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From Habitat magazine - issue 30

Closing the gap between bungalow and backyard made a world of difference.

Exterior of house livingThe new double-gable roofline and raised backyard create perfect harmony between the indoors and out. The house exterior is painted in Resene Foggy Grey with Resene Half Alabaster trim.

With two little ones and another on the way, Emma and Henry faced an all too familiar problem. They were rapidly outgrowing their cute three-bedroom traditional 1930s bungalow in the heart of Auckland's popular Pt. Chevalier neighbourhood. The house didn't even have a bathtub and storage space was virtually non-existent, aside from a garage, a tiny cupboard-sized laundry and a single wardrobe. Something had to give.

What the property did have was a spacious yet under-utilised backyard, sunken from the rest of the house and accessible only by some stairs off a small rear deck. However, by employing some creative problem solving by architect Michael Cooper, it presented an opportunity for the family to stay and renovate rather than having to move away from their beloved Pt Chev.

Recognising the potential that the backyard offered, Michael's plan raised it a metre. A large, double-gabled extension was then added to the rear of the house, allowing for a stunning new open plan living, dining and kitchen area. Connected to the original house by hallway stairs, the new extension sits at a lower level to meet the newly-raised lawn for a seamless indoor/ outdoor flow through an expansive wraparound deck.

The other tough colour choice was the kitchen island. Emma knew she wanted it almost black but not too black, with a touch of blue while not being too blue. She found what she was looking for in Resene Cinder.

“It was really important to me that the renovation kept a seamless bungalow look,” says Emma, who doesn't have a taste for the look of mixing old with new. “I wanted it to flow and I wanted that timeless bungalow look and feel, but with a lot of storage.”

Michael's new design created storage in spades, with ingenious solutions scattered throughout the house that make use of ceiling and wall cavities and the addition of built-in window seats. Emma, who loves to cook, now has a separate scullery kitchen. And, with three young children, there is now an all- important separate laundry.

The most dramatic feature of the new open plan kitchen/dining/living space is the double-gable ceiling which gives the whole area a loftiness while still maintaining its intimacy and comfort.

“That's the advantage of it,” says Michael. “The double-gable allows you to keep the scale of the space more residential. If you went with a full-width single gable, it can get a bit cathedral-like.”

Emma and Henry were on board with the idea after seeing another local property Michael had designed. The decision allowed for the creation of an outdoor room that benefits from the same elegant gabled ceiling and can be entered through the French doors off the back of the living room. The space feels like the very definition of that perfect indoor/outdoor flow which many of us yearn for.

Kitchen dining
It took Emma a while to settle on her preferred shade of white, but she kept coming back to Resene Half Bianca, which is used throughout the house, aside from the bedrooms, including the kitchen cabinetry, walls, trim and ceilings.

“The outdoor room has ended up being one of my favourite things about the property,” says Emma. “It was just gold over winter, and the kids can play in the shade in summer. You can be outdoors and have the doors open all year round.”

One of Emma's other favourite parts of the renovation is the kitchen island bench, painted in Resene Cinder. “It took a while to settle on the colour for that because I wanted to get it just right,” she says. “The island is the big feature in an otherwise white room. I knew I wanted it almost black but not too black, with a touch of blue but not too blue. It was so hard to find that colour, but Resene Cinder was just right. It's a bluey-charcoal. That's exactly the colour I wanted,” she says.

The shade also beautifully picks up the grey and charcoal of the polished concrete floors, and Emma has carried the same deep colour through to other parts of the house such as the tiling in the laundry and the clawfoot bath.

Window nook and bathroom
Left: A window seat painted in Resene Powder Blue with Resene Half Bianca trim provides extra storage in the boys' bedroom.  Right: The deep charcoal blue of the clawfoot bath picks up Emma's colour palette from the rest of the home. Her main neutral colour choice of Resene Half Bianca is also used on the bathroom walls.

