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in vivid colour

From Habitat magazine - issue 31, feature house

An art-loving couple takes a fresh approach to a former social housing property.

Auckland’s Grey Lynn neighbourhood is famed for its sprawling white villas and residential streets lined with greenery, but it’s only over the past two decades that gentrification has placed it among the city’s most desirable suburbs.

Auckland City Council built a row of simple and understated houses in the early 1920s along Grey Lynn’s Old Mill Road, which were occupied by workers. At first glance, they resemble petite bungalows with exteriors painted in shades of white to enhance the texture of the stucco, each contrasted by a striking red roof.

An accent wall in Resene Glamour Puss
Hints of fuchsia have been used to connect the colour of the Resene Glamour Puss accent wall. Resene Half Nullarbor can be seen at the left while the rest of the walls and ceiling are in Resene White.

Top tip: Protect concrete floors from wear and tear with Resene Concrete Wax.

Twelve years ago, Philip and Jane became the lucky owners of one of these unique properties. Together with architect Malcolm Walker, they undertook a renovation of the home, working towards honouring its heritage while applying a modern twist.

“Although we had an idea of what we wanted, we didn’t really know how it might be achieved,” says Philip. “We enlisted an architect for new ideas on how to utilise existing spaces. Malcolm offered sympathetic options with the property’s heritage in mind, enabling us to explore ways we could complement it with a creative colour palette.”

After a two-storey extension to the back of the property was built in the early 1990s, Malcolm sought to better integrate it for a much more cohesive flow.

An earthy backdrop for treasured artwork
A stylish kitchen in fresh Resene white charcoal benchtops, pink accent wall
Dining room: In the dining area, Resene Half Nullarbor provides an earthy backdrop for the homeowners’ most treasured artworks. The batten ceiling and adjacent walls are in Resene White.  Kitchen: Jane and Philip’s newly renovated kitchen is now a stylish space painted in fresh Resene White complemented by moody charcoal benchtops and a counter-to-ceiling mosaic tile splashback behind the range. The accent wall at the left is in Resene Glamour Puss.

“Circulation and the nature of the spaces were thoroughly revisited to erase the previous bitsy approach to planning and lack of light,” Malcolm explains. “We wanted to make the most of the historic nature of the original house while highlighting the spectacular views of Western Springs and the Waitakere Ranges.”

Picking the right colour palette was also important to help enhance existing features and open up the previously low-lit space. The completed renovation boasts an interior that has been lovingly restored, finished in a confident palette of Resene pinks, whites and earthy tones with a touch of midnight blue.

If one were to calculate the total wall area and break it down by colour, Resene White would come out on top as the predominant colour used. However, it’s the exceptional way that striking accent hues have been incorporated that give it the unique, artistic and personable flair and make Philip and Jane’s home a standout.

A vibrant woven matt hung in the entryway
Open stairwell with a striking accent colour

Entryway: A vibrant woven mat hangs on the wall just inside the entryway, setting the tone for the rest of the space beyond. The walls are painted Resene White and the door is painted Resene Black RockStairwell: Architect Malcolm Walker used bold Resene Glamour Puss in the home’s open stairwell as a striking, space-defining accent that links the upstairs living space with the kitchen, dining and den below. The adjacent wall and balcony railing are in Resene White, while the ‘throw’ from the Resene Glamour Puss might have you believe it is pink.

Upon entering, the tone for the space is set by an expansive woven mat hanging in the hallway, comprised mainly of jovial yellow, vibrant pink and rusty orange. At the end of a hallway, a stripe of yellow glass has been inset.

Further along, a wall has been removed and the existing stairway has been opened up to create more space and the addition of several skylights, spilling light into what was once a very dark area. The stairwell itself is accented in a two-storey swath of vivacious Resene Glamour Puss, providing a connection between the refreshed three-level split kitchen, dining and living spaces.

“I have a memory of visiting the house of a stylish person in the 1970s. The living room at night was a lovely, warm soft pink that bathed one in a beautiful light. Since then, I’ve always wanted to use pink, but haven’t done so until now,” says Philip.

A contemporary, uncluttered look
Impressive ceiling beams and battens are a hallmark of this home. In the lofty second floor addition, light floods in from sliding patio doors that overlook Western Springs. The walls and ceiling are painted Resene White.

