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just like a jewel

Te Iti Kahurangi

The intention was to have a house that glowed like a jewel, surrounded by the various greens of trees and shrubs, and the bright splashes of wildflowers.

In purchasing this house in 1981, the intention was preservation from developers and restoration as an early 20th century (circa. 1905) cottage. Originally it was one of seven cottages in a row. Over time, the house had been maintained structurally but lack of finances meant the house was not completed decoratively. Recent earthquake repairs gave the opportunity to continue and complete improvements.

Te Iti Kahurangi  -Colorful cottage exterior

The house was vertically lifted 3.5 metres by King House Removals to install new TC3 foundations. The veranda has new macrocarpa timber and a new roof has been installed. Wooden handrails were added to all steps at the front, to one side of the veranda and at the back door in a simple style in keeping with the unpretentiousness of the house.

The intention was to have a house that glowed like a jewel, surrounded by the various greens of trees and shrubs, and the bright splashes of wildflowers. Owner Lizzie searched for a blue like the audio-visual blue that was commonplace on monitors and television screens and found the perfect hue in Resene Mariner (nautical blue). It is a blue against which green plants and trees look vibrant.

Te Iti Kahurangi  - exterior landscaping, fence
Te Iti Kahurangi - garage

Lizzie was keen to pick out wood features in the construction of the house so chose colours that contrasted with the blue. Resene Drover (pastel yellow) fit the bill as a sunny yellow and a search for an earth-related orange resulted in Resene Gold Drop (bold orange).

The finished home is a jewel box of colours with weatherboards in Resene Mariner, trims and joinery in Resene Drover, window sashes and veranda details in Resene Gold Drop, a welcoming front door in Resene Guardsman Red (bold red), a front doorstep in Resene Forest Green (ochre green), a deliberately surprising back door in Resene Kingfisher Daisy (clean violet) and a back doorstep in Resene Hot Chile (burgundy red). All wall areas were painted in Resene Lumbersider low sheen waterborne paint with Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel on trim and joinery.

Te Iti Kahurangi - view to kitchen
Colorful character kitchen

An old garage that had become a workshop was damaged in the February 2011 earthquake, requiring propping, so that it did not fall over. The concrete floor was completely broken up by liquefaction. It was demolished and rebuilt as a studio – strong, perky and warm as part of the earthquake repair of the house, a place full of light to potter, ruminate, paint and construct. No storage allowed!

The studio looks out onto the potager garden and pond behind the house, a place full of specific native trees and shrubs appropriate to the area, and exotic wildflowers that attract bees, butterflies, birds and other insects.

Te Iti Kahurangi - kitchen
Te Iti Kahurangi -character detailing

The plan is to open the garden to the public once the soil and plantings settle back in after the shock of the overflow of effects from the house repair. The garden is an example of wildflowers especially for bees, butterflies and other insects, vegetables and herbs for the kitchen, and native species that encourage related native flora and fauna communities.

The studio mimics the house but with the battens on the boards emphasised. The two pergolas take the same decorative forms as on the main house and in the same colours. The pergolas were built to add a magical touch to the idea of entrances, going under and through something. Pragmatically, the driveway pergola also prevents heavy trucks on the brick driveway. The fence idea came from surfing the web and seeing a cottage garden with a similar blue, widely-spaced, batten fence. This fence was made three quarters high to create a sense of separation from the street, but open and low enough, to say hello to passers-by, and to watch the world go by from the veranda.

Te Iti Kahurangi - ceiling rose
Te Iti Kahurangi - bathroom

The pergolas are bold in Resene Drover and Resene Gold Drop, a striking welcoming entrance to the studio with Resene Mariner on the boards, Resene Drover on the trim, Resene Havelock Blue (summer blue) on the battens, Resene Gold Drop on the window frames, Resene Guardsman Red on the door, Resene Kingfisher Daisy on the side door and Resene Hot Chile on the door step.

Resene Mariner is continued onto the fence and letterbox, combined with Resene French Pass (sky blue) on the posts. Resene Lumbersider low sheen waterborne paint is used throughout with Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel on trim and joinery. The fence has been finished with the extra protection of Resene Uracryl GraffitiShield to protect against graffiti.

The place name, Te Iti Kahurangi is in an Edwardian handwriting to suit the Victorian era when Te Reo Maori became a written language, and also the age of the house, circa 1905. Kahurangi is a Maori word for blue. Te Iti Kahurangi means little treasure, but also has the implication that although small, the subject is of immense value, just as this studio is of immense value as a place to contemplate and create.

