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go with the flow

From Habitat magazine - issue 33, feature garden

A 1930s bungalow gets refreshed with Resene, both inside and out.

The crossroads of old world charm and colourful contemporary character meet at Rachel and Steven's 1930s Auckland bungalow, which they share with their two children, Elias and Ivy. While open plan living may be the norm for many new build and renovated home layouts these days, Rachel and Steven fell completely in love with the composition of their character bungalow and its clearly defined areas. They left its ornate high ceilings, panelled walls, dado rails and floor plan intact and uplifted it with a considered selection of Resene paint colours and a layered mix of vintage and contemporary décor.

Stucco exterior in Resene Quarter Silver Chalice
Rachel and Steven's renovated bungalow looks good as new and has charm to spare following a total update and new landscaping. Stucco exterior in Resene Quarter Silver Chalice, doors, trims and awning in Resene Villa White, fascia and sill details in Resene Shark and retaining walls in Resene Stack.

"Each room has its own personality and style which gives the house a real sense of authenticity," says Rachel.

When it came to the bungalow's exterior, they took a similar approach by opting to retain its charming façade but refreshing its painted surfaces. To complement their eye-catching terracotta roof, they went for Resene Quarter Silver Chalice for the stucco, Resene Villa White for the doors, trims and awning and Resene Shark to add contrast to the fascia and windowsill details.

But when it came to the garden and patio, much more significant changes were in order."

Garden steps to a private playhouse
An outdoor shed in Resene Ironsand
Deck/house: The garden steps make for a 'private entrance' to daughter Ivy's playhouse. Inside, Rachel's aptitude for colour choices can be seen, with Resene Sour Dough on the walls of the informal lounge and Resene Villa White on the window trims. Retaining walls in Resene Stack, exterior stucco in Resene Quarter Silver Chalice, fence in Resene Ironsand and doors, trims and awning in Resene Villa White.  Backyard: The bungalow's backyard is broken down into a number of distinct zones, a strategy that's very effective for getting the most out of your outdoor space. Whether the kids want to jump on the trampoline or mum and dad want to entertain a crowd, there's a place for everyone to enjoy the yard the way they want to. Fence and shed in Resene Ironsand.  » Alternative solution: contemporary European splendour

When we bought the bungalow, the garden was completely different. It had been beautifully landscaped, but it unfortunately didn't suit us for various reasons. Firstly, it had a spa pool and water feature, and we had very young children. Secondly, it was full of tropical plants – many of which had vicious spikes or thorns," says Rachel.

She estimates that they removed at least 90% of the plants before replacing them with native varietals. They also removed the spa pool and water feature and built a deck in their place.

"We wanted a garden that we could all relax in and that our children could play in without supervision."

Multiple zones in the garden for different activities

Steven and Rachel's backyard is a beautiful example of how delineating multiple 'zones' for entertaining, relaxation and play mean the space can be enjoyed in different ways, at different times, by different people. Awning, doors and window in Resene Villa White, sill details in Resene Shark, stucco in Resene Quarter Silver Chalice, retaining walls in Resene Stack and fence in Resene Ironsand.

Top tip: Pick a slightly darker hue for your exterior than you would for your interior, as the sun will often make your colour choice look lighter.

One of the things the family likes most about the yard are the different levels. "We built the deck on the upper level, and when you sit up there with the palm trees hanging overhead and the parakeets nesting above, it feels like you are floating on your own private little island. The different layers really give the yard a sort of resort feel."

Steven and Rachel are both big fans of creating 'zones' or delineated spaces both indoors and out – after all, that was a driving factor in maintaining the original layout when they renovated the inside of their home. "We adore the separation of the new garden. The garden was designed to suit the era of the home, so it has a distinctly art deco feel to it with lots of curves and rounded edges." The retaining walls were also given a stucco finish to coordinate with the look of the exterior, however, these were painted Resene Stack to provide subtle contrast.

Indoor / outdoor flow
Use a variety of seating options
Despite not being a typical open plan layout, Rachel and Steven's bungalow allows for plenty of indoor outdoor flow and multiple seating options. Exterior stucco in Resene Quarter Silver Chalice, fascia in Resene Shark, doors, trims and awning in Resene Villa White, retaining walls in Resene Stack and fence in Resene Ironsand.

It seems as though the new garden design ended up suiting even more of their lifestyle than they originally anticipated. Thanks to its flowing curves, the family's trampoline fits perfectly into a nook at the end, nestled under a canopy of puka trees that keep it beautifully cool in the summertime."

One Christmas," Rachel recalls, "we bought our daughter Ivy a wonderful little playhouse and conveniently, next to the deck, we had a set of stairs that we hardly ever used so we positioned her 'clubhouse' at the top of them to create her own private entrance."

