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anything goes

From Habitat magazine - issue 24

When it comes to colour, these adventurous homeowners don't hold back.

Colourful kitchen
*Colourful kitchen area

It's no surprise that a woman who colours her hair pink, purple or green isn't afraid of using an array of bold colours and out-there wallpapers in her own home. "Whatever goes!' declares Debbie Omond.

"I'm not afraid of colour!" Debbie and her husband Mark bought their 1927 California bungalow in 2003. "We thought we'd just buy it, whip it into shape and then sell it off," she says of their initial plans for the house. As it turned out, they never left.

The house was in a relatively rough state when the couple moved in. The couple made small changes over time, but as the Omond family grew with the arrival of three children, so did their demands for space. Last year Mark and Debbie made the decision to extend and renovate their home, committing to have the project completed in one hit. "We wanted to relax and enjoy the extra space with the kids while they were still young," says Mark.

Blue and black master bedroom
Debbie chose not to fight the fact that the main bedroom is on the darker south side of the house, going with a Resene Flock 3 (2554-26) wallpaper and Resene Midnight Express painted walls. The trims are Resene Alabaster.

Debbie also realised that she had the freedom to play with colour schemes that might otherwise have been considered a little risky for re-sale. Their colour journey began.

Colourful wallpaper - living room
In one exuberant expression of colour, Debbie chose a Paradise wallpaper (Petula Black 98363) from Resene ColorShops for the living room, along with Resene Alabaster walls.

Debbie wanted to preserve some elements of the original bungalow, while injecting the home with a more modern feel. The original front façade of the house was moved forward to create new space for an extra bedroom, two bathrooms and a laundry. At the back, sliding doors, large skylights and new windows envelop a large open-plan living area and kitchen, which open to the garden. Debbie describes this new area as a 'watch this space' zone. Using Resene Alabaster to 'white out' most of the area, she was able to create a bright fresh canvas for her love of colour in accessories and design.

Omond family
Modern bathroom
The family are, from left, Dylan, Caleb, Debbie, Amber and Mark. Get the look with Paradise wallpaper (Petula Black 98363) from Resene ColorShops.

Wanting to create a room that her son could grow into, Debbie sourced an off-beat wallpaper, which mimics a brick wall (Kids & Teens, 226713, from Resene ColorShops). She meticulously tore the paper's edge to create a gap-in-the-wall effect to merge with the painted surface beside it.

Eight year-old Dylan felt it was important that the shade of blue he chose for his room had a good name; Resene Captain Cook made the final cut.

Blue and white boy's room
Debbie carefully tore the edge of the Kids & Teens wallpaper (226713) to give a deconstructed look to Dylan's room. He chose the blue paint as much for its colour as the name: Resene Captain Cook. Get the look with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Captain Cook.

A second bedroom was decorated for the couple's two younger children, Amber and Caleb, to share. Debbie chose Resene Renew, describing the green as a gender-neutral but on-trend halfway point between the preferences of the two siblings. "I thought we'll go with batman-ey pops of bright yellow for Caleb and bright pink accessories for Amber." The children, however, had their own views and were soon lobbying for their own rooms.

Inspired by the traditions and colours of India, Debbie then converted a smaller playroom into a glowing hideaway for her daughter, using Resene Clementine Orange from the Karen Walker collection. "I looked at the other rooms and thought – what haven't I tried?" A hot pink canopy bed was found to contrast beautifully with the vibrant orange walls. For the main bedroom, she chose to embrace rather than compensate for the south-facing orientation with dark colours. Her aim was to set the tone to moody, romantic and luxurious.

Green boy's room
Orange and pink girl's room
Green room: Caleb's room is a cool, gender-neutral space painted in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Renew.  Orange room: Amber now has her own room, gloriously painted in Resene Clementine Orange, a colour choice inspired by the spicy shades of India.

Using features of the now demolished lounge as a reference point, she sourced a matching mould for the ceiling cornice, and had a new leadlight created from photographs of originals. A contemporary version of an original chandelier that hung in the lounge is set off by the dark lustre of the embossed Resene Flock 3 wallpaper (2554-26) and Resene Midnight Express painted walls.

"Each of my rooms are a little bit of a shock of colour – and they've all got their own story to tell," explains Debbie. The new and spacious hallway, also clad in Resene Alabaster, is hung with two large floral print lampshades, which link the jewel-box colours of the bedrooms to the living space beyond.

Home exterior
At the back of the house, new sliding doors and wide-profile aluminium windows blend with the character of the house. The weatherboards are Resene Lumbersider tinted to Resene Quarter Silver Chalice and the trims are Resene Alabaster.

