De­sign gu­rus talk about how to cre­ate homes with clas­sic style.

We ask the ex­perts for their tips on en­dur­ing style – and their own favourite for­ever pieces


‘My least-favourite word is ‘trendy’,” says Welling­ton in­te­rior de­signer Brid­get Fo­ley. “Cre­ate your own look rather than be­ing too in­flu­enced by other peo­ple.”

And that’s the prob­lem with “trendy”. It’s very of-the-mo­ment, fill­ing stores and homes un­til next year’s trend comes along and ren­ders them im­me­di­ately out of date.

“Style will al­ways out­live fash­ion,” says Christchurch in­te­rior de­signer In­grid Geldof. “Choose fur­ni­ture and join­ery that you love and that en­hances the style of the home – not nec­es­sar­ily based on trends or fash­ion. Be aware of fash­ion ver­sus style.”

Qual­ity ba­sics are cru­cial. Napier in­te­rior de­sign­ers Vic Bibby and Dael Brady sug­gest you start with a clas­sic foun­da­tion. “Get your floor­ing, win­dow treat­ments and sofa right, and you can layer cur­rent pieces on top that are eas­ily swapped out,” says Vic.

“We al­ways rec­om­mend pur­chas­ing the best qual­ity you can af­ford for these key pieces. High-qual­ity fur­ni­ture and fab­rics will last for years and give your home a strong sense of char­ac­ter, as op­posed to the tired look you’ll get quite quickly with cheaper fur­nish­ings.”

Christchurch in­te­rior de­signer An­gelique Arm­strong says: “In a home that has clas­sic style, it’s a good idea to bring out its fea­tures and high­light these ar­eas. Play to the room’s strengths, architecture and the year the home was built.”

Brid­get Fo­ley agrees: “When do­ing my own ren­o­va­tion, I in­vested a lot in the join­ery – I had the orig­i­nal villa win­dows copied to the last de­tail and they look as if they have al­ways been there. It makes me happy look­ing at them ev­ery day, espe­cially now that the pain of pay­ing for it has sub­sided. Al­ways spend time and money get­ting the bones right – no amount of fur­ni­ture, art or soft fur­nish­ings can hide a shell that isn’t right, or cor­ners that have been cut.”

That’s when you can add per­son­al­ity. “To me, what makes a home is unique, in­di­vid­ual pieces that you ab­so­lutely love,” says blog­ger Amy Ten­nent of Mitzy & Milo.

Auck­land ar­chi­tect Guy Tar­rant says his favourite pos­ses­sions all have per­sonal mean­ing. “I think the most in­ter­est­ing in­te­ri­ors are fur­nished with an eclec­tic mix of ob­jects that have a story to tell.”

Ba­sics cov­ered, we asked de­sign­ers, ar­chi­tects, artists and all-round stylish peo­ple for tips on cre­at­ing en­dur­ing style.

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