Homestyle New Zealand - - STYLE -

Toni took her time find­ing a dream home to in­vest in, stick­ing to a tight bud­get and a strict list of cri­te­ria to be ticked off. But when her real es­tate agent took her to visit a 50m2, twobed­room unit in San­dring­ham, she knew it was the one as soon as she walked in the door. On the top floor of a block of 1970s units, with lots of win­dows let­ting in light and giv­ing a great view right through to the Sky Tower, it was pri­vate, spa­cious and filled with pos­si­bil­ity.

Given the keys the day be­fore she went north for Christ­mas, Toni re­turned in early Jan­uary 2017 ready to roll. Ral­ly­ing her par­ents and a bunch of friends for an in­tense work­ing bee, they sanded, stripped, ripped up car­pet, sprayed mould, painted, bogged up rot­ten bits and fixed up leaks.

She says she found ren­o­vat­ing her own home quite different to work­ing on client briefs, es­pe­cially as she was work­ing to a tight sched­ule. “I had two weeks to turn around the main de­ci­sions on cur­tains, floor­ing and paint colours. It wasn’t like a typ­i­cal de­sign project as I had to make snap de­ci­sions, so I based them on what I knew had worked on other projects.”

A favourite de­sign fea­ture is the pol­ished con­crete floor­ing. “On my first visit to the house, I pulled back the car­pet and dis­cov­ered rough con­crete. I was so ex­cited I qui­etly put the car­pet back down and didn’t say a word – it was like find­ing gold. Hav­ing one •

fin­ish through­out the liv­ing and din­ing area cre­ates con­ti­nu­ity, which I pre­fer to dis­jointed ar­eas of car­pet and vinyl or wood.”

The floor­ing was a job Toni left to the ex­perts, along with the pa­tio deck­ing, which was un­der­taken by Liv’s builder hus­band, Dave. But she saved money on labour by do­ing most of the al­ter­ations her­self, which bal­anced out the ex­pense of some big-ticket up­dates: re­plac­ing the roof, in­su­lat­ing, and in­stalling a new hot wa­ter cylin­der and a heat pump.

“Al­though they’re not aes­thet­i­cally ben­e­fi­cial changes, they make a ma­jor dif­fer­ence to my en­joy­ment of the home,” says Toni. “I saved money where I could – my mum and I sewed linen cur­tains for the en­tire house, and to save on re­plac­ing the kitchen, I used Re­sene Water­borne Smooth Sur­face Sealer to cover the dated Mel­teca cab­i­netry.”

As a house­warm­ing gift, Liv’s brother Tim Harper and his wife Tali gave Toni a pot of Re­sene Blanched Pink paint, which she used to paint her front door, the fi­nal flour­ish on a home that’s now dis­tinctly hers. “I don’t buy things that are on trend, and I know what I like,” she says of her style. “When I see some­thing I love, I buy it and trea­sure it for a long time. I’d had some of my light fit­tings stored away for years while I was flat­ting, wait­ing for the day when I could use them in my own home.”

All that hard work was well worth it in the end. “I love get­ting home after a long day and see­ing the last of the evening sun stream­ing into my lounge,” says Toni. “There’s noth­ing quite as sat­is­fy­ing as know­ing this is mine and I did it my­self.” •

TOP LEFT Toni at the pretty pink front door of her re­vamped home. The bronze Wood­pecker door knocker is from An­thro­polo­gie – Toni had a friend bring it with her from the US when she came back to New Zealand for her an­nual sum­mer hol­i­day. ABOVE A ta­ble from Back­house sits on the Vi­tex deck with sec­ond­hand chairs from Instagram store @the­goodswe­found. LEFT This an­tique wal­nut side ta­ble is home to tim­ber bowls made by Toni’s grand­fa­ther and a col­lec­tion of pot­tery that in­cludes pieces she made her­self.

ABOVE & RIGHT The bam­boo lat­tice pen­dant lights in the main bed­room (above) and guest room (right) are part of Ilse Craw­ford’s Sin­nerlig range for Ikea. “Liv and I spot­ted them while on an in­spi­ra­tion trip to Mel­bourne the year be­fore I bought my house, and I lugged them back as over­sized lug­gage,” says Toni. She made the cur­tains in her room from Mokum’s Mag­no­lia fab­ric and opted for Vene­tian blinds in the pe­tite guest room as they fit cleanly within the win­dow frame. TOP RIGHT The kitchen’s retro To­mado modular shelv­ing sys­tem from Mr Big­gleswor­thy has vis­ual ap­peal and cre­ates ex­tra stor­age space. A Tosca un­der-shelf tool hanger by Ya­mazaki from Fa­ther Rab­bit is a nifty ad­di­tion.

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