MAS­TER­PIECE

– the Auck­land de­sign pro­fes­sion­als who made their dream fam­ily home a re­al­ity

Simply You Living - - Con­tents - WRITER: NA­DINE RU­BIN NATHAN. PHO­TOG­RA­PHER: HE­LEN BANKERS.

This Re­muera fam­ily home is a stylish show­case for the

tal­ented cou­ple who de­signed and built it.

Op­po­site: Alice with Alan­nah, Zara, and

Brook. The Éli­tis wall­pa­per from Seneca on the stair­well wall is a

vinyl that em­u­lates nat­u­ral silk. This page: the chan­de­lier in the down­stairs lounge is from ECC. The Sharps

used black box light fit­tings, also from ECC,

through­out the house.

Adam and Alice Sharp were still dat­ing when Adam spied a “For Sale” sign on what is now the top half of the site of their mod­ern con­crete three-story fam­ily home in Re­muera, Auck­land. On the land at the time was a derelict Cape Cod-style house in des­per­ate need of a makeover. “We were lit­er­ally rip­ping out ceil­ings and pulling down walls on the first week­end,” says Alice. But when they stood in the liv­ing room and looked out of a small sash win­dow at the view that stretches to North Head and Ran­gi­toto, they knew it had enor­mous po­ten­tial.

Real­is­ing the realm of pos­si­bil­ity in a home is what this cou­ple is all about. Adam is man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Sharp & Page, an 80-year-old fam­ily busi­ness that spe­cialises in res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial, and com­mer­cial hos­pi­tal­ity in­te­ri­ors as well as Kitchen Liv­ing, a com­pany fo­cused on creat­ing su­pe­rior res­i­den­tial kitchens. Alice, mean­while, is an in­te­rior de­signer with her own com­pany, Linea De­sign.

Still, the re­fur­bished Cape Cod house that had been so per­fect for them be­came re­stric­tive once they started their fam­ily and found they had too many open spa­ces that weren’t par­tic­u­larly child-friendly. Then the Sharps had the op­por­tu­nity to buy the land be­hind their site and take it back to its full, orig­i­nal sec­tion. It al­lowed them to build their dream home from the ground up, one that would suit the full sec­tion and op­ti­mise the liv­ing space with swoop­ing three-me­tre ceil­ings on two of the three lev­els and al­low them to best cap­ture the views and avail­able light.

“When you live here like we did for 10 years you get to un­der­stand where the sun is in the af­ter­noon and where peo­ple like to be. It’s pretty im­por­tant,” ex­plains Alice. The pair, along with some early in­put from ar­chi­tects, de­signed the en­tire house right down to the skirt­ing boards, mould­ings, front door

This page: the stair­case is an oiled Amer­i­can oak. Op­po­site: Alice cus­tom de­signed the car­pet

with Sen­sa­tional Floors.

Above: Alice stands at the Ital­ian mar­ble is­land in

the be­spoke Sharp & Page kitchen. The clas­sic mould­ings jux­ta­pose the con­tem­po­rary

kitchen lay­out.

and stair­cases. “We both love solid struc­tures so we chose con­crete and tim­ber and there’s a fair bit of glass around,” she adds.

At the start of the build, which co­in­cided with Alice’s third preg­nancy, the fam­ily moved out. But be­cause the some­what tricky sec­tion needed py­lons to re­tain it all the way around, it took three years be­fore the cou­ple could move back in with daugh­ters Alan­nah (eight) and Zara (seven), and son Brook (five). It was well worth the wait.

To max­imise the el­e­vated views at the back of the sec­tion – all the way from Re­muera to New­mar­ket, Mt Eden and the Do­main – and bring the out­doors in as much as pos­si­ble, they used can­tilevers and join­ery. “Every­thing can open right up,” says Alice, ex­plain­ing how fully re­tractable glass doors cre­ate an out­door space on the ground level that is com­pletely shel­tered from wind. “Even in win­ter it’s an oa­sis.”

Once con­struc­tion was com­plete, Alice went to work on the in­te­ri­ors. “Adam and I gen­er­ally share the same taste, but we both have strong opin­ions when it comes to de­sign and we tend to chal­lenge each other un­til we get some­thing spe­cial,” she says. Her love of art history as well as merg­ing the clas­sic with the mod­ern to cre­ate con­tem­po­rary yet time­less rooms is ev­i­dent from the mo­ment you en­ter the house via a front door that was made by Sharp & Page and which fea­tures a cir­cle and square de­sign. It’s a mo­tif that is re­peated from the struc­tured Ver­sailles-in­spired hedge in the front gar­den to a panel on the kitchen ceil­ing and a cus­tom Sen­sa­tional Floors car­pet in the up­stairs lounge.

The Sharps’ ca­reers keep them en­vi­ably abreast of the lat­est tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances for be­spoke touches like the cus­tom rugs (there’s a sec­ond one in the en­trance hall, also by Sen­sa­tional Floors, with a per­son­alised ‘S’ bor­der in­spired by the clas­sic Greek key de­sign). “I like the creative out­let of putting my own stamp on some­thing. It adds that ex­tra layer of in­ter­est,” says Alice.

On the lower level, a sunny lounge that was ini­tially en­vi­sioned as Adam and Brook’s refuge from the girls has be­come a favourite spot for the whole fam­ily.

