A Home Call­ing /

Jenna Broad has built a busi­ness and a way of life around lis­ten­ing to her heart and do­ing what makes her feel happy. Her home is an in­spir­ing re­flec­tion of her zest for life.

Latitude Magazine - - CONTENTS - WORDS Kim Newth WORDS Char­lie Jack­son

Nat­u­ral colours and tex­ture blend with sim­ple, yet beau­ti­ful re­sults

Cacti and suc­cu­lents in rounded pots of all sizes cre­ate a re­laxed vibe by the front door as Jenna Broad in­vites me into her Ka­iapoi home. In­side, more beau­ti­ful suc­cu­lents are ar­ranged neatly on a cof­fee ta­ble. It’s a de­light to see how Jenna’s pas­sion for plants is ex­pressed through­out this home: chain of hearts trail­ers el­e­gantly twirl down stereo speak­ers and cus­tom draw­ers, spi­der plants dan­gle from lit­tle ta­bles and hang­ing pots, philo­den­dron cas­cades down a pantry wall and broad-leaved plants stand tall in big cor­ner pots.

Jenna, who grew up in Ran­giora, spent 11 years liv­ing in Aus­tralia and says her taste for in­door green­ery was sparked by her re­turn to New Zealand in 2015. ‘When I was liv­ing in Perth, I couldn’t keep any­thing alive – the cli­mate was too hot,’ she says. ‘It was great to be able to grow plants again here and see them thrive!’

It was in Perth that she met her hus­band Steven, a fab­ri­ca­tor by trade. As fate would have it, he was orig­i­nally from Ka­iapoi so mov­ing back here was a move home for both of them. Six months after re­turn­ing to North Can­ter­bury, Jenna launched Niche Gifts in Ran­giora’s Con­way Lane.

‘I’m a real home­body and have al­ways been into home­wares, or­ganic ma­te­ri­als and things that make you feel good. It’s some­thing I’ve long had a pas­sion for and I al­ways dreamed of set­ting up a gifts and home­wares store, stocked with things that peo­ple would love. My hus­band to­tally backed the idea and per­suaded me that the time was right to do it. When a spot came up in Con­way Lane he said, “We’ll take it!” so I got thrown into it there and then!’

Rather than fol­low­ing trends or pick­ing stock from trade fairs, Jenna has learned to trust her own aes­thetic judge­ment when sourc­ing items for Niche. She is a tal­ented artist in her own right, who loves cre­at­ing ab­stract works in acrylic or wa­ter­colour. As she re­calls, art was the one sub­ject at which she ex­celled at school. In Aus­tralia, she worked at a va­ri­ety of jobs in­clud­ing in cafés and colour con­sult­ing, with that ex­pe­ri­ence fur­ther hon­ing her eye for colour/in­te­ri­ors.

At home, her ap­proach to fur­nish­ing in­volves plan­ning spaces, room by room. In the main liv­ing area, she and Steven started with a com­fort­able cor­ner suite in a soft grey. ‘I love my greys and that nat­u­ral look, be­cause you can then add a bright throw if you want to; it’s much eas­ier to change things up. We then added a big­ger leather suite to make more of a state­ment, while still keep­ing with that nat­u­ral theme. The plants tie ev­ery­thing to­gether.’

Lay­er­ing with soft fur­nish­ings – throws and cush­ions – is some­thing Jenna really en­joys, in terms of how this can trans­form a space. The sim­ple tim­ber din­ing ta­ble also has chairs in grey – ‘Steven loves the di­a­mond stitch in those’ – com­ple­mented by bench seat­ing.

Art se­lected for dis­play in­cludes her own work, a Ruben Ire­land print ( Mar­i­anna), hand-painted man­dalas by lo­cal artist In­dia Waters and a Pablo Pi­casso print ( Head of a

Woman). Her favourite art piece is a strik­ing work by Dan­ish artist Leise Dich Abra­ham­sen ( Curves), com­prised of a series of ab­stract wavy lines.