She has expanded the palette to include paler smoky grey-blues in the children's bedrooms, which sit in the original part of the house. The bedroom the two toddler-aged boys share has been painted in Resene Powder Blue, while the baby's nursery is in Resene Half Periglacial Blue. For the master bedroom, the couple opted for the subtle neutral tone of Resene Double White Pointer.

Choosing a neutral shade to use on the rest of the house interior, including the ceilings and trims, was Emma's other biggest colour challenge. While Michael is a big fan of crisp Resene Black White, Emma held out for something a little softer.

“I lived with a number of swatches on the wall of the rental we were in while we were building. That included Resene Black White and about 12 other different shades of white. In the end, I just kept coming back to Resene Half Bianca. It was just that little bit softer and less stark.

“I wasn't looking for a huge, bold colour on the interior. I wanted it to be timeless. I've always been a fan of those blue-charcoal shades, so once I chose that as an accent, everything else flowed from there.”

In the end, Michael loved the finished colour scheme too. “It lets the architecture speak for itself.

“I really think Emma has accessorised the space fantastically, too. The neutral background lets you play with things like drapes and cushions to change it how you like,” he says.

“I wanted a timeless bungalow look and feel, but with a lot of storage.”

Guest bedroom and study.
Left: Resene Half Bianca on the walls offers a serene space in a guest bedroom when paired with tonal layers of cream and grey.  Right: The new extension allowed room for a second sitting area and study. The walls are painted Resene Half Bianca. View alternative looks for study: anchored by artwork | natural home office.

The living room side of the double-gable roofline extends to this outdoor room, which is Emma's favourite part of the finished home. The exterior is painted in Resene Foggy Grey with Resene Half Alabaster trim and the interior is Resene Half Bianca.

Outside, the colour choice was easier, with Emma and Henry deciding to keep the Resene Foggy Grey they had painted the exterior of the original home after they moved in. It is trimmed with Resene Half Alabaster.

The exterior was the one place Emma and Henry had to compromise their original vision. “We did want a garage and we just couldn't make it work. To put a new garage in would have meant ruining the whole bungalow look of the front of the property. And we would have had to sacrifice at least one of the bay windows out the front, which were one of the things that made me want to buy this house in the first place.”

Even though the garage didn't pan out, Emma is thrilled with the finished result. “I remember when the builders finally did the clean-up and I walked in. Even though we had been here every day it was the first time I had seen it clean. I was just wowed by the impact of this living area and the kitchen,” she says.

Michael was also pleased with how the project has turned out. “The thing that stands out for me is that it really feels like a family home. I think the three boys are going to be really comfortable in this house.”

Despite the considerable scope of the renovation, Emma says the experience was a pretty smooth one and she hasn't been deterred from considering it again one day. “Although, I think we'll just enjoy this for a while.”

She believes the key is to make sure you have a good relationship with your architect and your builder. “You're going to be working with them a lot so it's really important you understand each other.”

Top tip: Remember to also protect timber surfaces to keep them looking good. Clear finishes are ideal. Use Resene Aquaclear for walls and ceilings and Resene Qristal ClearFloor for flooring.

Paint finishes tend to be exposed to higher wear and tear in houses that have children and pets. Choose Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen for a durable paint finish on walls. On ceilings, opt for Resene SpaceCote Flat, which can be easily wiped clean. For an extra luxe look in the master bedroom, choose Resene SpaceCote Flat, a matte finish, to emphasise the depth of the colour.

Designer: Michael Cooper Architects
Words: Kerri Jackson
Images: Mark Scowen Photography

Paint it right

Choose the right Resene colours and paints for the job

Colour that lasts: The best paints to use for exterior weatherboards are Resene Lumbersider for a low sheen finish, Resene Sonyx 101 for a semi-gloss finish or Resene Hi-Glo for a gloss finish. Keep in mind the higher the gloss level the easier it will be to keep clean, but the more imperfections will be highlighted. Using a high quality brush will make sure your colour goes on much smoother

Get the look: Get the exterior look with Resene Lumbersider low sheen in Resene Foggy Grey. For the trim, try Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss or Resene Enamacryl gloss in Resene Half Alabaster. When choosing mid to deep colours outside, opt for a Resene CoolColour version to reduce heat build-up.