Recent earthquake repairs gave the opportunity to complete renovations that started much earlier. This time the focus was the kitchen and laundry areas. The owner engaged Nicki Bell as a design advisor for the kitchen and laundry spaces using her 3D Design programme. The aim was to keep most things in existing positions, while maximising functionality with regard to storage and activities.

All the internal features of the house were removed and reinstated after completing full insulation in the ceiling, floor and walls. The windows in the lounge room, bathroom and two of the three bedrooms have honeycomb Weathermaster blinds that sit inside the window frame. The third bedroom has Resene Lyrical – Charcoal curtains.

The interior is equally as colourful as the exterior.

When the house was stripped for insulation purposes, a previous extensive fire in the roof was revealed. Luckily the house had been rebuilt over the kitchen and minimal strengthening was required over the laundry.

A shower was integrated into the laundry area as the bathroom was a small perfect bathroom with a huge claw foot bath. A film coating was put over the glass shower door for privacy – a joy to look at and also to enjoy while showering with the luminescence of the image. The laundry is finished in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in Resene Delta Blue (feminine blue) with Resene Scotty Silver (warm metallic).

The Glass Room collaborated with the owner adapting glass designs found online, an Edwardian beauty for the toilet and glass panels for two cupboard doors in the kitchen and appropriate glass for the era of the parlour door. All joinery in the kitchen and laundry was pine, painted in the kitchen and clear finished in the laundry to reveal the wood grain.

Each room needed to have its own personality through colour without resorting to white.

Resene Blue Chalk (delicate lilac) was chosen for the hallway walls with Resene Perfume (sensuous violet) on the ceiling. The changes of colour are amazing depending on the light angles and time of day. Visitors are convinced it is the same colour on the ceiling and walls. The kitchen is bold with Resene Havoc (pure red), Resene Hypnotic (celery green) and Resene Ship Cove (quiet blue) as a counterbalance to the Rimu tongue-and-groove walls and ceiling.

The lounge room and bathroom retained their colours from their first Resene spruce up. The lounge is warm with Resene Pizza (rust gold), Resene Rob Roy (ochre gold) and window detailing in Resene Shiraz (blue berry red) and Resene Vault (green gold metallic). The bathroom is finished in Resene Norway (mid green) on the walls, with Resene Red Red Red (bright red) and Resene Zodiac (red violet metallic) on the window joinery. The exterior of the bath is warm in Resene Coral Tree (coral red) with balls of the feet in Resene Gold Dust (gold metallic).

The toilet has Resene Ipanema (clear yellow) on the inside of the door and window surrounds to complement the exquisite stained-glass window and timber floor and walls.

In one bedroom Resene Eskimo (cool blue) was teamed with Resene Obelisk (sea green) and Resene Gravity (blue charcoal metallic). Resene Corn Field (pastel yellow) was chosen for a second south side bedroom lifting the atmosphere with its lean-to sloping ceiling. This was teamed with Resene First Light (lemon sherbet) and Resene Stun (citrine gold metallic). The overall effect is mellifluous.

The middle bedroom is narrow and small. The nine foot stud was visually lowered with Resene Billy T (mustard gold) down to the picture rail teamed with walls in Resene Astra (rich cream). Details are picked out in Resene Shiraz and Resene Vault (green gold metallic). Walls throughout are in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen, with ceilings in Resene SpaceCote Flat and Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in wet areas.

This home is a treasure trove of colours, inside and out, carefully chosen to celebrate each space.

This home’s interior won the Resene Total Colour Residential Interior Colour Maestro Award. The judges said “this interior lives up to the colourful and quirky promise of the exterior. A confident and passionate application of colour, even the smallest details in this cottage are touched with colour. The extensive retro colour palette brings warmth and imbues each space with a colour personality of its own. A true labour of colour love, this project gleams with colour inside and out.”

Brick-laying: Tropicana Outdoor Construction
Building contractor: Feutz & Goldsmith
Building contractor – fence and pergolas: Mark Pearson
Ceiling roses: Plastercraft Southern Ltd
Designer: Lizzie Cook
Fabrication of metal gates: Authentic Gates
Ferns: Fern Factor
Foundations: Solid Bearing Ltd
Glass co-design: The Glass Room
House lifting: King House Removals (lifted the house 3.5 metres for TC3 foundation work)
Joinery design: Nikki Bell
Painting contractor: Feutz & Goldsmith
Photographer: Nicki Bell, Anjie Connon
Planting guides for Christchurch: Lucas Associates
Plants: Trees for Canterbury
Plastering: Christian Jordan Plasterers
Winner: Resene Total Colour Residential Interior Colour Maestro Award
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2019
From the Resene News – issue 3/20

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