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The Riverhead

With a wealth of history, great care was taken in the refurbishment to retain the special character so unique to The Riverhead.

The refurbished Riverhead

The Riverhead had been the focal point for the community for over a century but with 15 years of neglect it was sliding into decay. The paint was falling off its rotten weatherboards, alterations had been made on top of previous alterations, the roof was rusted and leaking, the carpark was a dust bowl, the dock had finally been removed after sinking into the muddy banks of the river and the sewage system stank.

The Riverhead was originally built in 1876 for Thomas and Eliza Deacon on the upper reaches of the Waitemata Harbour where the sea meets the Rangitopuni Stream. Its wharf was the interface for the pioneer who would travel by steamer to Riverhead, stay the night, get refreshed, eat, sleep and carry on the next morning by coach to Helensville to meet the steamer to travel onto Northland via the Kaipara Harbour, following the same route Maori used for centuries.

The Riverhead

With a wealth of history, great care was taken in the refurbishment to retain the special character so unique to The Riverhead. In doing so they looked for what was special in and around the building and its history and used that for their branding, bar names, colour schemes and theming.

For the first few months it was a demolition site. Everything had to be reinstated or replaced. The original smoke stained ceiling timbers were found complete with the builder’s marks. The Auckland Council regulations required they be replaced with plasterboard. The plasterboard alone would have looked extremely modern but with some innovative thinking, the timbers were removed one by one and reinstated over the newly lined ceilings. The same boards were used for emphasis around the front of The Landing Restaurant Bar.

The Riverhead exterior

The juxtaposition between old and new is compelling. It is visually fresh, but with the character of the old. The colours are inviting and cosy in winter, but fresh and relaxing in summer. The fireplace is a focal point in winter and the outside decks overlooking the upper reaches of the Waitemata are a huge draw card.

The exterior weatherboards are finished in Resene Double White Pointer (beige neutral) with entrance doors in Resene Livewire (deep ruby red),Resene Chicago (masculine grey), complemented by grey back walls in Resene Trojan (staunch grey), and Resene Alabaster (blackened white).

Refurbished interior of the The Riverhead

Inside the palette is warm and inviting with Resene Mondo (complex grey green) on the Portage Bar walls, Resene Quarter Mondo (leathery neutral) on the ceiling and entrance, a feature wall of Resene Fire (brick orange) and windowsills and top scotia in Resene Half Caraway (cream off-white). Toilet areas feature Resene Rhino (smoky grey blue), Resene Half Caraway and an entrance area in Resene Mai Tai (red gold amber). The kitchen and office each host a Resene Fire feature wall complemented by Resene Alabaster in the kitchen and the warmer Resene Half Spanish White (complex neutral) in the office.

The colour palette becomes more sumptuous in The Landing restaurant with Resene Aubergine (deep wine red) in the Back Bar, Resene Magma (red gold metallic) on the ornate anaglypta wallpaper featured behind the antique wall unit, Resene Jandal (yellow brown) in the library, Resene Fire as a feature behind the stone fireplace, Resene Highball (mid olive yellow) leading to the outside decks with the pillars and a low ceiling finished in Resene Rum (purple grey).

The Riverhead's landing Restaurant

Today patrons arrive by land or sea, with ferries being hosted at the dock while passengers are treated to a gastro pub food menu. Every aspect of The Riverhead has needed attention and the work is still on-going with plans to finish the carpark development to complete the transformation.
Owners: Paula and Stephen Pepperell
Building Contractor: Gary Pepperell, Garry Dunn, Stephen Pepperell
Painting Contractor: NG Painters
Resene: Henderson ColorShop
From the Resene News – issue 3/2012

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