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Life in colour

Life & Leisure magazine

NZ Life & Leisure art director Yolanta Woldendorp enjoys a vibrant off-duty life in the Helensville countryside.

Yolanta Woldendorp

How did you discover your eye for design and make it your job?

I grew up near Perth and was exposed to design at a young age, thanks to my artistic parents. I excelled at art, so graphic design seemed like a fitting career. When I got a job at Perth's only magazine company, its art director resigned three weeks later. That’s how, at age 21, I ended up as one of the youngest art directors in Australia.

How can colour be used to tell a story?

Colour is a key aspect of a cohesive magazine spread – it’s not as simple as grouping images by room. For example, the feature Just add water (NZ Life & Leisure, Nov/Dec 2022), was designed around the colour palettes in Ann and Richard Skelly’s Waiheke home; I dedicated spreads to the pinks and greens in their retro kitchen, and the subtle blues and greens in their cottage garden.

What Resene colour do you predict will be big in 2023?

I reckon a teal, such as Resene Pelorous, will be popular in Kiwi homes. It's an optimistic colour, and people are ready for a pop of optimism. It complements natural wood tones too, which is huge in the décor world.

What colours are you drawn to for a lifestyle photoshoot?

Everything looks romantic, rich and warm when drenched in the golden light we call “the golden hour”, the hour after sunrise and before sunset. Living near West Auckland’s rough coastline, I also have a soft spot for uplifting teals and ocean hues. You can’t go wrong with earthy, natural tones and a pop of colour for interiors. I love offsetting warm wood tones with a classic French blue.

A blue front door complements the wood tones of the patio

What do you get up to when you’re not working?

When I moved to New Zealand 32 years ago, I fell in love with its beauty, colour, and countryside. The country is a calming offset to the fast-paced nature of magazines because design is a 24/7 thing – it never leaves me. When I’m not briefing photographers or designing a story, I'm planting trees, maintaining my veggie garden or scootin’ on a ride-on mower on my three-hectare ranch near Helensville. Nothing beats riding Surf, my appaloosa-cross, at Woodhill Forest or Muriwai Beach. I've been able to ride much more since completing the small guesthouse between my house and horse paddock. It's called Hedgehog Hut.

Tell us about Hedgehog Hut.

It's the cutest thing, only 28 square metres, with a lounge, bedroom and kitchenette. I bought the shell from my friend Jools Topp, who lives nearby, and built the bathroom and deck with the help of my DIY-savvy neighbour. It took six months to complete since I did a lot in the evenings after work and used recycled materials where possible.

What inspired the Resene paint scheme you used?

I wanted Hedgehog Hut to look at home next to my macrocarpa barn house, which is a warm grey, so I chose Resene Quarter Arrowtown for the exterior cladding. The rest of the colour scheme flowed from there. For the outside of the hut, I used Resene CoolColourTM Bokara Grey, a dark, warm-grey inspired by the black sands of Muriwai Beach. The French doors were painted with Resene Lazy River, a colour that resembles the calming grey-blue coast and works nicely with the trim stained with Resene Woodsman Bark.

Resene Lazy River

Life & Leisure magazine. February 2023

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