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