“I am a bit of a hoarder of tex­tiles,” says Alice of the scat­ter cush­ions in a mix of fab­rics. “Espe­cially when they’re tac­tile.” She used a James Dun­lop wo­ven out­door fab­ric on one of the cus­tom-de­signed Sharp & Page so­fas so the chil­dren don’t need to be too pre­cious about it. “A house is a home at the end of the day and it needs to be able to be used,” she says. How­ever, a sec­ond sofa up­hol­stered in a swirling

Be­low: Alice re­pur­posed the gold stand on the side ta­ble from a jew­ellery

store dis­play for the girls’ ac­ces­sories. The rug is hand-tufted New Zealand wool by Cus­tom Rugs from Sf De­sign. The silk cur­tain is by

Éli­tis from Seneca.

art deco-in­spired gold vel­vet is def­i­nitely not sticky fin­gers-friendly.

An­other in­ter­est­ing il­lu­sion of tex­ture can be found on the Éli­tis wall­pa­per from the Pleats col­lec­tion that hangs floor-to-ceil­ing on the stair­well wall join­ing the lower, mid­dle and up­per lev­els of the house. It re­sem­bles folded sheets of brown pa­per dec­o­rated with im­ages of na­ture and birds.

Un­sur­pris­ingly in a home be­long­ing to a master cab­i­net­maker, the cab­i­nets are real talk­ing points. In the up­stairs and down­stairs lounges, match­ing Sharp & Page cab­i­nets fea­ture a lus­trous san­tos pal­isander ve­neer – a won­der­ful ex­am­ple of old work­man­ship in a mod­ern con­text. “It’s a lovely, rich ma­te­rial that is not of­ten used as it tends to be ex­pen­sive,” ex­plains Alice. “Sharp & Page laid it out at dif­fer­ent an­gles to cre­ate a three-di­men­sional shape.” But it is the kitchen that is the real pièce de ré­sis­tance. All ap­pli­ances, ex­cept the oven and in­duc­tion hob, are hid­den in high lac­quer white or dark brown cab­i­nets.

“A key thing for a kitchen is hav­ing gen­er­ous space be­tween work­ing sur­faces. We’re fu­ture-proof­ing for teenagers to be able to share the space,” says

Alice. Cool draw­ers in­side the large Ital­ian mar­ble­topped cen­tral is­land hide sparkling wa­ter and beer, while oth­ers con­ceal plat­ters and china that aren’t used ev­ery day. Elec­tric can­dles pro­vides mood light­ing for Éli­tis foam wall­pa­per framed by Sharp & Page to cre­ate French-style pan­elling in­spired by a de Roth­schild villa they once vis­ited in the

South of France. “I love bring­ing el­e­ments that have in­flu­enced me from ar­chi­tec­ture and paint­ing to life in a New Zealand con­text,” says Alice.

Glass pan­els sep­a­rate the kitchen from the open­plan din­ing room, where an an­tique ta­ble that once be­longed to Adam’s par­ents has been mod­ernised with high gloss black lac­quer and is off­set by geo­met­ric matte black Matisse chairs.

A dif­fer­ent kind of panel can be found above the bed in the master bed­room. Alice asked Sharp & Page to frame a piece of wall­pa­per by Nina Camp­bell and then mounted a pair of Porta Ro­mana sconces that look like the branches of a tree. “Adam mostly goes along with it all,” she smiles. “I am pretty lucky to have some­one who re­alises my de­sign ideas.”

Alice Sharp in the kitchen of the Re­muera fam­ily home she

de­signed with her hus­band.

Above left: the Sharps dug up the horse­shoes when ex­ca­vat­ing their sec­tion, once part of an old horse mar­ket. Above right: Alice found the chairs and had them re­uphol­stered and painted. Left: Folies Bergère prints hang in the study against Éli­tis wall­pa­per from Seneca that re­sem­bles traver­tine stone. The gold vel­vet couch is by Sharp & Page. The an­tique globe be­longed to Alice’s fa­ther. Op­po­site: a Sen­sa­tional Floors rug soft­ens the gran­ite floor from SCE Stone and De­sign. Glass pan­elling sep­a­rates the study from the rest of the house, let­ting in the max­i­mum amount of light.

Above: Alice mounted the cus­tom ECC light fit­ting onto a Per­spexframed mir­ror. The chairs are Magis Chair One by Matisse. Left: Alice or­dered ex­tra ca­ble so the De­sign­heure chan­de­lier from Am­biance In­te­ri­ors would fill the void in the stair­case and be more play­ful.

Above, left: Brook’s bed linen is from Seneca. Alice made the two dip-dyed linen cush­ions from leftover fab­ric from the kitchen cur­tain, she also made the stag head col­lage. Above right: the wall­pa­per in Zara’s bed­room is from the Éli­tis XXL Cristal range from Seneca. Alice made the

cur­tains us­ing bridal silk. Be­low: Alan­nah’s bed is by Sharp & Page. The bed linen is Laura Ash­ley.

The Sharps’ home will be open to vis­i­tors on Novem­ber 18 as part of the St Cuth­bert’s House Tour. All funds raised go to­wards schol­ar­ships for five girls who would not nor­mally be able to at­tend St Cuth­bert’s Col­lege. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit stcuth­bertshouse­tour.co.nz

Above: Alice used Euro­pean Ceram­ics tiles in a ran­dom

geo­met­ric form grad­u­at­ing from

dark to light to re­flect the Sharp &

Page cab­i­netry in the laun­dry. Be­low: a wave de­sign adds

move­ment to the Sharp & Page oak

cab­i­nets in the down­stairs guest

bath­room. The sun­burst mir­ror is from CC In­te­ri­ors.

Above left: the Ital­ian

mar­ble-tiled master bath­room fea­tures a Vic­to­ria + Al­bert bath and a hand­beaten sil­ver side ta­ble. Above right: the cus­tom Sharp & Page wardrobes are

made from oak. Right: the Sharp & Page head­board and bed base are up­hol­stered in

a James Dun­lop suede. Alice de­signed the cus­tom­made com­forter.

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