Sim­ply You takes a look in­side three unique homes and talks to their cre­ative own­ers.

Simply You - - Contents -

three cre­ative women share their stylish homes


If you’ve re­cently ad­mired the chic home­stag­ing in a house that’s up for sale, then chances are it’s been styled by Di­nah Malyon or one of her team. The pow­er­house be­hind Auckland-based dmi Homestagers has been cre­at­ing glam­orous in­te­ri­ors to suit a broad range of clients for more than 18 years – long be­fore home­stag­ing be­came de rigueur. Nat­u­rally then, Malyon’s own sense of style is well-honed and her New­mar­ket house, which she shares with part­ner Ste­wart Wat­son, is the per­fect mix of el­e­gance and com­fort. How­ever, it is not with­out per­son­al­ity. “Us­ing com­po­nents that work to­gether to cre­ate a story is the key to suc­cess­ful in­te­ri­ors,” she says.

Her busi­ness, which also in­cludes in­te­rior de­sign and pro­ject man­age­ment, is hugely suc­cess­ful, due in part to Malyon’s abil­ity to un­der­stand what her clients need and cus­tomise the of­fer­ing ac­cord­ingly, and to her fab­u­lous col­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture, fur­nish­ings and ac­ces­sories amassed over more than 20 years and stored in her large Par­nell ware­house.

With a home on Wai­heke Is­land, Malyon needed an ur­ban base and she liked the lo­ca­tion, char­ac­ter and view of this three-bed­room, three-bath­room town­house. “I ren­o­vated the whole house – light­ing, bath­rooms, kitchen, floor­ing and the out­doors,” she says. Get­ting the light­ing right in any space is tricky and her choices, which vary in style and size from room to room, are care­fully cu­rated and add a con­tem­po­rary edge. Pen­dants are a favourite and she has hung them at dif­fer­ent heights and, as with the three in one of the bath­rooms, in groups for added in­ter­est.

By stick­ing to a neu­tral base and adding pops of colour through art­works, fab­rics and fur­ni­ture, along with a mix of tex­tures in­clud­ing mar­ble and sisal, she has cre­ated a bolt­hole that “makes us happy to come home to”.


Sarah Kavali is in­spired on a daily ba­sis by her work as a cre­ative di­rec­tor, which means her home is in a con­stant state of style evo­lu­tion. “I’m al­ways shift­ing fur­ni­ture around and mov­ing ob­jects – much to my hus­band Daniel’s de­light!” she laughs. “I’m al­ways re­com­pos­ing rooms and spa­ces in my quest for vis­ual har­mony.”

Home for the cou­ple is the iconic May­fair build­ing in Par­nell, Auckland. Com­pleted in 1929, it acts as a plat­form for Kavali to flex her cre­ative ideas. “It has such char­ac­ter and flair,” she says of the two-bed­room apart­ment. “The high stud, curved ceil­ings, sash win­dows and tim­ber ar­chi­traves give it at­mos­phere. I love be­ing able to mix her­itage and his­tory with mod­ern decor.

“I’m at­tracted to items with a strong sense of per­son­al­ity and I like pair­ing th­ese pieces in a way that’s a lit­tle bit off­beat. At the same time, I’m drawn to sub­tle sym­me­tries and strong ground­ing pieces of fur­ni­ture that pro­vide the per­fect play­ground for the lit­tle pieces that add the pops of ‘wow’.”

Kavali dares to be dif­fer­ent by us­ing spir­ited hues for eye-pop­ping im­pact. “I’m not afraid to try some­thing new for a few days, then rear­range it if it’s not work­ing. Some­times I re­ally en­joy see­ing a bit of a clash of colour and tex­ture; some­thing a lit­tle bit un­ex­pected, but equally in­ter­est­ing and en­gag­ing.”

Cre­at­ing a look that re­flects her style both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally is im­por­tant to her, as the apart­ment does dou­ble duty as her workspace and home. “I love work­ing from here. I shift from the stu­dio to the lounge, whether it’s the couch or the din­ing ta­ble, or per­haps pore over work laid out on the floor. I’m lucky enough to be in my dream job, where work doesn’t feel like work. It’s a life­style.”


