– a grand 1920s Herne Bay villa gets an art deco re­fur­bish­ment with an ori­en­tal twist


The metic­u­lous re­fur­bish­ment of this 1920s Herne Bay villa re­mained

faith­ful to the pe­riod with a sub­tle ori­en­tal twist.

Left: the cof­fee ta­ble and art deco chairs (up­hol­stered in a Cather­ine Martin flo­ral de­sign) are both by La Ga­le­ria of Ecuador. The Kin­ta­mani Drum Ta­ble is by David Ross. The vin­tage Turk­ish rug was overdyed

in em­peror pur­ple.

Be­low: the en­graved mir­ror and cabi­net in the en­trance are by Arte Veneziana. The chi­nois­erie wall­pa­per is by GP & J Baker.

From the age of six, Daniella Nor­ling re­mem­bers ac­com­pa­ny­ing her fa­ther on drives around Auck­land’s pic­turesque Herne Bay just so she could study some of her favourite houses. So the de­sign direc­tor of Pon­sonby’s Trove In­te­rior De­sign was de­lighted when she was asked to work her magic on one of the beloved 1920s vil­las on her child­hood wish list. Nor­ling was also no stranger to the villa’s new own­ers – a well-trav­elled, pro­fes­sional cou­ple who no longer have chil­dren liv­ing at home – as she had al­ready com­pleted a five-star bou­tique ho­tel on the South Is­land for them, as well as their pre­vi­ous home on the North Is­land. Like Nor­ling, they are pas­sion­ate about beau­ti­ful de­sign and crafts­man­ship, and shar­ing her love of art deco, they too wanted the in­te­ri­ors in this house to re­main some­what faith­ful to the pe­riod in which it was built.

Orig­i­nally com­mis­sioned by a high-rank­ing naval of­fi­cial in the 1920s, the house is an ex­cep­tional ex­am­ple of New Zealand’s art deco style, with orig­i­nal mould­ings and pil­lars and stun­ning dou­ble stained glass win­dows that go all the way up to the third floor gallery and bathe the an­tique pi­ano and the large for­mal en­trance be­yond it in an al­most ce­les­tial light.

Re­cent ad­di­tions to the house – ex­tend­ing the kitchen, build­ing a two-car garage, and adding a front deck – are so sym­pa­thetic to the orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­ture it’s hard to tell they weren’t al­ways there. The own­ers even went to the trou­ble of sourc­ing orig­i­nal 1920s roof tiles from Iona Col­lege in Hawke’s Bay, com­plete with ex­ist­ing lichen.

In­side, Nor­ling sourced art deco pieces to mix with two more of her favourite styles – 1930s Hol­ly­wood re­gency and chi­nois­erie. “I love the way th­ese styles ping off each other adding lux­ury, tex­ture and in­ter­est,” she says, stand­ing in the en­trance of the house, a space that boasts an im­pres­sively large en­graved mir­rored art deco cabi­net by Arte Veneziana, and a caramel-hued Mu­rano chan­de­lier.

While Nor­ling is usu­ally known for her fearless use of colour, the pal­ette here is muted. Still, she says, she re­fused to em­brace beige. “No one wants to live in a bowl of por­ridge.” For her, green is a more palat­able neu­tral, so she used grey-greens and mixed them with sil­ver and gold metallics, smoky pur­ples, natural tim­bers, licorice blacks and sharp, lac­quered blacks.

“You can have beauty in sub­tlety with­out go­ing the safe route of ut­ter neu­tral­ity,” she says.

Case in point: the soft, pearlised chi­nois­erie

A paint­ing by Amanda Gru­en­wald hangs above the orig­i­nal fire­place. The scat­ter cush­ions in lux­u­ri­ous fab­rics are a com­bi­na­tion of Zinc and Cather­ine Martin. The ori­en­tal-in­spired drinks cabi­net was de­signed by James Sal­mond.

wall­pa­per by GP & J Baker. “It’s what we call ‘gilver’ – gold and sil­ver. De­pend­ing on where you walk and where the light is, you get a lot of move­ment.”

In fact, the wall­pa­per be­came a dé­cor so­lu­tion too, ex­tend­ing the en­try hall all the way to the stairs and trans­form­ing it into a space that is per­fect for a cock­tail party. You can al­most hear the tin­kle of pi­ano keys and the an­tique loo ta­ble (orig­i­nally de­signed for play­ing the card game loo) begs for a plate of canapés. El­e­gant black lac­quered book­shelves dis­play gleam­ing gold and bronze ob­jects as well as books that hint at the li­brary be­yond.

Through the pil­lars is the for­mal lounge, a room that is de­void of a tele­vi­sion. “It’s about sit­ting around the fire and spend­ing time get­ting to know peo­ple. Talk­ing, laugh­ing and drink­ing,” says Nor­ling. To that more con­vivial end, a deco-es­que cock­tail cabi­net de­signed by James Sal­mond is the centre of en­ter­tain­ment for the room. The own­ers have filled it with Water­ford mar­tini glasses in jewel colours.

