Colour­ful and eclec­tic in Auck­land’s River­head

Af­ter liv­ing in 10 houses within the past nine years, the Adding fam­ily are thrilled to have found a place to call their own in River­head

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Text by An­nick Larkin. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Tom Hol­lows.

You may be fa­mil­iar with in­te­rior de­sign stu­dio Miss Lolo, where hand­crafted fur­ni­ture pieces pro­duced here in New Zealand blur the line be­tween func­tion and art. How­ever, you will be less fa­mil­iar with the face be­hind the brand: Tamzyn Adding, an as­tute busi­ness­woman who is also a mother to five young­sters.

Tamzyn isn’t the only craftsper­son in her house. She’s mar­ried to builder Ben who owns a con­struc­tion com­pany, so it’s no sur­prise that the pair are se­rial ren­o­va­tors. In fact, they are so used to mov­ing and ren­o­vat­ing that De­cem­ber 2017 marks the first time they will have spent two con­sec­u­tive Christ­mases in the same home.


Tamzyn and Ben have lived in a whop­ping 10 dif­fer­ent homes in the past nine years, the eighth of which was their first home pur­chase three years ago. They bought, ren­o­vated and sold homes eight and nine in the hopes of mak­ing enough money to buy in an area where they really wanted to live. The last prop­erty the cou­ple ren­o­vated was in Matakana, an hour’s drive north of Auck­land. To min­imise dis­rup­tion, the kids re­mained at their school in Coatesville and Tamzyn drove them an hour to school in the morn­ings, worked on build­ing her busi­ness dur­ing school hours (some­times while sit­ting in the school car park), then drove ev­ery­one home in the af­ter­noons. When the fam­ily’s prop­erty in Matakana was sold, the Ad­dings were fi­nally able to cash in on all their hard work.

Within a mat­ter of weeks they had bought their cur­rent home, a new-build in River­head in the up­per Waitem­ata Har­bour with views across farm­land and wa­ter. Even bet­ter for Tamzyn is the fact it is now only a five-minute drive to school and 20 min­utes to the Miss Lolo show­room in Herne Bay.


Tamzyn’s love of art and colour and her flair for de­sign is ev­ery­where in her home. From over­sized art­work by graf­fiti artists Charles and Ja­nine Wil­liams in the en­try­way to the striped hall­way and bold geo­met­ric-painted walls, this is a wel­com­ing home brim­ming with in­ter­est­ing ob­jects, state­ment pieces of fur­ni­ture and a col­lec­tion of con­tem­po­rary art.

“Our house is quirky, colour­ful and eclec­tic,” says Tamzyn. “As we’d al­ways ren­o­vated houses to sell and make a profit, none of them had any of our per­son­al­ity. We’d done what all devel­op­ers do and kept the pal­ette neu­tral. This time around I wanted it to be ‘me’ – bright colours, bold de­sign, fun and not too se­ri­ous.” Ev­ery­thing is from Miss Lolo – her own wall­pa­pers, fur­ni­ture, drapes and ac­ces­sories – so her home is very much an ex­ten­sion of her brand. Tamzyn be­lieves strongly that Miss Lolo shouldn’t stock any­thing she wouldn’t use in her own home.


Although it was fresh and mod­ern, the new home was ini­tially de­void of per­son­al­ity. Its generic beige walls, lack of cur­tains or blinds, lonely yucca plants in the gar­den and white picket fence were the an­tithe­sis of the bold, bright aes­thetic Miss Lolo is known for.

Tamzyn had hoped that buy­ing a new-build would mean no struc­tural work was needed, but within a few weeks Ben had re­moved the ex­ist­ing deck­ing and added a per­gola, and in­ter­nal walls had been re­moved to make bet­ter use of the in­te­rior spa­ces. “We’ve added a home of­fice, re­pur­posed one garage to cre­ate a new bed­room for Poutu, cre­ated a large wrap­around deck and added ex­ten­sive re­tain­ing at the front of the prop­erty to give us a level front lawn,” says Tamzyn.


Af­ter the big move, Miss Lolo con­tin­ued to grow to in­clude its own brand of home­ware and wall­pa­per and life seemed sweet. Then Tamzyn and Ben were thrown a curve ball. Twelve months ago Tamzyn was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer. Af­ter ex­ten­sive surgery and on­go­ing treat­ment she is now grate­ful to be can­cer free and en­joy­ing her life again.

An added joy has been the ad­di­tion of Poutu to the fam­ily af­ter the cou­ple were ap­proached to whangai (be­come cus­tom­ary foster par­ents to) the 12-year-old. “Poutu adds a won­der­ful rich­ness to our fam­ily,” says Tamzyn. So far, Poutu’s room has been her favourite to dec­o­rate. “I had loads of fun do­ing his room, which sur­prised me,” says Tamzyn. “Hav­ing four daugh­ters, I thought I’d strug­gle with a boy’s room. But once I’d se­lected the navy splat­ter-paint wall­pa­per, the rest fell into place, in­clud­ing an over­sized velvet head­board and some fun cush­ions.”


Tamzyn’s favourite space in her home is the open-plan kitchen, din­ing and ca­sual lounge area. The Ad­dings love to en­ter­tain and ev­ery Christ­mas they host a large Christ­mas Eve party for all the fam­ily. “We all love cook­ing and ev­ery­one brings a plate, from com­pletely over-the-top cheese plat­ters, shrimp cocktails and Viet­namese rice-pa­per rolls to mouth­wa­ter­ing bar­be­cued eye fillet and gar­lic but­ter. There is al­ways plenty of bub­bles for the adults and grape juice (also re­ferred to as ‘kids’ wine’) for the chil­dren,” says Tamzyn.

It’s been a long jour­ney for this large mod­ern fam­ily, but fi­nally they’ve found a place to land – at least for now. Af­ter a year of highs and lows, a joy­ous Kiwi Christ­mas is just what the doc­tor or­dered and, Tamzyn, we wish you a very good one. •

Find the things you love from this home on page 168.

Choose a bold pat­tern to up­hol­ster your so­fas then se­lect one of the pri­mary colours from your pat­tern to ac­ces­sorise your room.

Cre­ate a liv­ing cen­tre­piece for your ta­ble by drap­ing plants over a climb­ing frame and dec­o­rat­ing the frame and the plates

with flow­ers.

KITCHEN The Adding kitchen uses char­coal as an ac­cent but hot pink is still present in ac­ces­sories and on a nar­row fea­ture wall.

State­ment wall­pa­per doesn’t have to be bright – a whim­si­cal mo­tif in neu­tral colours can in­tro­duce a sense of fun with­out be­ing



A cool and calm base pal­ette is warmed up with cosy sheep­skins, colour­ful cush­ions and rosy read­ing lights.

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