CAPTAIN PLAN IT
The renovated home of a sea captain and an interior designer in Nelson combines seaworthy materials with stylish homeware
Nelsonians Johnny and Ana Stevenson were on the lookout for an easy-to-care-for family home in central Nelson when they chanced upon a two-storey duplex just 300 metres down the road from their youngest son’s school. It was plain and basic, comprising a flat on each level, but the family saw potential in it right away. Working with Tony Karsten of Karsten Architectural Design, they transformed the two apartments into one seamless modern home in keeping with their contemporary-with-an-industrial-twist brief. “The transformation of the house is quite immense,” says Tony.
Johnny and Ana add, “We are really proud of the finished product, and the feel and look of the property is just what we imagined when we first bought it as an ugly duckling four years ago.”
On the ground floor, a rabbit warren of rooms was removed to create an open-plan living area with a standout kitchen. A steel beam that replaced a load-bearing wall was left exposed to show off the structure of the home. It also mirrors the steel pergolas in the outdoor entertaining areas – two courtyards, one on either side of this zone. Tactfully, all bedrooms are tucked upstairs out of sight of clients visiting Ana, an interior designer and stager who runs her own company, Open Home Ready.
Council planning restrictions were a spanner in the works that caused adjustments. “There are always compromises to be made. I enjoy the challenge of achieving what I envisaged, even if it had to come out of plan B… or sometimes F,” laughs Ana.
To add to the contemporary and carefree feel of the home, James Hardie products were used on the exterior. In fact, the original 1980s James Hardie weatherboards on the top floor were in such good condition they only needed a lick of paint. The boards match the new James Hardie ExoTec Facade Panels on the lower levels and gables, a budget-friendly feature in lieu of changing the whole structure. “We saved hugely by not changing the roof pitch,” say the homeowners. “The ExoTec adds graphic lines and the cavity system gives peace of mind regarding weatherproofing.”
Two large windows on the street front were artfully screened by a fibreglass mesh typically used for walkways on commercial fishing boats operating out of Nelson Harbour, where sea captain Johnny works. James Hardie HardieFlex was used to create the fins for the screens. “A very versatile product for building small features,” says Tony. “[With the screens,] it creates a stealth profile and introduces some square contemporary forms to the exterior.”
ON THE LOOKOUT
Shortly before the Stevensons moved in, Ana, who shares a love of painting with daughter Mia, had completed a series of artworks inspired by the landscape of the Marlborough Sounds – “quite dark and moody” – and this was the inspiration behind her colour palette of black, sienna and umber tones, followed strictly to ensure continuity and flow both inside and outside the home.
The interior walls are kept neutral to act as a blank canvas for art, and the homeware is a proud mixture of items sourced from high-end design shops, cheap and cheerful chain stores and vintage outlets, including the Eclectic Antique Centre in Nelson.
A major splurge was the matte-finish kitchen with a honed granite benchtop – “I love having the most usable ergonomic kitchen… and it looks fabulous,” says Ana. Although she’s feeling right at home, the interior designer admits she may be jumping ship soon. “We love what we’ve achieved but I’m not good with a finished project and I’m always keen to move on to the next!”
MEET + GREETJohnny Stevenson, 59 (sea captain), Ana Stevenson, 50 (interior stylist/home-stager), Mia, 20, Gabe, 17, and Lennox, 10, plus miniature bulldogs Pablo and Frida, and ‘Miradoll’ cat Austin.
EXTERIOR The James Hardie weatherboards on the top floor were more than 30 years old, but only needed a quick paint to match the James Hardie ExoTec Facade Panel on the roof’s gable ends.
COLOUR Interior designer Ana created a moody tonal palette for her renovated home, which was inspired by artworks she’d painted of the Marlborough Sounds.