“Although it’s an older house, we wanted to achieve a contemporary, uncluttered look even though we have quite a few possessions and pieces of art.”

A cosy den and living room with crisp Resene white
Den: In the cosy ground floor den, the walls are painted Resene White and are complemented by a batten ceiling in Resene Cosmos, a colour that continues on to the sky lit ceiling in the hallway.  Living room: Crisp whites, such as Resene White, and lofty batten ceilings can really help to visually lift and brighten a dark space. Paired with a light base like this seagrass carpet and a creamy high-pile rug, the height of the room is enhanced. For added interest, homeowners Jane and Philip have added bold pops of emerald, aqua and chartreuse through their curtains and furniture.

Top tip: Continue your light wall colour onto your ceiling for a seamless, airy look.

Resene Cosmos, a softer pink, was used on the ceilings of the hallway. Much like Philip’s description, it generates a dreamy blush glow that floods through to adjoining rooms and bounces off the adjacent Resene White walls, creating a sense of warmth. To tie the exterior and interior together, a touch of Resene Cosmos was also used to colour the entry soffits.

Deeper into the property, the kitchen has been completely refreshed and modernised. It’s a room now painted in Resene White paired with a moody, smoky grey countertop and dark cabinetry. It’s a transformation that Jane especially loves, as she wasn’t particularly fond of the kitchen before.

The couple were also keen to integrate their existing furniture and accessories within the new spaces.

“Although it’s an older house, we wanted to achieve a contemporary, uncluttered look even though we have quite a few possessions and pieces of art. There was a lot of thinking required before decisions could be made about how our furniture could work with different options,” she says.

 Red and white exterior

Keeping with the original exterior colour scheme of white and red, the bright pops of Resene Havoc beneath the awnings contrast well with the white of the stucco walls and trim that are painted in Resene White.

Upstairs, the property houses an expansive living room. The walls are painted in crisp Resene White and are lined with different types of art and home accessories. This colour is also continued onto the beamed ceiling, enabling the eye to be lifted up and out, giving height to what could have otherwise been an enclosed space.

Instead of incorporating a feature wall, the fresh colour palette enables the homeowners’ art, furniture and soft furnishings to pop and become the focal point of the room. All the while, the reflective space intended for gazing out of the window and onto the vast exterior landscape is delicately immersed in a subtle pink glow.

Having trouble picking the perfect white? See the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection for a range of neutrals in varying strengths from bright white through to pure black and everything in between.


Paint it right

Choose the right Resene colours and paints for the job.


Resene Black Rock feature wall in bathroom

Protection from moisture

Get the look of Philip and Jane’s bold bathroom feature wall with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Black Rock. On the ceiling, use Resene SpaceCote Flat Kitchen & Bathroom, which has the anti-bacterial protection of silver and the mould inhibitor MoulDefender, in Resene White. For doors and skirting boards, choose Resene Lustacryl for a hardwearing semi-gloss finish or Resene Enamacryl for a gloss finish.

Style tip

A monochromatic palette can enhance natural light while also allowing for interchangeable pops of colour to be incorporated – and when it comes to bold feature colours you can add, the sky’s the limit. Look to the Resene The Range fashion fandeck for on trend colour choices like Resene I Dare You, Resene Yowza and Resene Moana.

Get the look

Battens are an easy-to-install option for adding texture to walls and ceilings. We like the ‘paired’ spacing of the battens in Philip and Jane’s home as an alternative design, but the options for what you can do with them are practically endless. Try a grid, staggered effect or go for something completely unique. For a natural timber finish use Resene Aquaclear or continue your wall or ceiling colour onto the battens.


Resene I Dare You

Resene Yowza

Resene Moana

Architect: Malcolm Walker, Malcolm Walker Architects
Images: Tom Young

Alternative solution – crisp and contemporary

Simple, streamlined design plays to its strengths

Designer Georgia Langridge suggests this alternative scheme:


The overall concept I wanted to achieve, like with most spaces we design, was to keep the base of the room nice and neutral, allowing more transient pieces such as the barstools and decorative objects to provide a punch of personality that can evolve with seasonal, trend and taste changes. I started by analysing the space, which had great elements to work with. What was immediately apparent was the tremendous light that came into the space through the existing large windows. I liked how it provided a contrast to the full height dark joinery on the left; this immediately gave a great sense of light and shade which I wanted to play up on. To balance the right side of the space, I added a streamlined mesh pendant and custom shutters in Resene Stack, which both control light allowances.

