Plot twist

This fam­ily’s story just goes to show we should prob­a­bly never say never.

Homestyle New Zealand - - CONTENTS -

WO RDS Philippa Pren­tice STYLING Amy Ten nent PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Heather Lid­dell

Keryn Mar­shall never planned to live in Dan­nevirke, nor did she par­tic­u­larly fancy the house she, her hus­band Si­mon and their three sons now call home. Some­how, how­ever, it’s all turned out just right.

De­spite them both hav­ing grown up in Waipuku­rau, just 35 min­utes away, when Si­mon was of­fered a job in the Manawatu town in 2007, Keryn said, “No way”, its rep­u­ta­tion for sub­par weather her deal­breaker. Even­tu­ally, she re­lented, on the con­di­tion they stay for three years, max. A decade later, they’re still lov­ing it.

Ar­riv­ing fresh off the plane from their UK OE, the cou­ple moved into a small three-bed­room house, but by 2015, they’d well and truly out­grown it. A fruit­less search for a home to buy led them to make plans to build – un­til a dis­cus­sion over din­ner one night con­cluded in a U-turn. De­cid­ing that build­ing and land­scap­ing with three kids un­der five was sim­ply not go­ing to fly, Keryn and Si­mon re­vis­ited the home they now own, hav­ing dis­missed it on the first view­ing.

At 300m2 and with a 3.6m stud, its size had seemed over­whelm­ing, but ul­ti­mately they couldn’t over­look its suit­abil­ity for their bois­ter­ous boys – not only the am­ple room but also its ro­bust de­sign and rus­tic aes­thetic that could with­stand the rough and tum­ble. An­other ma­jor bonus was its lo­ca­tion: sit­u­ated in the for­mer Dan­nevirke Pub­lic Hospi­tal

grounds, it gives the fam­ily ac­cess to mul­ti­ple lawns and the old hospi­tal ten­nis court and pool. Built in the 1940s, the house was a nurs­ing school un­til the late 90s; the nurses’ home, since de­mol­ished, was right next door. It’s one of two orig­i­nal build­ings that re­main on the site, the other the geri­atric ward now oc­cu­pied by a cou­ple who’re de­vel­op­ing the prop­erty for ad­di­tional res­i­dences.

The Mar­shalls’ place was struc­turally in good shape, but not quite to Keryn’s taste. “And we’d been liv­ing in a small house, so I didn’t know how I was go­ing to source enough fur­ni­ture to make it make it feel homely and look great with­out break­ing the bank,” she says. “The pieces we did have looked hi­lar­i­ous: a tiny lit­tle side­board and 32-inch TV, faded couches, a few can­dle­hold­ers and not much else.”

With the early stages of a diploma in de­sign and dec­o­rat­ing un­der her belt, and as­sis­tance from Jo Blom­field at In­te­rior Mo­tifs, Keryn in­sti­gated a re­fresh that in­cluded paint­ing the kitchen/din­ing/liv­ing room, bed­rooms and main bath­room van­ity; adding new cur­tains and wooden blinds; retil­ing the kitchen splash­back; in­stalling a sky­light in the hall­way; and fin­ish­ing the mas­ter bed­room with a fea­ture wall.

The fur­ni­ture she se­lected is scal­ly­wag­proof, much of it crafted from re­cy­cled tim­ber. “The house lends it­self to a very rus­tic look – with fea­tures like the hard­wood beams in

the liv­ing room and the hard­wood ledge above the fire­place, there was no get­ting away from it,” says Keryn. “But I love this in­dus­trial farm­house style, and it fits well with the size of the house and is great for the boys. The din­ing ta­ble is re­cy­cled elm, so if the kids drop any­thing on it, it’s not a prob­lem; the matai floors are well worn, so if some­one walks in with high heels, I don’t cringe; the hall­way is lovely and wide, so if the boys run down it with what­ever boys run down a hall­way with, it doesn’t get dented.”

Still to do is a bath­room makeover, a re­vamp of the guest bed­room and the cre­ation of an of­fice us­ing space from the huge games room. “And then when I’m fin­ished, I’ll prob­a­bly want to start all over again!” laughs Keryn. “Poor Si­mon. I’ve re­dec­o­rated this house a hun­dred times over in my head – he’s sick of hear­ing, ‘This will be the last thing I’ll change.’ Ul­ti­mately, though, it’s the things I can’t stop think­ing about that I end up al­ter­ing.”

The weather around here may in­deed be “rub­bish”, but now this home has Keryn hooked. “Buy­ing in­stead of build­ing was such a good choice for us, and Si­mon and I are so pleased we gave the house a sec­ond look. We def­i­nitely think it was meant to be, and that be­comes more and more ap­par­ent the longer we’re here. I still get a thrill ev­ery time I walk in.”

RIGHT On Satur­day morn­ings, you’ll find the fam­ily at the break­fast bar, with the boys squab­bling over who’ll get the big­gest of Si­mon’s warm home­made pan­cakes. Behind them, bev­elled white gloss sub­way tiles from Tile De­pot, paired with black grout, smarten up the kitchen. BE­LOW & OPPOSITE The wall hang­ing in this nook is from Have­lock North store Annabelle’s, the chair is from Hawthorne Group, the throw is from Linens & More and the cush­ion is by Città.

BATH­ROOM The main bath­room is next in line for a makeover, but in the mean­time, it’s an ex­am­ple of how visu­ally pleas­ing pared back can be. The tim­ber caddy was a bar­gain buy from Bed, Bath & Be­yond, and Keryn painted the ex­ist­ing worn van­ity with An­nie Sloan chalk paint in Aubus­son Blue.

HUNTER & CHARLIE’S ROOM The boys’ du­vet covers are by Aura by Tra­cie El­lis; Hunter leans on a cush­ion from Linens & More. A bed­side cab­i­net by Gen­eral Eclec­tic paired with a lamp from Farm­ers adds a hint of the in­dus­trial. Be­low, col­lected trea­sures form a play­ful vi­gnette an­chored by hexag­o­nal Gen­eral Eclec­tic shelves.

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