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Inspired by Japan

Decorating inspiration photo

Tengoku is the Japanese word for ‘heaven’. It’s a favoured name for the Whitney family properties, and they have had a number of divine places over the years.

They love the word as it has power and also connects with the special affinity they hold for Japan.

This is the first time the Whitney family has created a Tengoku home from scratch. In the highlands of Ararimu the house is inspired by the long lines of a Japanese farm house.

Commensurate with the name, and traditions, they dipped into the Japanese colour palette for special feature areas; ones that would be stunning in their own right but that would equally make their favourite artwork come to life.

They were also seeking colours that would be at home in the comparable ‘island nation’ of New Zealand. In some areas they wanted to be a bit more quirky and creative such as with the blue notice door in the pantry and the ‘heads and tails’ duck collection in the ensuite bathroom.

The dominant Japanese colours are mood evoking and thought provoking. They have been refined over thousands of years but are nevertheless modern and relevant.


Kohaku—the combination of red and white signifies vitality and purity, created with bold red and Resene Half Dutch White. White, in particular, is the colour of the Gods. Red is the colour of the new day, the rising sun.

Midori—Green—is the colour of eternal life and consistency. Resene Dali green provided the spirit connection.

Ai—is blue and a word with the same pronunciation means love. Blue also identifies life surrounded by the sea. Resene Azure mirrors the colour of the vast oceans. They also used another blue, Resene Half Smalt Blue, as a feature in the master bedroom.

Kin—gold—is the colour of ripened rice which, when harvested, could be exchanged for literal gold. Resene Wild Thing provided the majesty of this royal colour with an exuberance and energy.

Making the selection even more personal they painted each and every space inside and out. Being ‘one’ with the project made sense.

Thanks to the Whitney family.

Decorating inspiration gallery 2016


Decorating inspiration gallery
Click on the links below to view more great home decorating ideas and colour schemes for home interiors and exteriors.


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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.

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