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From Habitat magazine - issue 23

A major renovation on top of a relocation kept this family on its toes.

Moving countries is enough of a disruption for a family with school-age kids, but when Gareth and Jolie Hodson's wish-list for a new home prioritised location before the condition of the house... they also ended up with a major renovation project on their hands.

An outdoor fireplace protected by a louvred roof
The outdoor fireplace is painted in Resene Eighth Tapa and protected with a louvred roof. The weatherboards are Resene Half Tapa and the trims in Resene Quarter Sea Fog.

As the family of four planned their move back to New Zealand from Australia, they went house-hunting on Auckland's North Shore where friends and family lived. They managed to find and buy a house before their relocation date. It had a big sunny section and was close to the beach, shops and schools. As a bonus, and fairly rare for the area, it was a character-filled transitional villa – but one that hadn't been updated for decades.

A pale blue/teal bedroom
A pale grey bedroom
Blue room: Emma's Resene Escape walls attract a lot of comment. She was determined to have blue for her bedroom. The whimsical bird light fitting was bought back by mum Jolie as hand luggage from Australia.  Grey room: Sam's very on-trend colour choice of French grey for his bedroom is interpreted in Resene Quarter Stack.

The couple was well-prepared for the renovation process, having rebuilt a home in Sydney just 18 months before. The epitome of efficiency, they had the architect's plans in hand and builder lined up within a few short months of landing on home soil.

A light and airy living room
The light and airy main living room is a much-used space, and finished in Resene Sea Fog on walls with a Resene Half Sea Fog ceiling and Resene Quarter Sea Fog trims. The couple had to double-check that the over-sized sofa brought with them from Sydney would fit in the room.

Says Jolie: "We had a clear idea of what we wanted, especially in regard to the main living area at the back of the house. We had a similar space in Sydney with an open-plan area opening to the outdoors, and it worked extremely well. Our architect Greg Jones [of Jones Architects] had also just completed a similar house in Grey Lynn so we were able to easily visualise how this one might be."

A home exterior in Resene Half Tapa
The couple's interior designer door-knocked to find out the name of an exterior colour that had caught their eye – Resene Half Tapa for the weatherboards, teamed with Resene Quarter Sea Fog trims. Get the exterior look with Resene Lumbersider.

When it came to colour, the couple wanted a reasonably neutral palette but not to use the same colour throughout the house. They let children Sam (11) and Emma (10) choose their own colours – Resene Escape for her, and Resene Quarter Stack for him. Says Gareth: "Emma's room gets a lot of comments from her friends. It's a great colour, and it will last her as she gets older, too."

A warm and inviting second living room
Warm and inviting Resene Sandspit Brown is used for the walls in the second living room.

While the large open-plan living room is kept light and airy with Resene Sea Fog, a more traditional second living room has been given a cosy feel with Resene Sandspit Brown. All of the ceilings are in Resene Half Sea Fog with trims in Resene Quarter Sea Fog.

A marble splashback feature in the kitchen
The marble splashback is a centre-piece of the Resene Quarter Sea Fog kitchen. Jolie was determined to have the extra-wide (1500mm) Smeg cooker.

Says Jolie: "We're very happy with all of the colours. They work well along with feature pieces like the marble splashback in the kitchen, and the David Trubridge lights, which were an early choice."

Stunning views to the garden
Emma and Sam playing in the garden.

The colours were chosen with help from Lorraine O'Rourke from Trinity Design. She even went doorknocking when she spotted an exterior colour the couple liked. It turned out to be Resene Half Tapa, which is now used on the Hodson's weatherboards, joined by a garage door in Resene Fuscous Grey and trims in Resene Quarter Sea Fog.

In turn, strangers now knock on the Hodson's door asking about the colour and in a humorous twist, one of those was a Resene staff member.

Hallway colour working well with feature pieces
Exterior weatherboards in Resene Half Tapa
Hallway: Gareth and Jolie feel that the colours, including the Resene Sea Fog walls, work well with feature pieces like the David Trubridge lights.  Entry: Get the exterior look with Resene Lumbersider tinted to Resene Half Tapa (weatherboards) and Resene Quarter Sea Fog (trims).

Lorraine was involved early in the project, helping to plan not only the colours but designing all of the built-in joinery, the kitchen and bathrooms, various accessories and fittings, and any new furniture needed. Jolie and Gareth were the perfect clients, making decisions quickly and not back-tracking on those. "You have to be fairly decisive on a project this size. If you start shifting things around, it can have major implications," says Jolie.

