Modern Bo­hemia

Vis­ual artist and fash­ion la­bel co-owner Deb­o­rah Crowe takes us through the cre­ative pro­cesses and de­sign el­e­ments of her stun­ning Auck­land apart­ment.

Good - - CONTENTS - Words Leanne Moore. Pho­tog­ra­phy He­len Bankers

Step in­side a stun­ning Auck­land apart­ment

Deb­o­rah Crowe’s home is a high-rise Auck­land apart­ment that she has trans­formed into a plat­form for artis­tic ex­pres­sion and ex­plo­ration. For Crowe, creating a home is a jour­ney that lasts a life­time. In the decade since she moved into the apart­ment with her hus­band Gary, she has trans­formed it into a unique space where stay­ing power wins over pass­ing fads. The se­cret to turn­ing the apart­ment’s blank can­vas into a har­mo­nious whole is build­ing lay­ers of char­ac­ter over time, she says. Her ex­pert eye as a vis­ual artist is ev­i­dent in the mixed-up dé­cor that suc­cess­fully com­bines colours, art, fam­ily mem­o­ries and re­pur­posed ob­jects. Her colour con­fi­dence is per­haps most ev­i­dent in the en­er­gis­ing jolt of bold yel­low on a wall of the apart­ment’s open-plan kitchen, din­ing and liv­ing space.

Crowe and her busi­ness part­ner, Kim Fraser, have just re­launched their cloth­ing la­bel, Fraser Crowe. The Fraser Crowe fash­ion la­bel was ex­hib­ited in­ter­na­tion­ally and won a num­ber of New Zealand Fash­ion awards in the late 1990s in high-end wom­enswear. This time around, the la­bel main­tains its dis­tinc­tive ar­chi­tec­tural ref­er­ences but it has a new em­pha­sis on the en­vi­ron­ment and eth­i­cal is­sues in the cloth­ing in­dus­try. “Fraser Crowe pushes against trend-fo­cused fash­ion, thinks about the fu­ture of the planet, and de­signs cloth­ing that feels gor­geous to wear,” says Crowe.

A for­mer se­nior lec­turer in art and de­sign, Crowe has worked from her stu­dio in an his­toric build­ing on Pon­sonby Rd, five min­utes walk from the apart­ment, for about nine years. “I love liv­ing just off K Rd. There’s a great buzz of cre­ative ac­tiv­ity, West­ern Park is close and there’s al­ways some­thing go­ing on. The com­mu­nity has an open-mind­ed­ness and when I’m walk­ing or cy­cling around our neigh­bour­hood I al­ways find some­thing that makes me smile.”

Con­sis­tency The jux­ta­po­si­tion of op­po­sites, a kind of du­al­ity or putting things to­gether with po­ten­tial dou­ble mean­ing seems quite con­sis­tent. For in­stance, the fur­ni­ture in our liv­ing room is mostly sim­ple and modern but the cream chaise with its curvy legs and or­nate carv­ing cre­ates a play­ful con­trast. That cor­ner is a great foil to the more sober pieces and ar­eas in the liv­ing space – a se­ri­ous tone with a bit of folly thrown in. I like the idea of be­ing in­formed about de­sign – which comes from be­ing trained in de­sign his­tory years ago – but also not tak­ing my­self too se­ri­ously. In fact, maybe the one con­sis­tent theme through­out our apart­ment is its in­con­sis­tency: a kind of eclec­ti­cism.

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