My favourite space: and ‘‘more is more’’

South Waikato News - - Property - NZ HOUSE AND GAR­DEN

In So­nia Coul­ing’s cen­tury-old Wark­worth villa, bright colours res­onate on the walls and the shelves are alive with vast and var­ied col­lec­tions of trea­sures.

The house’s orig­i­nal bones re­main un­changed, how­ever. ‘‘We knew right from the start that there was no way we could al­ter the house lay­out,’’ says So­nia. ‘‘The walls are concrete – 25cm thick. Luck­ily, I in­stantly loved the high ceil­ings and large scale of the rooms, which all open off the wide cen­tral hall­way. Ev­ery day when I step in through the front door I feel en­veloped by the house; its so­lid­ity makes me feel safe.’’

But safe isn’t a guid­ing dec­o­rat­ing prin­ci­ple for So­nia. Hav­ing worked their magic on a pre­vi­ous home, a ren­o­va­tion in Auck­land’s North­cote, So­nia and her hus­band Chris were keen to breathe free-wheel­ing new life into this old house.

Pre­vi­ous own­ers of the fourbed­room villa had com­pleted ma­jor up­grades, such as the roof. The white picket fence that hugs the edge of the front gar­den and the kauri floor­boards that run through the house were also in great con­di­tion.

Else­where, how­ever, it was a dif­fer­ent story. The house had been rented out for years and a muddy mix of clash­ing colours filled ev­ery room.

‘‘The sit­ting room was def­i­nitely the worst,’’ says So­nia. ‘‘The walls were bur­gundy, with one yel­low state­ment wall. There were pur­ple cur­tains and a green car­pet. The house was a mess and didn’t feel like a home at all.’’

Not so any­more. So­nia, who works as a buyer and mer­chan­diser for vin­tage Junk & Dis­or­derly on Auck­land’s North Shore, is a tal­ented mag­pie whose ap­proach to in­te­rior de­sign falls into the max­i­mal­ist camp. ‘‘More is def­i­nitely more,’’ she says. ‘‘My house might be full, but I can al­ways find space for things that make me smile, like vin­tage signs, or my pair of plas­tic fish­mon­ger’s lob­sters.’’

The spec­ta­tors sign, from Old School Inc in Matakana, sit­ting on the liv­ing room fire­place once hung at Eden Park. The tro­phies are col­lected from junk stores.

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