Feeling at home

From Habitat magazine - issue 27, spring/summer 2017


Author and avid upcycler Sarah Heeringa muses on what makes a home.

Homes provide a retreat from the world outside; a private space underpinning our sense of wellbeing and self-expression. “Some houses feel impersonal, others inviting. I’m fascinated by how the interior elements come together to create a feeling of home,” says author and stylist Sarah Heeringa.

The most intriguing and attractive homes, says Sarah, typically reveal something about the personalities and stories of the people who live there. “For a room to function well it needs to make clever use of the physical space. If it is to have a welcoming vibe it also needs to be imbued with a sense of comfort and connection. Achieving this can be less about budget and more about having the confidence to decorate your home in a way that is personal and authentic.”

An award-winning magazine editor, Sarah has managed many photoshoots involving interiors and food. And during the past two decades she and her husband Vincent have renovated four old houses. Sarah is also an avid upcycler. “Starting with something old or unwanted liberates you to experiment,” she says. “You can transform pieces of furniture or other household objects using a paint treatment to create something truly original. It’s all about seeing the possibilities.”

Sarah Heeringa

Sarah is passionate about inspiring others. As the former editor of Good magazine, Sarah has created and styled a long-running Resene series that guides readers step-by-step through a practical makeover project. Sarah’s book Reclaim That: Upcycling your Home with Style, features hundreds of photos, inspirational ideas and practical projects. Sarah is currently working on a second title.

Sarah believes in giving yourself permission to try things, make a few mistakes and to learn through trial and error. “I remember once stepping back from a new feature wall to realise I’d chosen the wrong wall and the wrong colour,” she laughs. “I re-did it.”

“Colour has a profound effect on our mood and I love how it changes the vibe of a room,” says Sarah. “The great thing about paint – and especially using the quality products in Resene’s range – is that they’re not difficult to apply. If you change your mind, or simply want a change it’s not a big deal.”

Sarah’s work includes colour consulting, styling and prop creation and propping of new houses for commercial purposes.

See for more.

Bathroom makeover and a painted cabinet - ombre effect
Left: A bathroom makeover for Good magazine. The wall is painted Resene Gulf Stream and the floor is finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Right: Another project using Resene Carefree, Resene Kumutoto, Resene Hope, Resene Unwind and Resene Whirlwind for an ombre drawer effect.

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