The family rented elsewhere while the renovation work was done and haven't long been back in. They are very happy with the result, and say they wouldn't change a thing.

Next on their do-to list is the garden. While larger landscaping items like the pool and a covered outdoor room are in place, the planting is yet to come. For now, the children and golden retriever Bailey are enjoying plenty of space to play.

Top tips:

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.

Using a scheme based on variants of the same colour, like Resene Sea Fog, gives a calm feel and a cohesive look.

Accessories: Builder: Craig Pym, United House. Architect: Greg Jones, Jones Architects Tiles: European Ceramics. Interior designer: Lorraine O'Rourke, Trinity Design,

Alternative solution – dare to go dark

cosy up to this dark and elegant room

Hayley-Ann Brown of Lou Brown Design suggests this alternative scheme:


Bedrooms are one of my favourite spaces to design; being able to create drool-worthy sanctuaries. Here I've created a cosy and elegant space characterised by dark moody tones, layers of texture and pops of warm earthy browns.

The wall behind the bed has been roughly plastered to add texture and then painted with Resene Regatta in a flat finish for a sense of depth. The opposite wall, also in Resene Regatta, has a standard smooth finish; it draws you into the space and sets the tone. Other walls are Resene Fuscous Grey, a lovely warm grey. The lighter Resene Ecru White shutters add balance to the otherwise dark room, and picking out the villa trims in this colour is a nod to the home's history. Finishing touches include a chair to relax in, a super stylish art work and an oversized rug to anchor the bed.

The moral of the story? Dare to go dark and use lots of gorgeous textures!

Alternative look - dark and elegant
A rich scheme of Resene Regatta and Resene Fuscous Grey makes for a dramatic cocooning room. The trims are painted in Resene Quarter Ecru White and other products featured include a Recycled Elm Console and Iron Mesh Hanging Lamp from CC Interiors, an Industria Web Side Table from SM Interiors and an Eternity Bedspread Set from Baksana.

Top tip: Use colour on your ceiling for a fashion-forward look. In bedrooms, it's great for creating a warm, cocooning effect.

phone 021 814 329   web

Accessories: Wall Lamp with Pewter Finish, Recycled Pine Desk with Gunmetal Sides, from CC Interiors. Capri Rug, from Artisan Flooring. Chateau Side Table, from Trenzseater. Dancing with Dragons artwork by Jodi Anne Newnham, from Mid Century Swag.

Alternative solution – vintage fun

retro colours evoke an edgy vintage style

Sandra Carroll of Colour & Design Group suggests this alternative scheme:


Using the duvet cover in this scheme as my inspiration, I wanted to create a room with a hint of vintage style. The moodiness of the colours in the bedlinen is played up by using Resene Barometer for the walls, while bright colour pops of yellow, pink and teal are used as accents and to paint a custom-coloured second-hand dresser in Resene Bright Lights, Resene Smooch and Resene Dauntless. These colours also appear in other accents such as the chaise lounge fabric, cushions and stool.

The calming sea-foam grey of Resene Emerge is used for the shutters and trims, while Resene Quarter Cararra is a clear off-white that holds it all together on the ceiling. The whole scheme is anchored with a carpet with its colour also drawn from those in the duvet cover.

Alternative look - edgy vintage style
This playful scheme uses Resene Barometer on the walls, Resene Emerge on the window architraves and shutters, and a ceiling in Resene Quarter Cararra. An upcycled dresser is painted in Resene Bright Lights, Resene Smooch and Resene Dauntless. Other products include a Glass Cloche Pendant from Mr Ralph and an antique silver leaf mirror from European Antiques.

Top tip: Use Resene Enamacryl for painting furniture. It gives a tough, hardwearing surface and a lovely glossy finish that adds more character to bold colours such as these. Or for a chalk-style paint finish, use Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen or Resene SpaceCote Flat.

phone 027 485 4286   email

Accessories: Giraffe with Books Cushion, Aura Chevron Throw in Bright Yellow, from The Design Store. Domani Aurora Duvet, from Farmers. Y Stool used as a bedside table, from Tim Webber Design. Ninna Cushion, from Country Road.

words: Sharon Newey
pictures: Mark Heaslip
illustration: Malcolm White

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