The ren­o­vated home of a sea cap­tain and an in­te­rior de­signer in Nel­son com­bines sea­wor­thy ma­te­ri­als with stylish home­ware

Your Home and Garden - - Your Renovation - Text by Jes­sica-Belle Greer. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Sa­muel Hart­nett.


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.”


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.

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