Happy thoughts

A “happy, homely and com­fort­able” makeover in Auck­land’s Herne Bay

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Text by Cather­ine Steel. Pho­tog­ra­phy by He­len Bankers.

1 | WHAT A FEEL­ING “Happy, homely and com­fort­able” was how Felic­ity Bon­ham summed it up when she briefed her in­te­rior de­signer on how she wanted her new home to feel. Felic­ity and hus­band Si­mon Neal bought their villa in Auck­land’s Herne Bay in 2011 and started ren­o­vat­ing at the end of 2014, en­gag­ing Tomi Wil­liams of Indigo De­sign to help cre­ate the in­te­rior. “In­stead of de­cid­ing on one par­tic­u­lar style, such as Scan­di­na­vian or retro, we had a whole lot of words re­lat­ing to how we wanted our house to feel,” Felic­ity says. “We wanted a place where peo­ple could con­nect.” The whole house was re­worked, but their main goals were easy ac­cess to the back­yard, de­cent stor­age and a new kitchen.

2 | WHAT THEY CHANGED The rooms at the back of the house were partly closed off from each other, which re­stricted the flow of the in­te­rior. The cou­ple wanted to trans­form the dated villa by open­ing up these spa­ces and cre­at­ing a fam­ily-friendly home with a main bed­room (in­clud­ing en­suite and walk-in wardrobe), bed­rooms for daugh­ters Har­riet and Is­abelle, a playroom, main bath­room and an open-plan liv­ing area. A sep­a­rate laun­dry and a kids’ art and crafts room which would open off the liv­ing space were also part of the plan.

3 | PLAN­NING Con­cept draw­ings were pro­duced which in­volved de­mol­ish­ing the back half of the house and build­ing an ex­ten­sion on a lower level with direct ac­cess to the back lawn. Once Tomi had made some tweaks, the plans were fi­nalised and build­ing work got un­der way. Mean­while, Tomi put to­gether a ‘look­book’ for Felic­ity and Si­mon based on how they wanted the house to feel.

4 | LAY­OUT While a new lay­out was put in place at the back of the house, the front stayed much the same. The only changes were the repo­si­tion­ing of a sin­gle wall in each of the three front bed­rooms and playroom to make space for wardrobes and a larger en­suite and walk-in wardrobe in the main bed­room.

The main bath­room was made a lit­tle big­ger and more lux­u­ri­ous by ex­tend­ing it to the hall­way and re­work­ing it as a wet room.

The new floor­plan in­cludes a cen­tral hall­way lead­ing down the length of the house, some­thing the old villa lacked, with dou­ble doors added half­way along – ef­fec­tively sep­a­rat­ing the old and new parts of the house – to shut off any noise from the liv­ing area at night. Be­ing glass, how­ever, there is still a sense of con­ti­nu­ity and con­nec­tion even when the doors are closed.

The hall­way drops down a few steps into the open-plan kitchen, din­ing and lounge, al­low­ing a gor­geous vista of the liv­ing area and back­yard from the en­trance. Har­riet and Is­abelle’s crafts room, which lies off to the side, is the per­fect spot for them to play, draw and cre­ate with­out in­ter­rupt­ing the adults. It can be closed off from the lounge with a floor-to-ceil­ing glass door, which dou­bles as a cover for a large book­shelf, so the girls can have some pri­vacy while still feel­ing part of the com­mu­nal area. From the liv­ing space, large glass slid­ing doors open onto a shel­tered deck, which steps down to a grassed area. Sky­lights over­head and slats in the walls around the deck al­low sun­light to feed through while pro­vid­ing screen­ing from the neigh­bours.

5 | FI­NAL TOUCHES One as­pect that stands out about this home is its bold way with colour. Felic­ity and Si­mon have wel­comed it into their home and used it to make a state­ment in each room. Felic­ity gave im­ages to Tomi which helped steer them to­wards their fi­nal choices, such as the lemon yel­low on the bath­room van­ity.

The shelves and cab­i­netry in the art-and­crafts room are Lego yel­low, which makes a soli­tary grass-green chair in the same set­ting all the more eye-catch­ing. In Is­abelle’s bed­room a mul­ti­coloured chan­de­lier hangs from the ceil­ing, while in Har­riet’s a jade-coloured pen­dant matches the wardrobe.

The durable sur­faces in the kitchen are in neu­tral hues, with a play on tex­ture via the square-tiled splash­back, shiny white bench­top and grey-stained oak-ve­neer cab­i­netry. Although Felic­ity and Si­mon wanted a long, rec­tan­gu­lar win­dow at the top of the kitchen wall, the coun­cil said it wasn’t in keep­ing with the villa style, so they opted for a row of small box win­dows rem­i­nis­cent of lit­tle pic­tures.

An over­hang with seat­ing has been cre­ated at one end of the kitchen is­land – rather than along the front – to avoid tak­ing space from the din­ing ta­ble. Splashes of colour add in­ter­est to the neigh­bour­ing lounge area, such as a yel­low fire sur­round paired with a sap­phire rug.

6 COM­FORT ZONE An­other bold fea­ture is the hall­way dado, painted a dark grey. “Villa halls are of­ten long, dark and not very wide,” Tomi says, “so I didn’t want to close it in with any­thing too dra­matic such as wall­pa­per or a dark colour, but I wanted some in­ter­est.” Felic­ity says Tomi brought her and Si­mon out of their com­fort zone with some of the bold colour choices: “But the pieces Tomi chal­lenged us on are the bits we now love most.”

The front of this home blends in seam­lessly on this villa-lined street, yet its mod­ern in­te­rior is one of a kind – and just as homely, happy and com­fort­able as its own­ers imag­ined.

BE­FORE

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BE­FORE

LIV­ING, KITCHEN, HALL­WAY Oc­cu­py­ing the new ex­ten­sion at the back of the villa is the open-plan liv­ing area plus an art-and-crafts room which can be closed off by a gi­ant slid­ing glass door. Colour has been in­tro­duced to the neu­tral dec­o­rat­ing pal­ette through art, ac­ces­sories and a yel­low ‘frame’ around the fire­place. A handy util­ity room lies hid­den be­hind the sleek grey and white kitchen.

BED­ROOMS Is­abelle’s cloud­cov­ered wall­pa­per, whim­si­cal chan­de­lier and a rock­ing horse (given to her mother on her first birth­day) cre­ate the ul­ti­mate lit­tle girl’s hide­away. Next door, sis­ter Har­riet’s room has a splash of bold colour with wardrobe doors painted in Re­sene ‘Green Room’ to match the Kartell pen­dant. For the main bed­room sub­tle yet rich shades were cho­sen to cre­ate a calm­ing re­treat within a busy fam­ily home.

BE­FORE

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