Phone: 027 200 3840   Web:

Georgia’s design embraces the beautiful foundation that this kitchen already had and plays to its strengths. To create light and shade within the darker elements, she has contrasted matte surfaces, such as the Resene Colorwood Pitch Black timber cupboards, with shiny surfaces, like the tiled splashback, to help bounce light around the room. The floor in Resene Colorwood Driftwood and the walls provide warmth, as do the velvet chairs, while Resene Half Black White works as a neutral backdrop on the lower cabinets, walls, ceiling and trims. Bowl from Backhouse, shutters from Santa Fe, drawer pulls from ECC.  Illustration: Malcolm White.

Top tip: Resene wood stains and urethanes help to enhance the beauty of timber flooring while protecting your investment. Inside, use Resene Colorwood to rejuvenate the colour in your wooden floors, walls, ceilings and furnishings. Outside, use Resene Woodsman to enhance, rejuvenate and protect timber.

Kitchen mixer
Elementi Ion Swivel Kitchen Mixer – Black; Harrison Bloy
Avorio Counter Stool
Avorio Counter Stool; Trenzseater
Splashback; Prestige Tiles
Urban Lightline
Urban Lightline Suspension; Venicem
Stove Top Gift Set
Tom Dixon Brew Stove Top Gift Set Stainless Steel, ECC

Alternative solution – desert chic

Soft, sunset shades meet luxe old world glamour

Designer Becky Lee suggests this alternative scheme:


If I had to create a hashtag for this design, I think #desertglamchic would fit it! My starting point was the artwork, Midnight at the Oasis, which has been used as the inspiration for the hand-painted tiles across the back wall. For me, the desert evokes images of the muted tonal colours of rocks and minerals, and shimmering mirages. The varied finishes from the high-gloss Resene Rocky Mountain floor to the brushed brass accents reference the mirage while the panelling brings in a luxe old world aspect. The cabinetry is finished in Resene Despacito – the softest bone-meets-pink – and Resene Smoothie, which is earthy and complex. A large veined Caesarstone benchtop adds a mineral element while the barstools playfully contrast the hard lines and repeat the circular motifs of the sun design and cupboard handles.

Phone: 021 668 740   Web:

Desert chic kitchen
Becky’s eclectic design is a study in contrasts – old meets new, light meets dark, curved meets angular, matte meets gloss, and casual meets chic. The result is a warm and welcoming space, and the custom, hand-painted tile mural is a stunning standout in Resene Half Blanc, Resene Influential, Resene Shabby Chic and Resene Soulful. Resene Rocky Mountain on the floor grounds the space while the Resene Eighth Blanc ceiling provides lift. Resene Despacito and Resene Smoothie bring a sense of softness to the cabinets, despite their sharp lines, while the hanging smoked glass shelf creates intimacy without closing off the space. Range from Eurotech Design, drawer pulls from In Residence, antique food bowls and vase (on shelf) from Corcovado and blinds from Artisan Collective.  Illustration: Malcolm White.

Top tip: The new Resene AquaLAQ range is a full system especially designed for kitchen cabinetry, furniture and joinery with durability and authentic colour in mind, including a complete waterborne system of sealer, colour coat and Environmental Choice approved clear coat. See

Light Grey New Antiques Barstool from Moooi; ECC
Sink mixer
Perrin and Rowe One Hole Sink Mixer with White Porcelain Levers in Satin Brass; In Residence
Cabinet handle
Semi Circular Hammered Moon Solid Brass Cabinet Handle; In Residence
Statuario Nuvo Benchtop
Statuario Nuvo Benchtop; Caesarstone
Tile mural
Custom tile mural inspired by original artwork Midnight at the Oasis; Samantha Elise

Resene Rocky Mountain

Resene Despacito

Resene Smoothie

Resene Influential

Resene Shabby Chic

Resene Soulful

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