This gi­ant ware­house re­veals it­self as a se­ries of beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated spa­ces, each with its own nar­ra­tive.

Homestyle New Zealand - - CONTENTS - PHOTOGR APHY Dun­can Innes WORDS Holly Jean Brooker


is a Kiwi favourite, one that Auck­land’s Jenny and Sam Porter have en­joyed in var­i­ous forms over the years. But dur­ing their re­cent search for a new place to live, they de­cided to go for some­thing out­side the box.

“We weren’t ex­actly sure what we wanted, but we knew what we didn’t want: an­other villa,” says Jen. “When our agent con­tacted us to give us the heads-up that this home was go­ing to be listed that week, we vis­ited it im­me­di­ately and bought it that night.”

The 200m2 Grey Lynn dwelling was less of a house and more of a ware­house. Pre­vi­ously a me­chan­ics’ work­shop, it had been con­verted into a large, open-plan cen­tral liv­ing and din­ing space with in­ter­nal glass doors lead­ing to an of­fice, an­other liv­ing space, a kitchen and a for­mal din­ing room. Wide slid­ing doors flood the high-ceilinged space with nat­u­ral light that flows through to the rear wall and up to the mez­za­nine level. Here, the master bed­room is perched above a floating stair­case and a door leads to an ad­di­tional zone with more bed­rooms, a bath­room and yet an­other liv­ing space with a sec­ond kitchen.

Rem­i­nis­cent of a New York loft, the black­steel and con­crete home cre­ates a dra­matic im­pres­sion and is the per­fect back­drop for the cou­ple’s ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture and art. “The pre­vi­ous owner kept it very simple to show off the in­dus­trial style,” says Jen. “It was such an easy home to move into and make our own.”

To soften the in­dus­trial aes­thetic, Jen has com­bined leather couches, vel­vet chairs, rugs and stacks of cush­ions that en­cour­age a cosier feel. Her love of ren­o­vat­ing vin­tage pieces and part­ner­ing them with more con­tem­po­rary pur­chases cre­ates a beau­ti­ful •

contrast. With an eye for unique finds, she knows what she likes and doesn’t fol­low trends. “Al­though there’s a lot of black and white in this house, I am in­spired by colour, flow­ers and art. There are a hand­ful of artists whose work I just love, in­clud­ing Jes­sica Pear­less, Philippa Blair and Shane Bow­den.”

Al­though Jen and Sam’s two chil­dren at­tend school on the other side of town, the pros of the home out­weigh the daily com­mute for the school run. The public park next door is a high­light for the kids, and Jen, an avid cook, is a daily vis­i­tor to nearby food store Farro Fresh. “I seriously think I should in­vest in shares!” she laughs.

Cook­ing for guests is one of her favourite pas­times, and the spa­cious kitchen pro­vides a lux­u­ri­ous en­vi­ron­ment in which to do so. “Jen al­ways has some­thing in the oven, just in case peo­ple pop in,” says Sam. “She reck­ons she doesn’t want any­one leav­ing our house hun­gry, but there’s re­ally no risk of that.”

In fact, they both love to throw a good party, and the ca­sual liv­ing and din­ing area sees reg­u­lar gath­er­ings of mates, whereas the for­mal din­ing room is per­fect for en­ter­tain­ing in a more in­ti­mate set­ting. The home is spa­cious enough to com­fort­ably ac­com­mo­date overnight guests, and at­tached to the far side are two three-storey town­houses that the cou­ple rent out – one to per­ma­nent ten­ants and the other on Airbnb.

Life is cer­tainly good for the Porters right now, but it was the long-term ben­e­fits of the prop­erty that were the clincher. “We feel like this home is fu­ture-proofed,” says Jen. “We love that there’s an­other wing with an ad­di­tional liv­ing area and kitchen and ex­ter­nal ac­cess, so the kids will be able to en­joy their own space in their teenage years and be­yond.”


ABOVE In the ca­sual din­ing area, a wild bunch of f low­ers from the gar­den pret­ti­fies a side­board from French Coun­try Col­lec­tions. The red Vic­to­ria Ghost chair is by Kartell. LEFT This liv­ing area near the stairs is dec­o­rated with a sofa from Daw­son & Co, and leather chairs and an ot­toman bought in Sri Lanka. A side ta­ble from French Coun­try Col­lec­tions, a coffee ta­ble made in the Coro­man­del from kauri tim­ber and an art­work by Micky Du­rang round out the scene. OP­PO­SITE A pair of plush vel­vet Knox chairs from French Coun­try Col­lec­tions cre­ates a quiet con­ver­sa­tion zone be­side the wood-burn­ing fire. The coffee ta­ble is from Città and the art­work is by Philippa Blair.

ABOVE The Tulip ta­ble in the ca­sual din­ing area is from French Coun­try Col­lec­tions, and the sculp­ture on it is by Bron­wynne Cor­nish; it was a gift to Jen from Sam when Amelia was born. RIGHT The for­mal din­ing ta­ble was also a gift – this time from some dear friends. It’s teamed with more Vic­to­ria Ghost chairs by Kartell. FAR RIGHT In the master bed­room, Fred the cat passes the time on the Wal­lace Cot­ton du­vet and throw from Città. The blue cush­ions are by Sheri­dan, and the pink cush­ion and bed­side lamp are also Città finds. Dec­o­rat­ing the wall are pho­tos taken by Jen and one of the chil­dren’s nan­nies.

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