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colour craze

From Habitat magazine - issue 16

Robyn Renouf has never been scared of bold colour, as her Kapiti bach shows only too well.

Nestled into a sleepy Paekakariki street on the Kapiti coast is a little cottage with a big attitude. The 1930s bach stands defiant against the slightest whiff of monochromatic paint schemes. Unassuming from the road, its interior is swathed in blues, golds and yellows and filled with colourful accessories, furniture and original art.

Green bedroom
Colourful upholstery
Bedroom: Three colours combine in the master bedroom – Resene Paradiso behind the headboard, Resene Portage on the facing wall and Resene Deco on the window trims.  Upholstery: Fresh lime-green and white upholstery is the perfect foil for Resene Atoll in the foreground and Resene Chetwode Blue behind.

Owner Robyn Renouf has been a firm believer in the bold use of colour for many years. “Colour is exhilarating,” she says. “It makes you want to get up in the morning. I would not know myself without colour.”

The legal researcher has owned the property for about 10 years, but has only recently moved into it to be near Peka Peka, where she is building an accommodation lodge. “I originally bought this property to build the lodge; I wanted a view of the water,” she says. But when she discovered the section was too small, she decided to give the cottage a lick of paint and rent it out.

Vibrant flowers
White kitchen
Flowers: Even more colour, through vibrant flowers.  Kitchen: A colourfully clad Robyn in the least colourful room of her house, the kitchen with walls in Resene White and a door in Resene Atoll.

Robyn enlisted the help of Resene colour consultant Carolyn Atkinson and the women settled on an array of blues touched with lavender, cobalt and teal. The colours make the rooms stretch out to the sea and sky beyond, and make the bach seem bigger than it is. “They are fabulous beach colours and a great base to introduce funky colours – in this instance, the introduction of lime green and cerise,” says Robyn.

She says while some renovators would not dream of putting these colours together, they work well. “You have to be brave and a little out there. I’m not one to hold back. I find the blues and greens soothing and reflective, but married with the lime green and cerise twist, they give the little bach some punch.”

Colour is what makes Robyn tick and she contributes that partly to her art. A mixed media artist, she describes herself as a hobbyist, despite once selling a piece at an art show for more than $1000.

Purlple-blue living room
Beachy dining room
Living room: Purple-blue walls in Resene Chetwode Blue are a vibrant backdrop to furnishings in fresh greens.  Dining room: The dining room looks suitably beachy with a retro cane table and chairs, and Resene Atoll walls.

A couple of her works enliven the living room walls and the textured finishes and broad strokes of colour on canvas reflect the sea, stone and sand on the beach just a few metres away. Being under the sea is also a source of inspiration to Robyn, who counts one of her favourite hobbies as snorkelling. “The colour and texture of the coral reefs are fabulous and very inspirational.”

Robyn has travelled extensively and draws on colourful places such as Mexico and Guatemala to inspire her decorating style. She believes monochromatic interior design schemes are uninteresting. “I am certainly not a ‘beige on beige’ girl. I find that look which has been around for some time boring, dull, safe and unimaginative. And they don’t tell you anything about the person you are visiting.”

Robyn says she feels privileged to live in Paekakariki, waking up every morning to the views and experiencing the wonderful sunsets every evening. “I feel like I‘m living on my own island resort. It really is like living in paradise.”

Did you know... that Resene has hundreds of inspirational real decorating projects online that were done on a wide range of budgets. Visit Or be inspired by Habitat of the Week homes on

words: Alexandra Johnson
pictures: Nicola Edmonds

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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.