Shop­ping: Artist Emma Bass’ favourite room

For flora pho­tog­ra­pher Emma Bass, home is where the art, and heart, is

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Text by Jes­sica-Belle Greer. Pho­tog­ra­phy by He­len Bankers.

Auck­land artist Emma Bass lives in a 1950s house in Auck­land’s Mt Eden with her two chil­dren, aged 17 and 9, a cat called Door­mat and a cock­atiel called Kowhai. An oa­sis of flour­ish­ing cre­ativ­ity, her lounge is a func­tional, com­fort­able and heart­warm­ing space for her to work and play in. She’s also just re­mod­elled the fire­place in ex­quis­ite earthy shades, to give the room a bit more soul.

What do you love about your home? The minute I walked into the house it felt like home. It’s open and light with easy, func­tion­ing ar­eas. I used to live across the road and I be­friended the previous own­ers. When­ever I came over for din­ner I felt like I was in a time­less space. Luck­ily, when the own­ers moved on, we were of­fered the house as a pri­vate sale. It is my sanc­tu­ary, a lov­ing home for my chil­dren and where I cre­ate my art­works. There is a won­der­ful com­mu­nity here in the old neigh­bour­hood style of chil­dren run­ning be­tween houses. I love my neigh­bours!

Why is this room so im­por­tant to you? I see my lounge as the beat­ing heart of my home. Ev­ery­thing I choose to put in it gives me joy and plea­sure. Some­how the busy life that sur­rounds me in this space gets in­fused into my works. My art­works hap­pen among all of this, cre­ated on a very hum­ble ledge in the lounge, sur­rounded by the con­stant flow of life and peo­ple. My work ap­pears to be done in a stu­dio, but in ac­tual fact it’s done amid the chaotic swirl of life.

How would you de­scribe your in­te­rior style? Eclec­tic and colour­ful. I have car­ried on the mid­cen­tury de­sign aes­thetic with my choice of fur­ni­ture, such as my retro but­toned vel­vet lounge suite, G Plan cof­fee ta­bles and Ge­orge Nel­son lamps. One of the draw­backs of a 1950s house is that, be­cause of the many large win­dows, there isn’t a huge amount of wall space to hang art. I have been col­lect­ing art since

I was 19 and I’d like to hang more of it! I re­cently com­mis­sioned my friend artist Lucy Egling­ton to paint me an un­usual por­trait of my chil­dren and I. It is a won­der­ful lit­tle paint­ing of us all leap­ing out of clouds naked (pic­tured op­po­site). It makes me laugh and re­minds me that life is not to be taken too se­ri­ously.

What’s your favourite thing to do in the room? There are many things that hap­pen in this room. Peo­ple gath­er­ing, chil­dren play­ing, yoga ses­sions, work, and lots of cre­ation. I love it be­ing full of good peo­ple laugh­ing and fill­ing it with life. It’s a piv­otal part of the house. Be­cause the lounge is north-fac­ing and has gi­ant win­dows, it is bathed in all-day sun. On

win­ter evenings our glow­ing open fire be­comes the soul of the room. I just wish I had more time to sit and stare into space and en­joy some quiet­ness. One day.

What home­ware stores do you fre­quent?

My brother and his fam­ily live in Nel­son so when­ever I visit them I go to a few lit­tle an­tique stores. Eclec­tic An­tique Cen­tre is bril­liant and Rich­mond has a few gems.

What colour is on the walls? The walls are sim­ple in Re­sene ‘Sea Fog’ white, a good neu­tral tone to off­set all the colour and com­plex­i­ties. We have a very old kids’ height chart on one of the walls, which stops me fresh­en­ing up the room with a lick of paint. Do you change the decor in this room of­ten?

I do keep adding more to the room, in­clud­ing a lovely cou­ple of couches I had made by Forma re­cently. They are my favourite colour of bluey green and are a peace­ful place to sit. I couldn’t re­sist sprin­kling them with floral cush­ions – I found some spe­cial ones at Ti­morous Beast­ies and Lib­erty. I usu­ally have large ar­range­ments of flow­ers, which can change the mood of the space, depend­ing on the size and colour.

What would be your ad­vice to some­one re­dec­o­rat­ing? Sur­round your­self with decor that makes you happy. Don’t try to sub­scribe to a for­mula. Make it about you and your per­son­al­ity. It should be your sanc­tu­ary. Emma Bass’ new art­works, along with those of three other artists, can be found at the Par­nell Gallery Flower Show ex­hi­bi­tion in Auck­land, Septem­ber 11-25.

Tell us about your fire­place.It is a square, brick fire­place typ­i­cal of the 1950s with a raised hearth, and it’s the fo­cal point of my lounge. It used to have theorig­i­nal raw bricks and I strug­gled for years to re­main a purist – but it was time for achange. I painted it three dif­fer­ent colours be­fore I set­tled on Re­sene ‘Half Pavlova’. It’s calm­ing and sets off my new hearth, which is an ex­quis­ite In­dian mar­ble in earthy shades of green and brown. It jumped out at me when I was search­ing for stone at Ital­ian Stone. It was the per­fect fit and sits like a jewel inthe mid­dle of my lounge.

What are your favourite home­ware pieces here? Well, of course I would have tosay my vases. I have a vast col­lec­tion amassed from all overthe world. I used to scour sec­ond­hand stores, but have found these di­min­ish­ing as on­line sell­ing be­comes more preva­lent. I am now an eBay afi­cionado, some­thing I have to tem­per a bit as I’m run­ning out of space in my house. I love the fact that the vases’ dis­play cab­i­net cost just $30 onTrade Me.

LEFT Emma’s work show­cases her unique col­lec­tion of vases. RIGHT A paint­ing by friend Lucy Egling­ton.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.