Flowing curves feature in this garden
A transparent awning offers natural light
Curved garden: Thanks to the flowing curves of the new garden, there was a perfect spot to nestle in the family's trampoline and keep it tucked out of the way – and out of the hot sun. Retaining walls in Resene Stack and fence in Resene Ironsand.  Awning: The transparent awning allows more sunlight to enter into the home. Doors, trims and awning in Resene Villa White and exterior stucco in Resene Quarter Silver Chalice

Rachel says that her family has spent an enormous amount of time in the garden since the update. Steven loves relaxing in the hammock hung between palm trees while she prefers to lounge in the shade on a beanbag, on the lower level where she can drift in and out of the house with ease. "We've entertained a lot in the garden, and it's been the most wonderful space to have lots of friends over for barbeques."

While deciding on new colours for your home can seem overwhelming, Rachel settled on hers by investing in a selection of Resene testpots. "Try out many, many testpots," she recommends, "and, test patches of the same colour in different areas so that you can see what it looks like in different lighting." Judging by how great the bungalow looks now, her efforts clearly paid off.

Paint it right

Choose the right Resene colours and paints for the job.

Naturally clean

Get your patio in top shape for entertaining family and friends for summer barbeques with Resene Deep Clean. It's a simple, safe method of keeping all your outdoor areas free from moss, mould, algae and lichen. Simply spray it on paths, patios, decks and other exterior concrete, timber and painted surfaces and leave Resene Deep Clean and nature to do the work.

Cleaning the patio with Resene Deep Clean
Clean your patio with Resene Deep Clean
Repair old stucco or cement before repainting
Repair old stucco or cement before repainting

Style tip

They say variety is the spice of life. Adding one or more contrasting accent hues to support your base colour scheme is the ticket to really making your exterior shine. If you have a terracotta roof like Rachel and Steven's, bring a similar colour down into your garden by painting accents in one or more of these earthy Resene tones to create repetition in your scheme.

Making old new again

Before you get stuck in to repainting an old stucco or cement exterior, make sure the surface is properly cleaned and in good repair. Start with Resene Bio-Cleaner, which is a quick and easy way to clean outdoor surfaces to get them ready for painting. Then, use Resene Brushable Crack Filler. It's a convenient way to deal with small cracks in concrete buildings up to 2mm wide, which may still be cyclically moving up to 25%. The crack must be wide enough to fill with the Resene Brushable Crack Filler, depending upon the crack width multiple coats may be needed to achieve a flush finish. Prime hairline cracks with Resene X-200 before topcoating with your Resene finish.

Alternative solution – contemporary European splendour

build up height to make an impression

Designer Dean Philip Saunders suggests this alternative scheme:

Dean Philip Saunders

Symmetry and scale are the underpinning elements for this playful modern take on a traditional French provincial aesthetic. A bespoke concrete structure sits proud as the focal point, with an internal vertical moss wall taking centre stage. The concrete patio surface is defined and elevated with a metallic finish in Resene Spark to bring a sense of grandeur to the space. New vertical guardrails in Resene Blackout help delineate the entertaining area from the lower pool garden while the perimeter fence in Resene Waterborne Woodsman Crowshead frames the new garden and accentuates a row of Alnus jorullensis evergreen alder trees under planted with Hedera helix ivy. Low shrubs consisting of gardenia, penstemon, ajuga, liriope, helleborus and alternanthera line the lower pool area to envelop the space and create a colourful European flavour. The exposed concrete platforms, protected with Resene Concrete Conserver, provide an understated foundation while being a functional medium to the overall aesthetic.

contact: phone 021 244 6524    web:

Contemporary European garden by Dean Philip Saunders
Dean demonstrates how a synergy of architectural styling fused with clean symmetrical lines not only aids in maximising the individual spaces but fosters deliberate design detail into the overall layout. Covered patio surface in Resene Spark metallic paint, plant pot in Resene Copper Fire metallic paint, guardrails in Resene Blackout, fence in Resene Waterborne Woodsman Crowshead and natural concrete surfaces sealed with Resene Concrete Conserver

Top tip: If you can't find just the right colour furniture to suit your palette, paint it yourself. When painting new galvanised metal furniture, first wash it with Resene Roof and Metal Wash then apply Resene Galvo One before finishing with two topcoats of Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel. If your furniture is old and rusty, consult your local Resene ColorShop for advice and which products you will need to treat and rejuvenate it.

Hedera helix
Hedera helix
Gardenia veitchi
Gardenia veitchi
Piha chairs
Piha chairs; Ico Traders, 027 540 6600

Ajuga reptans
Concrete/Resin Plant Potq
Concrete/Resin Plant Pot; Artedomus, 09 361 1567

illustration (alternative solution): Malcolm White


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