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Grey Area

From Style magazine

Dark cabinetry, plenty of texture and a grey colour palette have been beautifully balanced to give this architectural Northcote Point property a charming ‘holiday at home’ feel.

When interior designer Shelley Ferguson approaches a new project, finding a balance between style and function takes priority, as “there’s no point making everything look pretty if it doesn’t work for people.” Ferguson continues: “Yes, it’s first starting with the house and the homeowner and creating a beautiful aesthetic that suits them and that is going to make a real statement. But then it’s the function of the house; so really assessing the floor plan, the space, the natural light, what the issues are, what the positives are with the house and making it work for the people that live there.”

Dark kitchen cabinetry

A grey, white, and charcoal kitchen

Interior motive: Fashion meets function in the polished kitchen, where open spaces are punctuated by the light, but magic touch of interior designer Shelley Ferguson. Throughout, the palette of soft greys, whites and charcoal was achieved with Resene paints, including the Resene Silver Chalice family.

For this home in Auckland’s Northcote Point, designing spaces that were practical for the residents was made easier by the fact that the house’s architect is also its owner – Rachel Higgs of Integrado lives there with her husband and three boys.

What was once a small bungalow has been extended to become a three-level home. “It was a really big renovation that saw a master, ensuite and office added upstairs; and the middle level, which was the original level, opened up to be a really big open-plan kitchen, living and dining, and a kids’ lounge; and then a whole new lower level, which is all of the kids’ rooms,” explains Ferguson.

Dark ebony panelling features in the home

Dark ebony panelling - a striking look in the bathroom

A dark modern bathroom

Panel show: Dark ebony panelling with a beautiful grainy texture is a consistent feature throughout the home, complementing the natural light. The ebony cabinetry flows through the bathroom, a striking look against the more standard white and light tones.

Fans of The Block NZ will be familiar with Ferguson as a host on the show. She previously had a 20-year career in the magazine industry as an editor, stylist and writer for interior and fashion titles. She found that a lot of her skills and knowledge from that line of work could be applied to interior design, so she decided to start her own business, Shelley Ferguson Studio. “I just got to the point where I really wanted to take it off the page and be doing the whole process myself.”

For the Northcote Point project, Ferguson aimed to maintain the house’s character by ensuring the interior wasn’t too minimal. “They wanted to retain some of the architectural detail and still have a bit of charm to it,” she says. The family also wanted to create a retreat that had a ‘holiday at home’ feel. “I wanted to give it this Cape Cod vibe; so big open spaces and lots of texture, lots of beautiful warm timber tones – but also just to keep it from being too light and modern and minimal, we brought in that really dark ebony panelling through all of their cabinetry, on the fireplace and in the kitchen. And that’s got such a beautiful grainy texture to it.”

A modern grey bathroom

“There’s no point making everything look pretty if it doesn’t work for people.”

To help achieve a palette of soft greys, whites and dark charcoal, Ferguson used a range of Resene paints. “I’ve worked with Resene my whole career, so I’m really familiar with their range. I love their products, the quality of them, the range of them,” she says. “We chose to tie in a Resene Silver Chalice palette; it’s one of my favourite greys.” Ferguson loves to play with different strengths of the same colour, so used Resene Half Silver Chalice for the exterior house colour, Resene Double Silver Chalice for the front deck steps and the interior of the kids’ bedrooms, and the regular strength Resene Silver Chalice for other parts of the interior. “There’s a lot you can do by mixing different strengths and tints and shades of one family of paint.”

Shelley Ferguson

Resene wallpaper and testpots

Career shift – Interior designer Shelley Ferguson believes the skills and knowledge amassed while working in the magazine industry have translated well.  Resene wallpaper/testpots: Resene Wallpaper Collection E382572. Testpots from left to right – Resene Athens Grey, Resene Quarter Grey Chateau, and Resene Quarter Surrender.

Today's take on tonal

While tonal or tone-on-tone looks originated with layering multiple strengths of a single hue within a space, today this trend usually sees a variety of colours being used together for added depth and interest. For even more texture, try layering in wood finishes in Resene Greywash and your favourite Resene Wallpaper Collection design. For a full range of gorgeous neutrals, from whites and off-whites through to black and near blacks, with up to six strength variations of a colour, check out the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection, available in palettes or as a fandeck.

Resene Double Silver Chalice

Photography: Jackie Meiring
Words: Ashely Wallace

Style magazine. April 2022

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