going to use with this? and she immediately said lipstick pink. So we have Resene Lipstick on the walls of the ensuite."

Bright green bedroom
The bunk room is finished in fresh green Resene Sushi, with a Resene Ironsand ceiling.

With the ensuite sorted, Jan chose Resene Erotic for her bedroom walls and Resene Spitfire for the bedroom feature wall, which continues on to the ceiling. "It's really unusual but I'm very pleased with it. It works,' she says.

The two guest bedrooms are based on the favourite colours of Jan's other daughters, Fiona and Andrea. Resene Gold Drop is in one room, which has views out to the outside living area, while the nearby bunkroom is painted in Resene Sushi. The bedroom ceilings are boldly painted in Resene SpaceCote Flat in Resene Ironsand.

Orange bedroom
Get the look with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Gold Drop, a bold colour for a bedroom.

The front entrance hall is a bold statement of colours and textures. Polished concrete stairs lead either down to a wine cellar, bookcase and wood store or up to the main living area. Divided by a steel balustrade in Resene Ironsand, custom-made to reflect the board and batten look, one wall is painted in Resene Ironsand while the other is made of schist stone.

The only room in the house painted white is the main toilet, which divides the two guest rooms. But it's no ordinary toilet – a sensor turns a striking red light feature on and the inside of the door has a full-length feature of vertical stripes, featuring every colour in the house.

Colourful striped bathroom
Get the bathroom look with a splashback in Resene Spotlight, Resene Bullseye, Resene Ironsand, Resene White, Resene Gold Drop, Resene Sushi, Resene Lipstick and Resene Blue Lagoon.

The main bathroom is another vibrant room, featuring a horizontal-striped splashback using hues of Resene Spotlight, Resene Bullseye and Resene Ironsand, Resene White, Resene Gold Drop, Resene Sushi, Resene Lipstick and Resene Blue Lagoon, designed by Jan's daughter Fiona.

Jan is thrilled with the end result. "It's very easy to live in and it's a place that makes me happy" she says. "Colour is my life. It's something that stimulates me and brings much joy."

*Jan has created a home of texture and unexpected colour for herself, her grown daughters and dog Jackson.

Alternative solution – mix and match

an eclectic mix creates a fun quirky scheme

Resene colour consultant Nikki Morris suggests this alternative scheme:

This colour scheme comes together to create a fun and quirky, fresh yet cosy living room that has a playful and eclectic edge. The ever-popular Resene Quarter Alabaster is used on the walls and ceiling to emphasise the soft but beautiful statement wall in Resene Triple Rakaia. Colourful accents within the space such as the couch, cushions and vases all mirror tones in the artwork and help complete the overall look. Timber floors stained with Resene Colorwood Rock Salt lead us visually from indoors to outdoors and the soft Resene Curtain Collection Pause voiles in colour Pewter frame and enhance this spectacular view.

Alternative solution 1

This fresh yet cosy room uses Resene Triple Rakaia as a feature wall, with other walls and the ceiling in Resene Quarter Alabaster. Resene Curtain Collection Pause voiles in colour Pewter are on the windows, and the floor is finished in Resene Colorwood Rock Salt. Other products used include a Galileo floor lamp and shade from Lighting Plus, a Skull artwork from Collected, a Carson coffee table from Farmers, a Pelludo rug and a Kolmio cushion from Nood.

Top tip: If you’re stuck on colour ideas, make use of the Resene colour expert service. You can have an in-store consultancy, an at-home visit, or ask for colour advice for free at

mobile 09 529 4760   email

Accessories: Designers Guild Gibson Chair, from Allium Interiors. Compac Melody Shelf, Tilly@home French Bulldog Ornament, from Farmers. Madras Link Ginger Yellow Cushion, from The Design Store. Yellow Textural Vase, from Typo.

Alternative solution – watching the sunset

soft pink and copper evoke memories of sunsets

Annabel Berry of Design Federation suggests this scheme:

This scheme was inspired by the home’s Wanaka location which, to me, evokes memories of sunsets over the lake. A feature wall in Resene Pink Terrace brings a sense of warmth into the space and is combined with Resene Ditto on the other walls as well as grey, white and metallic accents.

Alternative solution 2

The timber ceiling is lightened with Resene Colorwood Whitewash to open up the space and give the room a greater sense of height. Floorboards have been stained with Resene Colorwood Silvered Grey and softened with a rug. A contemporary day bed is positioned besides the window to provide a place of relaxation. Accessories and artwork have been chosen to reflect the natural surroundings and complement the scheme through the use of copper, timber and colourful, textured soft furnishings.

Walls in Resene Pink Terrace and Resene Ditto combine with Resene Quarter Alabaster trims for a serene look. A Resene Colorwood Whitewash ceiling is a softer tone of the Resene Colorwood Silvered Grey stained floors below. Also featured is an Indivi Corner Sofa from Bo Concept, an Ash Wood Peacock chair from Housekeepers Design, a Brass Coffee Table from Douglas and Bec, Tom Dixon Copper Shade lights from ECC Lighting, a Lightly Hanging Copper Planter and Bonnie and Neil cushions from Collected, a Moroccan gold pouf from Let Liv and decorative arrows from Onelee NZ.

Top tip: Use Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen on walls in busy areas of your home; it’s easier to wipe down to remove any marks than standard acrylic paint.

phone 03 434 5749   email

Accessories: Guarida Table Lamp, from Citta Design. Makus artworks, from Endemic World. Gold Starburst canister, from SE3. White wooden Top Stool (used as a side table), from Me And My Trend. Day Bed, from Douglas and Bec.

words: Celia Crosbie
pictures: Marina Mathews
illustration: Malcolm White

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