Ed’s let­ter: It’s been a bleak win­ter, but here comes spring!

NZ House & Garden - - CONTENTS -

Ihave had, to be hon­est, a bit of a bleak win­ter. In late May, af­ter years of bat­tling de­men­tia, my mum died in a white hos­pi­tal ward while the rain ham­mered out­side. Af­ter that it just seemed to rain and rain and rain.

The mo­tor­ways were dark and slick; ev­ery­one’s kids were sick. At home, the view out my win­dow was of our soggy half-com­plete reno strung with drip­ping tar­pau­lins. It felt as if the whole project – no, the whole of my life – was stuck in the yel­low clay that clung in clumps to the builders’ boots.

Fair to say, then, that I have been hang­ing out for win­ter to end, so it’s damn good to be sit­ting here putting the fi­nal touches to NZ House & Gar­den’s spring is­sue. It’s a mag­a­zine burst­ing with small sea­sonal pick-me-ups: bright linens, slim spears of as­para­gus, a red de­signer deck chair.

But it’s not re­ally the images that make me feel bet­ter: it’s the peo­ple and their sto­ries. The home­mak­ers in this is­sue are wizards of do­mes­tic alchemy: they make dated in­te­ri­ors mag­i­cally mod­ern, turn bare fields into oases. They are peo­ple who know about change and how to make it hap­pen.

Th­ese change-mak­ers, like my run­ning group mates, have their own style and their own speed. Some, like Lynda Hallinan whose coun­try gar­den is on page 102, go at it with new-broom gusto and get it all done to an in­sane dead­line. “I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a bud­get,” says Lynda. “What I did have was a wed­ding date and a bid­dable boyfriend with a swag of dig­gers and trucks.”

For oth­ers, like the Mac­far­lanes on page 112, the pace is more se­date. The fam­ily fit gar­den­ing in around the edges of a busy work and farm­ing life. It is a feat at least as im­pres­sive as Lynda Hallinan’s in­stant gar­den makeover: the dif­fer­ence is that it hap­pened over three gen­er­a­tions and six decades.

A more re­al­is­tic time frame – for those of us with­out dig­gers and farms – is that of Ti­ti­rangi cou­ple Matt and Misty, who spent one roller coaster year build­ing a sleek, tex­tured fam­ily home (page 16). They de­scribe days of ela­tion (when the fram­ing went up), and times of frus­tra­tion when progress was slow. But, like all my var­i­ously speedy run­ning bud­dies, they got to the fin­ish line in the end.

At my place, the weather re­port is pre­dict­ing a few days with­out rain and some fine weather. The builders tell us the roof could be on by the end of the week. This morn­ing I put a bot­tle of cham­pagne in the fridge, and tonight I will stand with my hus­band Nick on the framed-up deck of our new home, in the evening sun, and toast the ar­rival of spring. Cheers!

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