It’s a bit of a weird house, as we don’t have open­plan liv­ing. We wanted a whole bunch of lit­tle spa­ces that we could use for dif­fer­ent things, so we de­lib­er­ately made them smaller to have more of them,” says Natalie Parke of the Auckland home she and her hus­band Gerry built. “I’m not a fan of open-plan liv­ing.” De­signed by ar­chi­tect Dominic Gla­muz­ina and built two years ago, the nine-roomed West­mere house is also home for their five-year-old daugh­ter Cassie, two-year-old son Oren, cat Basil and dog Benny. The in­te­ri­ors are tes­ta­ment to Parke’s per­sonal style, which is be­hind the suc­cess of her de­sign con­sul­tancy Des­sein Parke, set up last year.

“My style is eclec­tic. It doesn’t all have to come from the same place. It’s all about bal­ance,” she ex­plains. “I be­lieve in buy­ing one or two in­vest­ment pieces that you then de­sign ev­ery­thing else around. It’s also about not be­ing afraid to throw in ran­dom things that might clash.”

Heir­loom pieces, items bought on Trade Me and then re­vamped and lots of art­works add to the in­di­vid­u­al­ity Parke is seek­ing. She en­cour­ages peo­ple to dis­play china and knick-knacks rather than keep­ing them hid­den in cup­boards. The glass-fronted cab­i­net in the kitchen/din­ing area, bought from Vitrine in Auckland, pro­vides the per­fect show­case for her col­lec­tions, many in­her­ited from her grand­mother. “My grand­par­ents were avid col­lec­tors and I’ve in­her­ited that. Peo­ple don’t dis­play things any more which is a shame.”

Un­der the Des­sein Parke brand, she is cur­rently work­ing on an apart­ment com­plex near her home and a beach house. She is also de­sign­ing a line of fur­ni­ture,+++ in­clud­ing mir­rors, chairs, stools and ta­bles made from re­cy­cled plas­tic pan­els, steel and lu­cite. “I’m ob­sessed with in­no­va­tive, new ma­te­rial,” she says. Due out next year, the range will def­i­nitely

With doors open­ing from the kitchen and liv­ing ar­eas to the out­side, Malyon’s New­mar­ket town­house is well-suited to en­ter­tain­ing. She bought the out­door fur­ni­ture from a com­pany that has since closed. Right: The vel­vet arm­chairs are from Italy, the cush­ions are An­drew Martin and the ze­bra rug is from South Africa.

Above left: Cre­at­ing a look that re­flects her style both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally is im­por­tant to Kavali, as the apart­ment’s sec­ond bed­room is her stu­dio. The desk, her own de­sign, fea­tures cus­tom-made tres­tle legs topped with glass. The lamps are from Bun­nings. ‘Re­al­ity Bank in the Form of a Pig’, by Harry Allen for Areaware, adds a flash of metal­lic to the room.

Above right: The en­trance lobby is one of Kavali’s favourite rooms. “It’s very small but I love the colour com­bi­na­tions: black and white floor tiles, blue and white walls, cream floor-to­ceil­ing cup­boards and a wooden and glass-pan­eled door lead­ing to the liv­ing area.” Left: A solid foun­da­tion is key, says Kavali, be­cause all the other facets change. “New pieces are al­ways tak­ing front and cen­tre.”

Above: The pat­terned wall­pa­per in the mas­ter bed­room is by Thibaut from Icon Tex­tiles. “It works re­ally well on just one wall as there is art on the other walls. It’s all about cre­at­ing a bal­ance,” Parke says. The lights are from Mr. Ralph and the linen bed linen from Alex & Cor­ban. She had builders make the li­brary lad­der which leads to a mez­za­nine space above the bed. Above right: The por­trait of ac­tor and friend Karl Bur­nett was done by Parke’s hus­band Gerry and the other paint­ing is by Jae Hoon Lee. The side­board was her grand­mother’s and she bought the chair off Trade Me.

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