Take a peek inside Angela Wickstead’s Herne Bay home.
Simply You takes a look inside three unique homes and talks to their creative owners.
Elaine Ferguson’s love of dark, moody colours is evident throughout her Auckland home – from the statement all-black kitchen to the black wall of her lounge, where she has curated her extensive collection of artwork.
“In the evening the kitchen is invisible which lets all my art and objects take centre stage,” says Ferguson, a salesperson for Ray White Ponsonby who bought the inner-city one-bedroom home she shares with her schnauzer Spencer and cat Enky four years ago after moving from Christchurch.
She has since transformed it from a “damp, dated mess” to a haven for her large collection of paintings, sculptures and objets. “I love everything about my home. It’s like being in a museum or shop with all my favourite things,” she says. Her most beloved artworks are a double portrait by Auckland artist Viky Garden, which takes pride of place in the lounge, and a male statue by Christchurch artist Sam Harrison. “I used the insurance money after the Christchurch earthquake to buy him; I could never have afforded him otherwise. He reminds me every day how lucky I am.”
Ferguson has no set rules when it comes to buying art. “I just buy what I like. All the faces and heads are a bit creepy to some, but they are company for me, I am never alone.”
As a freelance stylist and fashion editor for NEXT magazine, Sonia Greenslade has a professional eye for detail which has translated into a beautifully light and airy home with a few unique twists. She lives in the two-bedroom property in Auckland’s Eden Terrace with her cat, Lola, and four pet fish and has spent the past 13 years slowly doing it up.
She bought the house as a project in 2003 with her now ex-husband, an architect. “When we bought the property it was falling down and together we discussed and planned what to do with it,” says Greenslade. “It’s very narrow so simple, clean lines were the only way to go.”
When the couple parted ways in 2010, Greenslade took the property on as an unfinished project and has achieved a lot in the past six years, including the design and installation of the kitchen, plastering and repainting the walls, and installing joinery.
“What you see is all mainly my own aesthetic now, inside and out,” she says, describing her interiors style as a combination of industrial, modern and old.
Split over two levels, the lower floor contains two bedrooms, one of which Greenslade uses as her workroom, and the main bathroom featuring a cement floor and a large, rectangular cement bath, which was cast in situ. “I’m a bath queen; it’s my go-to place to wind down after a long day.”
Upstairs is an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area, a pantry, laundry and an alcove office space. Leading out from the kitchen is a private courtyard, where Greenslade spends as much time as she can when the weather is good, reading a book, sharing a glass of wine with friends, and enjoying breakfast and barbecues at the weekend.
Greenslade loves to cook and enjoys throwing dinner parties. “I also love gardening, not that I have much of one, but I make the most of what I have by planting seasonal edible delights in pots,” she says.
Despite all she has achieved over the years, the renovation is not yet complete and Greenslade has plans to extend the front of the house to accommodate another bedroom and bathroom. “The extension was always part of the plan years ago and it’s only now that I have a builder boyfriend that I feel I can finally put it to bed,” she says. “There’s always light at the end of the tunnel.”
It doesn’t really matter where in the world Angela Wickstead lives: the places change but her surroundings stay the same. The living rooms of her homes in Italy and New Zealand are populated with white slip-covered Philippe Starck sofas, the beds feature crisp white linen and meticulously arranged pillows, and the kitchen cupboards are full of Alessi products and Hermès dinnerware.
“Without sounding too pretentious or elevating design excessively, I believe good surroundings can make a difference to one’s wellbeing. Beauty essentially exists, not in the abundance of things, but rather in delicacy, rarity and passion,” says the designer who has returned home to New Zealand after 20 years abroad.
Wickstead will split her time between Auckland and Italy, where her just-launched home collection and knitwear label are produced. Her Herne Bay apartment, which also acts has her showroom, features bed linen, cashmere throws and tapered candles from her own collection.
If there is a classic European elegance to the decor of Wickstead’s home, it’s probably down to her DNA. Her mother is Italian, and while Wickstead was born and raised in Auckland, she’s spent most of the past two decades in Italy. Prior to returning to New Zealand, she spent 18 months in London, working alongside her daughter, fashion designer Emilia Wickstead.
Returning to the workroom was a flashback to the days when she had her own label. “I had been out of the industry for over five years and at first it felt like I was doing it for the first time, but eventually everything came back to me. Helping Emilia build her company from just a dream and a lot of hard work to what it is today has been a wonderful journey.”
While Wickstead has her own label again, this time around she has limited it to a knitwear line for both men and women. “Two clothing designers in the family is not such a good idea,” she says. “When I left Emilia Wickstead I wanted to do something for myself. I’ve always been interested in and involved with knitwear design and production, both when I had my own label and while working with Emilia. I am exposed to some of the best workrooms and finest yarns in Italy and wanted to introduce these beautiful quality pieces to other markets at an affordable price point.”
Wickstead, who has a country house in Italy, believes good design is to be enjoyed, not just admired. “Use your beautiful things every day. I set my table with beautiful linen every night, even if it’s just me at home for dinner.”
Above: Greenslade in her kitchen, where she loves to cook for friends. Right: wooden David Trubridge lights draw the eye in the bright, sunny living area.
Above: the small terrace and balcony are treated as an extension of the indoor living area. Left: Ferguson relaxes in her lounge, which has expansive views of Rangitoto and Westhaven Marina.
Above: Wickstead in her Auckland home. She is seated on a sofa by Philippe Starck for Driade. A painting by Auckland artist Hannah Jensen hangs above the fireplace. Right: the hall table displays vases of white roses, the designer’s favourite...