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fit for a princess

The Fairy Tale House

The owners wanted to paint the house in warm, bright colours to cheer people up and bring a smile as they passed by.

This old villa, aka The Fairy Tale House.

This old villa, aka The Fairy Tale House, was built in 1906, in Aro Valley, and has been lovingly tidied over the decades by many owners. The current owners bought the house over a decade ago falling in love with its quirky height, the various bits sticking out and the interesting angles.

A traditional looking house in many respects, a former owner added another floor on top. This has turned it into a very tall house on a small footprint. The house is built on a slope, and the back of the house also has a basement, which makes it a four storey house from the back, so it seems even taller from across the valley.

When the current owners decided to paint the house, they realised the last paint job took place in 1995! The Resene paint job had held up well.

Front door and widow colours

The owners adored rich bright colours but were wary about the effects of the sun on the paint. When they last painted the house in 1995, they were advised against using some of the colours selected as they had a low reflectance index and may not last. It was important to avoid selecting a colour that would weather too quickly and require a new paint job too soon. The whole house needed priming and two topcoats.

Aro Valley is renowned for being cold and damp. The house itself isn’t. The owners wanted to paint the house in warm, bright colours to cheer people up and bring a smile as they passed by. They wanted kids to pass by and think a princess lives in this house, something that has literally happened when a little girl was heard to tell her Dad when they passed by one day that, “This is where the Princess lives, Dad.” A successful colour scheme would mean the tall house would glow like sunshine when seen from across the valley in Aro Valley.

Windows and letterbox

Armed with this slightly mad agenda, the first step was to find a sunny golden main colour on the house, something that glowed like butter. Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss in Resene Golden Sand (buttery yellow) was chosen – it’s a happy warm glowing colour that stands out amongst all the pale house colours and trees. The owner adores colours from nature, like the golden glow of the sun, flowers, trees and the sea, all the colours Wellington is surrounded by.

Many testpots of paint and comments from neighbours and passers-by followed. A selection of colour schemes of a drawing of the house were even posted to Facebook so friends could vote on the best combination.

Window details

The next step was the front door. The owners knew they wanted a bright red front door for good feng shui. It needed to be a lovely bright deep flowery red – Resene Poppy (bright red) in Resene Lustacryl was the perfect contrasting colour to make the colour scheme pop. It proved so popular it was then used on all the house doors – the front, deck and basement doors.

Initially the corbels and heritage detailing were to be painted in the same colour as one of the window colours, but after suggestions from a Resene Colour Expert, Resene Poppy was also extended to these areas.

side tall elevation

The previous roof colour was Resene Red Oxide. Various test patches of other grey and green roof colours were tried but nothing beat the tried and true Resene Red Oxide (colonial red), so this was painted on using Resene Summit Roof as it complements the rich warm house colours well.

The new house colours also needed to reflect the colours of nature. The house is surrounded by trees and bushes, and the sea is visible in the distance. After experimenting with various combinations of orange and blue, orange and green, blue and green, and green and green, the blue and green combination fitted the blue sea and the luscious green surrounds best using Resene Allports (cerulean blue) and Resene Limerick (Irish green) in Resene Lustacryl.

Even the letterbox fits the colour theme, primed with Resene Vinyl Etch and topcoated with Resene Enamacryl Bright Red (pure red). Snoopy and Woodstock are cut from plywood and painted. Snoopy’s ears are made from black leather scraps. The mailbox has had a revamp once in the last 15-20 years it’s been up. It’s a favourite with the neighbourhood.

The unusual height of the house means that the house needs to be completely scaffolded and certified, and erected on terraces. The owners decided to paint the house in autumn, and worried they had left it too late to paint without going broke renting the scaffolding for weeks on end. However, the painters were marvellous, and made the most of the good days so the painting was completed in a reasonable time even with winter nipping at their heels. In the end, it was the double glazing on the ground floor and the bathrooms that held up the painting completion.

The owners found it a “fun experience selecting the colours, watching the paint go on, and now enjoying the finished Fairy Tale House. Everyone who passes by say they love it. Perhaps those that don’t keep quiet! Luckily the home is in Aro Valley, a fairly arty bohemian neighbourhood, where a unique colour palette like this is easily accepted.”

The judges awarded The Fairy Tale House by Daphne Carvalho the Resene Total Colour Residential Exterior Award and said: “this home is a celebration of colour and the fairy tale home young children dream of. With an oddly shaped design to work with, most would simply use paint to camouflage. Not on this home. Situated in Aro Valley, this neighbourhood is perhaps more comfortable with homes having their own distinct personality. With a nod to arty bohemian, homes shouldn’t have to toe the line. The palette is brave and whimsical, with a sense of opening a child’s paintbox for the first time. Once you’ve experienced and enjoyed this colour you can never go back to neutral.

Cheerful and fun, this colourful home is guaranteed to bring a smile.”

Colour selection: Daphne Carvalho, advice was also provided by Sarah Hawkins
Painting contractor: Tao Painting Limited, Wellington
Winner: Resene Total Colour Residential Exterior Award
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2017
From the Resene News – issue 1/2018

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.