Old and new el­e­ments are used in­ter­change­ably in their home. Jenna says Steven of­ten drives her around se­cond-hand shops and garage sales in search of trea­sures. Finds in­clude an old cane magazine rack for a study nook and a pre-loved cane head­board that they picked up from a garage sale for $ 20. A se­cond-hand pi­ano stool cov­ered with new fab­ric serves as a side ta­ble in the liv­ing room and on the other side of the room is an old leather-topped stool. A macramé cre­ation hang­ing down one wall was a gift from Jenna’s mum, Gail.

‘I think it’s im­por­tant to choose things that bring you joy, whether that’s be­cause it’s con­nected with a good mem­ory or it’s some­thing you’ve fallen in love with. If you love some­thing, you’ll find a space for it.’

A pair of brass swan bookends is Jenna’s favourite sec­ond­hand find. ‘I found them in this mas­sive old ware­house. They were com­pletely black. I loved them as they were, but Steven then pol­ished them up for me and they look ab­so­lutely gor­geous.’

In the liv­ing room are clues to what has in­flu­enced

Jenna’s think­ing. On the cof­fee ta­ble is a book ti­tled WabiSabi Wel­come, ref­er­enc­ing the Ja­panese con­cept that hon­ours nat­u­ral im­per­fec­tion and simplicity. Shar­ing space on the ta­ble is a rus­tic pine bowl by Ran­giora wood­turner Noel Gra­ham that per­fectly em­bod­ies that phi­los­o­phy.

Jenna has been guided by the things that she loves at Niche to evolve to­day’s eclec­tic range of beau­ti­ful gifts, home­wares, art and in­fant cloth­ing. ‘When we were liv­ing in Aus­tralia, the bou­tiques seemed to of­fer ev­ery­thing you could want so that’s why I de­cided to in­clude some baby­wear by Jamie Kay. It has been so pop­u­lar.’

Much of her stock is sourced lo­cally with favourites in­clud­ing So­phie Store, Jamie Kay, Ever­sweet and Can­dle Co. ‘I started out with a lo­cal woman, Lee Sin­clair of Cloud Nine Jew­els, who does amaz­ing art­work and jew­ellery. We were on

‘I think it’s im­por­tant to choose things that bring you joy, whether that’s be­cause it’s con­nected with a good mem­ory or it’s some­thing you’ve fallen in love with. If you love some­thing, you’ll find a space for it.’

the same page with hav­ing our own busi­nesses – she’s al­most been like a men­tor to me.’ As well as hunt­ing for po­ten­tial new stock­ists on­line, Jenna says cus­tomers of­ten come to her with use­ful leads too. ‘Our lo­cal com­mu­nity has been very good to us.’

At home, the fo­cus for 2020 is on land­scap­ing. ‘When we bought this place, it was a re­build after the earth­quakes so it was just bare!’

Cur­rently, there is a sub­stan­tial smoker/cooker in the back­yard that Jenna says is Steven’s hand­i­work. ‘He builds bar­be­cues and is go­ing to start do­ing that as a busi­ness, which is really ex­cit­ing for us too.’

TOP LEFT / Lux­ury hand-poured NZ can­dles by Kearose and French-made Savon liq­uid soap on shelves at Niche Gifts. The print is Ca­cao Eyes by Olle Ek­sell. TOP RIGHT / Jenna stocks many lo­cal brands at Niche Gifts, in­clud­ing Lyt­tel­ton Lights’ range of nat­u­ral hand-poured soy wax can­dles. ABOVE / Or­ganic fab­rics are an­other in-store favourite for Jenna, with beau­ti­ful or­ganic cot­ton and muslin from the Jamie Kay and Eddy & Moss ranges.

Jenna at home, with her dog Bai­ley. In­door plants are a pas­sion for Jenna, who en­joys blend­ing nat­u­ral colours and tex­tures.

Jenna loves mix­ing pre-loved with new cane pieces. This side ta­ble is from Niche Gifts and the head­board was a trea­sured find at a garage sale.

ABOVE / Nat­u­ral fi­bres and tex­tures are a strong theme, favoured by Jenna both at home and through her care­ful se­lec­tion of stock.

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