The cof­fee ta­ble with its glo­ri­ous ve­neer is flanked by art deco-style chairs by La Ga­le­ria of Ecuador up­hol­stered in a flo­ral vel­vet by Cather­ine Martin from her Gatsby col­lec­tion (Martin won two Os­cars

for her work on the set of the film The Great Gatsby). Nor­ling left the orig­i­nal tiling on the fire­place as well as a cou­ple of burns on the wooden floor in front of it. “It’s part of the prove­nance of the house,” she says.

One room Nor­ling can­not take any credit for is the kitchen. Aside from the three shiny black pen­dant lights that hang over the is­land, the hus­band took charge and di­rected it from start to fin­ish. “The house was de­signed in three stages,” ex­plains Nor­ling. “Some­times peo­ple can go ‘off piste’ in their own homes and end up with some­thing re­ally dis­parate. He de­signed the kitchen af­ter I had fin­ished stage one and I was so touched that he worked with the ethos of what I was do­ing in the rest of the house and ex­e­cuted it here so beau­ti­fully.”

Solid oak cabi­netry off­sets the thick, delus­tered mar­ble bench that dou­bles as the din­ing room ta­ble. “When you come here for din­ner, you sit around one end of it,” says Nor­ling. “He’s an ex­cel­lent cook and it’s re­ally friendly and full of soul.” Tucked away, per­pen­dic­u­lar to the kitchen is­land is a but­ler’s kitchen with a walk-in pantry,

Above left: Nor­ling cre­ated a sense of depth with lay­ered linen, silk vel­vet, and cot­tons in a guest room. Above right: the clas­sic 1920s Eileen Gray side ta­bles hold orig­i­nal an­tique art deco lamps. Be­low, left: the bone side ta­ble was hand-crafted in In­dia for Globe­west. The wall­pa­per is by Cather­ine Martin. Be­low, right: the scat­ter cush­ions on the win­dow seat are cov­ered in Chris­tian Fis­chbacher fab­ric.

Above: the mas­ter bed­room fea­tures a pagoda-style head­board up­hol­stered in a deco and ori­en­tal Lin­wood fab­ric and cus­tomde­signed ori­en­tal-in­spired side ta­bles. Nor­ling sourced the lamp bases from Aus­tralia and gave them a lightly gilded fin­ish be­fore top­ping them with silk shades made from the Lin­wood Me­trop­o­lis tex­tile range. Be­low left: the dou­ble basin in the bath­room is solid

oak and gran­ite. Right: the Blooms­bury Som­er­set mar­ble quartz free­stand­ing bath is by Bagno De­sign. The tow­els are Mis­soni.

re­frig­er­a­tor, freezer, dish­washer, and oven.

Three guest bed­rooms take up an en­tire wing of the home and are il­lu­mi­nated by re­fur­bished orig­i­nal art deco light fit­tings and lamps. “I will lit­er­ally search the world for my clients to find the per­fect ob­ject or piece of fur­ni­ture,” says Nor­ling. “It’s a plea­sure for me.” The fem­i­nine ‘rose room’ fea­tures a pale pink wa­tered moiré silk head­board with nail­ing de­tail and metal­lic chevron wall­pa­per from Cather­ine Martin’s Gatsby col­lec­tion. The mas­cu­line coun­ter­part, a room Nor­ling af­fec­tion­ately refers to as the “50 shades of grey room” has three painted pale grey walls and a fourth wall­pa­pered with an­other sil­very art de­coin­spired pat­tern by Martin. The largest of the guest rooms fea­tures an ar­ray of tex­tures from heavy Edo by Mokum linen cur­tains and vel­vet throws, to cot­tons and em­broi­dery. “This is pos­si­bly the most neu­tral room in the house,” says Nor­ling, “but I think the lay­er­ing of tex­tiles and tex­tures gives it depth.”

Up­stairs is a nurs­ery for when the cou­ple’s twoyear-old nephew sleeps over. Orig­i­nal mould­ings re­sem­bling a cir­cus tent set the tone for Cather­ine Martin’s Cir­cus Pa­rade wall­pa­per, filled with big top im­agery. “You can sit in this room and tell a story to a child just by pick­ing out a char­ac­ter from the wall­pa­per,” says Nor­ling. “It’s mag­i­cal.”

Across the pas­sage, the mas­ter bed­room boasts a spec­tac­u­lar view of Cox’s Bay and be­yond. It is here that Nor­ling’s love of chi­nois­erie is given its full ex­pres­sion via a cus­tom-de­signed pagoda-style head­board up­hol­stered in a linen pat­tern fea­tur­ing egrets, and black lac­quer side ta­bles with ori­en­tal­in­spired han­dles. An arm­chair in one cor­ner has part of an obi over the back. “I’ve used sub­tle ori­en­tal mo­tifs quite heav­ily,” she ad­mits. At the foot of the bed, a vin­tage shaved ori­en­tal rug adds warmth to the orig­i­nal wooden floors. “I like my in­te­ri­ors to look like they’ve been built up slowly and lived in and loved.”

You can have beauty in sub­tlety with­out go­ing the safe route of

ut­ter neu­tral­ity.

Above: Nor­ling found an an­tique loo ta­ble in Christchurch and had it re­fur­bished with a gleam­ing wal­nut burr. The chan­de­lier is Mu­rano. The pi­ano is a fam­ily heir­loom.

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