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beyond normal

From Habitat magazine - issue 23

Strong colour and unusual features take this seemingly simple home beyond the usual.

There's a hint that this seemingly simple home is a bit different... right at the road side. The eyecatching fence has laser-cut palings in the shape of surfboards, or is it waka paddles, or maybe fish? Designed by Nat Curnow, it was made by homeowners Brandon and Anna Barclay. "We blew up the first jigsaw within three hours," laughs Brandon.

Herringbone patterned bedroom wall
Green kitchen and dining room
Bedroom: Anna was nervous of Brandon's suggestion to use Resene Elephant in their bedroom but now loves it. She added the herringbone patterned wall to transition from the dark wall to a light Resene Half Ecru White one at the back. The ceiling is Resene Alabaster.  Dining/Kitchen: Resene Kombi is a warm green backdrop to the kitchen. The other walls are Resene Half Ecru White.

The couple haven't let time or budget stand in the way of creating a magical jewel-like home for themselves and twins Charlie and Ari. It's filled with found treasures, upcycled pieces, bold colour and thought-out features that lift this home beyond the ordinary.

Aside from the fence, there's a rich yellow entrance hall (in Resene Galliano), a deck shaped like airplane wings, an intriguing kitchen bench made out of timber slivers, and a cavity slider that reveals its edgy teal self when you pull it out. For this creative couple (she is Sparrow & Co jewellery; he has an antiques background), choosing a more unique approach comes naturally. As Anna says: "Once someone shows you something that's different, it's hard to go back to normal."

Blue living room
Resene Elephant is a deep green-edged blue, used as a feature wall in the living room, and joined by a cavity sliding door in Resene Marathon. Other walls are in Resene Half Ecru White. The dining chairs were reupholstered in multi-colours by Anna.

In a small beach-side town south of Whangarei, Brandon and Anna have done much of the work on the house themselves. They trawled through online listings for fittings and supplies, pored over Resene colour charts, worked alongside the tradepeople, and did all the painting themselves.

Buying second-hand products and furniture online has been time-consuming, but the couple reason that it's better to spend money on quality second-hand gear than pieces that are new but of lower quality.

Yellow hallway
Beach themed bedroom
Entry: A bright yellow hall in Resene Galliano is a hint of the colour to come.  Bedroom: Eight-year-old Ari wanted black walls in his room but compromised on Resene Pure Pewter from the Resene Metallics and Special Effects range. The ceiling is Resene Alabaster.

They were keen on a colourful house from the start, and one with a retro mid-century vibe. Having come from a previous house painted entirely in Resene Black White, "we found it hard choosing colours, especially when the walls are all sealer-white and you first put colour on them." The one colour that did come easily was Resene Kombi. It's a lovely warm green that works well with the black and timber cabinets in the kitchen.

While the deep blue of Resene Elephant was a natural for the feature wall in the living room, partly because it 'disguises' the black wood burner in front, when Brandon suggested it for the master bedroom, Anna wasn't so sure. She now loves it.

Barclay family
Blue bedroom
Family: Anna with twins Charlie and Ari.  Bedroom: Get the look with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Elephant, a great retro shade with an elegant twist.

To balance the various bold colours, other walls in the Barclay home are in Resene Half Ecru White with the non-plywood ceilings in Resene Alabaster.

Anna put together mood boards for the house, an exercise she found extremely helpful. A photograph of a striped drinking straw became the key element of the mood board for daughter Charlie's room, interpreted in Resene Tutti Frutti and Resene Half Ecru White horizontal stripes. Even the chickens get a multicoloured home, finished in leftover paint.

Striped girl's room
White hallway
Inspired by a milkshake straw, Anna painted stripes onto daughter Charlie's walls using Resene Half Ecru White, and Resene Tutti Frutti from the Resene KidzColour range.

