Close Give Feedback
Resene Paints - home page
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube

a little unexpected

From Habitat magazine - issue 29

Unexpected colour use was a highlight of this year’s Resene Total Colour Awards.


From a full-on pink dining room, a bold character bathroom, a hidden bright blue exterior and a bespoke mural, many of the winners of this year’s awards used colour in very unexpected ways. Here’s a look at the residential winners from the awards, as well as the project that scooped the supreme prize.

The Residential Interior Maestro (runner up) award went to Sonia van der Haar of Lymesmith for a house that used bold colour as well as featuring an abstract mural that brought many of the colours together.

Polychrome House by Sonia van de Haar of Lymesmith.

The kitchen wall is painted in Resene Countdown while the mural features Resene Unwind, Resene Mustang, Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta, Resene Triple Tea and Resene Prussian Blue, as well as a Resene custom made pink and green. Resene Countdown and Resene Mustang are from older colour collections; try Resene Raging Bull and Resene Dynamite as alternatives.

The judges commented: “Adventurous and fun, this home deliberately plays with colour to celebrate the owners’ individuality. Dual colour palettes are interwoven and respond to artwork, furniture and each other in unexpected ways. Colour rules were made to be broken. This home wholeheartedly embraces a fearless love of colour.”

Both the Residential Interior category and the Residential Exterior award were won by Gerald Parsonson and Zac Vermuelen of Wellington-based Parsonson Architects for a Te Horo bach that used a variety of Resene colours both inside and out.

Subtle and softly retro, the weathered beachy tones of the exterior gently settle this home into its environment. Yet this home is more colourful than first meets the eye. Working within covenants, the colour use is inspiring, where many people would settle for neutrals, said the judges. The colours used are Resene Canvas and Resene Half Delta on the fibre cement cladding with Resene Ecru White, Resene Tussock and Resene Boulevard on the battens.

Bach by Parsonson Architects

Inside the bach, the combination of materials and colourways brings with it an instant fun holiday vibe with a sense of relaxation and escape. Said the judges: “This bach feels at home with nature on the inside, as it does on the outside. The perfect antidote to city life.” The kitchen pictured features Resene Crisp Green, Resene Cararra, Resene Boulevard and Resene Half Delta. Resene Boulevard is from an older colour collection; try Resene Sorrento as an alternative.

Bach by Parsonson Architects
Te Horo Bach by Gerald Parsonson and Zac Vermuelen of Parsonson Architects.

The Residential Exterior Maestro (runner up) award went to Annabel Cropper, of Nott Architects, for a totally unexpected use of bright Resene Picton Blue for part of the exterior of a house which was otherwise finished in Resene Scoria.

The rural leanings of the streetscape acts as the gatekeeper to the colour within so that the bold blue is only enjoyed by those who make it past the front door. “Adventurous, bold, fun and completely unexpected. This is a totally unconventional and courageous colour combination to come home to, perfect for a family that isn’t afraid to go bold,” said the judges.

Nott Architects
Montreal Street Houses by Annabel Cropper of Nott Architects Ltd

A special Colourful Room category was awarded this year and was won by Charlotte Coote of Coote & Co for a dining room painted entirely in hot pink Resene Glamour Puss. The room has a sense of modern meets Victorian. The rich colour and varying sheen levels creates a rich atmosphere. The judges commented: “With a standalone room you can dare to go bold. No holds barred, it is whimsical, fun, beautiful and brave. The walls feel like they are singing in the background.”

The Maestro (runner up) in this category went to Debra Delorenzo of One Ranfurly, for the bathroom of a character home. Inspiration for the hot pink, yellow and orange scheme, which used Resene Golden Glow (upper walls), Resene Pizza (cornice), Resene Sassy (ceiling) came from the room’s stained glass window. “This room has been carefully dressed in colour with multi-coloured paint hues changing the sense of space. The floor is anchored in colour and delightfully reflected in the colours overhead. Unexpected and uplifting,” said the judges.

Left: Mt Macedon Residence by Charlotte Coote, Coote&Co.  Right: Historic House Bathroom by Debra Delorenzo, One Ranfurly Ltd.

Lifetime award

It’s fitting that this year’s winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Gerald Parsonson of Parsonsons Architects in Wellington. He won two of the categories in this year’s awards and has a history of using colour to great effect in his work. The citation for the lifetime award commented that: “looking through the work of Gerald Parsonson, there is a rhythm of colours that runs through his projects – sometimes it is brighter and bolder, sometimes it meanders softly. Each project has its own colour rhythm; no two are alike. Each palette is carefully curated for each owner, their lifestyle and the way they want to use their space. It’s a reminder for all of us that colour can reflect who we are and how we want to live our lives and that we should never be afraid to choose to live with the colours we love.”

And the winner is...

The overall winner and the recipient of the Nightingale Award as well as the Education – Primary award is RTA Studio for Freemans Bay School in Auckland.

Using 16 different Resene colours, the judges commented that: “embracing the site, the design, the community and its colour palette, this project demonstrates a commanding mastery of colour. Strong like a meeting house, the colour is both anchoring and welcoming and used with such care. Appealing to young and old, the palette brings this school into the central heart of the community.”

RTA Studio Ltd
Freemans Bay School by RTA Studio Ltd.

Designers: Parsonson Architects, Lymesmith, Nott Architects, Coote & Co, One Ranfurly, RTA Studio
View all the Resene Total Colour Award winners online at


Search habitat magazine stories

Want to get your own free copy of future issues of habitat magazine?

Printed copies of habitat highlights are available from late March 2024 at Resene ColorShops and resellers, while stocks last. You can view back issues of habitat magazine online.

If you have an idea, project or story that you think would suit habitat, we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us an email with your details and include photos if submitting a project.

Sign up for a DIY card and Save! Australia | New Zealand

Return to Habitat 29


Order online now:
Testpots | Paints | Primers and Sealers | Stains | Clears | Accessories

Get inspired Get inspired ! Subscribe      Get saving Get saving ! Apply for a DIY card

Resene Paints Ltd

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask us!

Resene Paints Ltd   –

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube
Videos on how to paint and stain your house

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.

What's new | Specifiers | Painters | DIYers | Artists | Kids | Sitemap | Home | TOP ⇧