Style tip: To take the colours from Emma’s sons’ bedding on to your walls, try these on trend colours from the new Resene The Range fashion colours fandeck

Resene Influential

Resene Family Tree

Resene India Ink

Alternative solution - anchored with artwork

Build out a look from a painting you adore

Designer Emma Wallace suggests this alternative scheme:

Before photo

I took my inspiration for this office space from a painting that I own by Margo Martin (which is displayed on the wall) as I like the complementary contrast of the blue and the orange, which has been reflected back into the space through Resene Clockwork Orange and Resene Coast. I wanted to create a modern, vibrant and stimulating home office space while remaining uncluttered with functional classic furniture and lighting selections. By keeping the brighter Resene Clockwork Orange accent wall out of the desk space's line of sight, it stops it from being distracting to the worker, and the Resene Sea Fog ceiling provides some brightness and balance to the deep Resene Coast walls.

The main wall is painted in Resene Coast while the wall behind the shelving and the wall next to the window, which is dressed in Four Families Rami Blinds (in Snow), are painted in Resene Clockwork Orange. The ceiling and timber joinery are in Resene Sea Fog and the bamboo flooring has been stained with Resene Colorwood Jarrah natural wood stain. The “Owls” artwork is by Margo Martin.

Top tip: If you love the colours in a fabric or artwork, load a photo of it into the Resene Colour Palette Generator and it will suggest some Resene colours to help get you started. Try it out.

Designer: Emma Wallace. Phone: 021 164 7559. Web:
Illustration: Malcolm White

David Moreland Frame Chair, The Flock
03 389 9242
Pendant light Bell White Pendant Lamp, The Clever Design Store
09 575 9864
Rami Blinds in Snow,
Four Families
Black Leather Eames Replica Chair, Ergostyle
03 366 8810
Goldsworthy Design Monarch Table, The Clever Design Store
09 575 9864

Alternative solution - sage advice

A natural home office that works for professionals

Designer Anna Major suggests this alternative scheme:

Before photo

My design for this space was intended for a professional who uses their office for consulting or working from home. I have used feature cabinetry in Resene New Leaf to balance colour across the room and accent against the cooler tones in the furniture and carpet. I've also brought in some natural timber furnishings that, despite it being a small space, don't feel heavy and are still comfortable and practical for meetings. Task lighting has been installed above the computer station and accessories have been kept to a minimum so that the office itself doesn't distract from the work at hand. The eco-friendly cork tiles are also an acoustic absorber, easy to maintain and introduce additional natural texture and warmth.

Behind the desk, James Hardie grooved walls have been painted in Resene Sea Fog and clear finished cork flooring tiles have been used to create a custom pinboard. The vertical and horizontal cabinets have been painted with Resene New Leaf and the ceilings are in Resene Alabaster. The floating shelves and desk bench have been stained with Resene Colorwood Tiri and sealed with Resene Aquaclear urethane for protection. The timber flooring beneath the rug has been stained with Resene Colorwood Iroko natural wood stain.

Top tip: Resene has an extensive range of Environmental Choice approved paints and stains suitable for a myriad of applications. Environmental Choice approved Resene Enamacryl gloss and Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss are durable and easy clean options for furniture and joinery.

Designer: Anna Major. Phone: 027 724 1324. Web:
Illustration: Malcolm White

Isabella Arm Chairs,
Simon James Design
09 377 5556
Mr. Cambridge Tiltable Wall Light in Black.
Mr. Ralph

Bensen Tokyo Chair,
Tim Webber Design
09 630 9720
Armadillo & Co Persian Knot Babylon in Sterling/Bronze, The Ivy House 09 373 3396
Yeh Wall Table in Light Grey, Simon James Design 09 377 5556

Resene New Leaf

Resene Colorwood Tiri

Resene Colorwood Iroko

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