The renovations were completed within six months and Debbie grins proudly when she comments that, as resident project manager, she was able to bring the work in $1000 under budget. Mark also praises their builder Brad Tautahi (of BT Building Projects) for his unfailing patience and willingness to take on the couple's ideas. To soften the impact of new aluminium joinery used throughout the home, Debbie specified deep-set windowsills, both inside and out, and stood alongside as each sill was measured to her exacting standards.

With a background in graphic design and project management, Debbie will soon complete an interior design degree and has recently launched her own design business, Compose Interiors.

In future, there are plans for Mark's converted freight-container office in the garden to become an outdoor den for the children as they move into their teens. For now though, the Omonds are happily enjoying the new-found space inside their home, where there is all the colour and drama to transport them to a perpetually sunny place without the need to even step outside the door.

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.

Did you know... that if you want your own dramatic wall treatment and can't find a wallpaper to suit, you can order a customised one using your own choice of image from

Accessories/credits: Designer: Debbie Omond,Compose Interiors, Stylist: Francesca Story, Bath: Caroma Noir from Plumbing World. *Resene Alabaster walls are a fresh neutral background for colourful accessories in the kitchen area.

Alternative solution – Scandi calm

restful colours and a quirky wall treatment create this haven

Elayna Foster from Freedom Furniture suggests this alternative scheme:

This sophisticated Scandinavian-inspired bedroom would be perfect for a young girl to grow into. The striking but subtle colour palette makes for a timeless yet on-point rest space and beautifully creates a sense of calm. Resene Ditto and Resene Concrete are blended in a rough ombre effect on the walls while Resene Alabaster is used on ceilings and trims to keep the room fresh and sharp.

Alternative solution 1

Subtle schemes like this need texture to bring them to life and add warmth. This is done here with the use of natural timbers in furnishings, the floor and the cute side table, and with woven textiles and window coverings. Quirky trend-based details such as the gorgeous macramé wall hangings, the cluster of pendant lights and the paint treatment ensure this look is a contemporary one that would be the envy of all others.

A rough division is created between Resene Ditto on the bottom part of the wall, and Resene Concrete on the top. The ceiling is in Resene Alabaster, and the timber floor is in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Products featured include macramé wall hangings from Superette, a Tonk Stool from St Clements, Zacharia Pendants from Freedom Furniture and a Retro Armchair from Indie Home Collective.

Did you know... that Resene Colorwood Whitewash is specially formulated to give an on-trend Scandi look for timber? Use Resene Colorwood Rock Salt wood stain for a more blonded look. Or check out the Resene Colorwood stains range for an array of rich colours for your interior timber projects.

phone 021 494 663   email

Accessories: Washed Egyptian Cotton Duvet and Palette Cushion, Soala Throw in Milk, from Citta Design. Penny Table Lamp in Green, Mandala Floor Rug, Cancun King Single Bed, from Freedom Furniture.

alternative solution – to the moon

boys will want to have fun in this new room

Kelly Gammie of Eucalyptus Design suggests this alternative scheme:

I wanted to create the ultimate "wow, this is awesome" boy's bedroom, the sort of room that every boy in the class wants to come and play in. Kids' bedrooms are for so much more than just sleeping – for play, dreams and creativity. Resene Surfs Up and Resene Rocket are strong bright colours that bring the room to life, especially with a topcoat of Resene Pearl Shimmer. Resene Half Surrender stops the bright primary colours from becoming too overpowering. Silhouettes of spacemen, martians and rockets are easy to draw on and paint in. If you're not artistic, use stencils from the Resene website,

Alternative solution 2

A timber floor stained with Resene Colorwood Walnut brings warmth to the room, enhances the traditional origins of the house and is easy to clean up after play time. The custom-coloured moon rug brings the gorgeous colours together while providing a roll-around-on-the-floor zone. Flashes of yellow in the furniture and accessories give the scheme depth and fun.

A fun mural using stencils is created with Resene Rocket and Resene Surfs Up on the walls of this boy's bedroom, then given a topcoat of Resene Pearl Shimmer for a space-dust effect. The rest of the walls are Resene Half Surrender, the ceiling is Resene Double Alabaster and the floor is in Resene Colorwood Walnut. Other products featured are an Urban Bed in Black from Kidzspace and a bespoke rug from Cronz.

Top tip: The Resene KidzColour range is full of fun colours for kids, from pretty pastels to bold brights and metallics. Pick up a free copy of the chart from your local Resene ColorShop or order online from

phone 022 0274 990   web

Accessories: Malmo 400 Pendant in Black, from Lighting Direct. Retro Flower Pot Lamp in Yellow, from Retro Lights. Dreamweaver stencil, from Resene. Harry Duvet Set by PatersonRose, from Kidzspace. Sparkle Side Table in Topaz, from Kartell.

words and pictures: Nicola Edmonds
illustration: Malcolm White

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