Keen on embracing some eco principles, the house is built in an L-shape facing north-west for good sun access, and the polished concrete floors act as a heat sink. The childrens' bedrooms have double doors to welcome the sun from the north-facing gallery hall.

On the couple's current to-do list is to finish the garage they bought and relocated for $300. It's to serve primarily as a design studio for Anna. They want to erect a shade system for the deck (and you can be sure it won't be normal), and finish the landscaping. Budding golfer Ari already has a customised putting green in a corner of the back garden! It's another touch of bright colour in this colourful family home.

Top tip: Use Resene Concrete Wax, a natural looking and easy to apply clear finish, to keep concrete floors and other surfaces looking good.

Accessories: Builder: Shayne Stuart. Lights: Lighting Plus from the Candice range, matched to Resene colours.

Alternative solution – jewel tones

mid-century meets classic elegance

Amanda Neill of Designworx suggests this scheme:

Before redesign

This room design combines a mid-century flavour with classic elegance. It plays on the moody tone of Resene Timekeeper to create depth and ambience, and contrasts that with Resene Double White Pointer for the other walls to keep lightness in the space. The ceiling is painted Resene Half White Pointer to lift it and make the room feel larger.

The feature chairs combine jewel-like tones of blues, greens and limey yellows while the silver and black accents keep the scheme grounded. A black cowhide rug sits on Resene Colorwood Whitewash floorboards and helps to anchor a cohesive seating area around the fireplace. A variety of accessories echo these colours, while the metallic touches add glamour and interest.

Alternative solution 1
A feature wall in complex Resene Timekeeper anchors a scheme with Resene Double White Pointer walls and Resene Half White Pointer ceilings. The floor is finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Other products featured include an Eastside fireplace from Living Flame and various accessories from Designworx.

Did you know... that Resene Colorwood Whitewash gives a rich whitewash effect but if you are after a lighter look, use Resene Colorwood Rock Salt for a blonded effect? Or check out the Resene Colorwood stains chart for an array of rich colours for your interior timber projects.

phone 09 445 1098   web

Accessories: Ankita Side Table with Glass Birds, Jade Glass Vase, Rockefeller chairs, from Designworx. Wood2 3D Muretto tiles, from Tile Warehouse. Jefferson Settee, from Kovacs. In Capitol fabric from the Empire collection, from Warwick Fabrics.

Alternative solution – softly does it

chunky country chic is given a feminine twist

Jess White and Lizzi Hines of Room by Room suggest this alternative scheme:

Before redesign

Our design is a polished version of country chic – a fusion of natural timbers, and contemporary colours and finishes. This style allows the owner to cost-effectively change out smaller pieces to refresh the space. It's Gone with the Wind meets 50 Shades of Grey, merging a subtle feminine colour scheme with strong masculine aspects. The wall panels (in Resene Ecru White and outlined in Resene Grey Friars) and barn door become unexpected features. The dusky Resene Soulmate contrasts perfectly with the Resene Grey Friars. There is a bias towards using locally produced furniture and a blend of textures – from the fine weave of the sofa, to the chunky patterns of the rug and bold black and white stripes of the coffee table, all pulled together with a Resene Colorwood Whitewash plywood ceiling.

Alternative solution 2
Wall panels in green-tinged Resene Ecru White are outlined by charcoal Resene Grey Friars trims and soothing Resene Soulmate walls. The plywood ceiling is finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Other products featured include a Taj coffee table and art works from Indie Home Collective, Rex sofa from St Clements and Isaac brass chandelier from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

Top tip: If you have a number of different surfaces to paint or finish, you may need technical help. Talk to the staff at your Resene ColorShop or go to


Accessories: Austin Entertainment Unit, from Tim Webber Design. Double Abrams Sconce, from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. Pampa Horse Series art works by Victoria Aquirre, Retro Round Chair, from Indie Home Collective. Organic Lines Design 2 Rug, from Nodi Rugs.

words: Sharon Newey
pictures: Marc Herbulot
illustration: Malcolm White

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