From Habitat magazine - issue 33, feature house
As stylist Annick Larkin shows, decorating a family home is not a one-and-done game
Like many homeowners, stylist and interior designer Annick Larkin spent the first lockdown taking notice of all the things around her home that she'd fallen out of love with. She and husband Tim originally purchased their 1901 villa in 2009, and they embarked on their first renovation a few years later.
Top tip: Some complex colours change drastically with different lighting such as Resene I Do, which can look pale grey in some lighting to light lilac in other lighting.
“At the time that we bought the house, we only had Lottie, who was six months old. It suited the needs of our small family then, but by 2012, our family had grown with the arrival of Esther and Tom. The house worked okay while the kids were really little, but once they were all at school and much more independent, the house wasn't functioning how we needed it to,” she says. “We looked at moving, but we couldn't find anything suitable within our budget and in close proximity to school – so that's when we decided to renovate.”
“Our large living/dining room was originally situated where Tom's room and the master bedroom are now. We installed a partition wall between the living and dining room, creating a new bedroom space – which we desperately needed.”
Their previous home was full of bold colours, which Annick loved, but she was ready for something new. “I still wanted to use colour, but through a much more refined and mature palette. I'm also a lover of wallpaper, so I knew I wanted to use wallpaper in some of the rooms for colour, texture and interest. It was important that the house felt modern, light and fresh, but I also wanted to bring back the beautiful character features that the previous owners had removed.”
“My kids are also not great sleepers, so I wanted to create rooms that were restful and calming but were still fun and reflected their personalities. I knew I wanted the upstairs living spaces to feel light, fresh and airy while I wanted downstairs to feel cosy and relaxed.”
The results were spectacular, and Annick was thrilled. But it's been nearly eight years since the family's initial reno wrapped, and you know what they say about idle hands when they find unexpected extra time – Annick picked up some new Resene colours and got stuck in to repainting everything that had been giving her those niggling feelings.
First came the laundry, which went from white to deep and dusky Resene Rocky Mountain. It's since joined ranks among Annick's very favourite Resene colours. Next came the kitchen island.
“When we renovated, I had always planned on painting our timber floor white, but as this was one of the last things to be done in the reno, the budget annoyingly ran out,” she says. “Unfortunately, I had planned my bleached oak and arctic white kitchen cabinetry – ordered months prior to installation – around having a white floor. The floor we have is rimu, so even though we've sanded it back, it still has a slight orange hue – and it didn't blend with the bleached oak cabinetry, which drove me batty. Given that painting the island was far more budget friendly than painting all the floor, I opted to paint the island cabinets and back in Resene Nocturnal. It's not a true black, so it still has warmth to it and doesn't contrast the other white cabinets too severely. I love how it defines the kitchen now.”
But once she spun around to face the living area, something was missing. Out came the dropcloths and rollers and on went Resene Balderdash on the two walls and bulkhead that wrap around behind the sofa. For balance and levity, the tongue-and-groove panelled accent wall in Resene Wan White and the ceiling and architraves in Resene Half Black White stayed as they were. After that came son Tom's bedroom, with a brand new wallpaper and a ceiling and crown mouldings in Resene Bismark. While she loved his old colour scheme in Resene Kangaroo, he had definitely outgrown it.
While she's over the moon about her recent colour changes, Annick's favourite room is still the master bedroom – the walls of which are dressed in chic wainscoting painted in Resene I Do, a genteel misty greige. Like many other hues in her home, it has an added level of complexity and looks extra inviting with teal accents and a ceiling and crown mouldings in Resene Wan White.
Since we visited, Annick has already made another trip to her local Resene ColorShop. Her upcoming decorating plans involve Resene Quarter Bison Hide, Resene Eighth Joss and Resene Rakaia – and we can't wait to see what she does next.
Choose the right Resene colours and paints for the job.
Many of the rooms in Annick and Tim's home benefit from amazing natural lighting, which keeps the mood light – even in areas like the stairwell (painted in Resene Indian Ink), where the walls are dark. No matter which hue you paint your walls, ceiling and floor, be sure to adjust your lighting accordingly so your colour and space look their best.
Annick gave her laundry an update over lockdown in Resene Rocky Mountain, chosen for its moody, sophisticated tone that contrasts the whiteware. “I absolutely love the finished look – it honestly makes the time I spend in the laundry so much more enjoyable,” she says. Try Resene Rocky Mountain with deep wine reds, light greys or inky blacks such as Resene Rustic Red, Resene Surrender or Resene Nero.
For darker coloured walls, opt for Resene SpaceCote Flat, which creates a soft, velvety finish as it reflects less light. Of course, a great finish starts with proper preparation, so be sure holes have been repaired, old wallpaper has been removed and any old stained plasterboard has been sealed with Resene Sureseal before you dip into your topcoat colour.
a toasty bedroom for maximum relaxation
Designers Alice and Caleb Pearson suggest this alternative scheme:
The master bedroom should be a haven within a home. For us, that is created through subtle earthy tones and clean lines – which really means a simplistic, uncluttered space – and soft textured accessories that feel great. To achieve this, we selected Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream for the walls; a sharp white with an inkling of green hidden within. To elongate the stunning large windows and ornate trims, we used Resene Half Ash, added dramatic full length white linen window coverings and hung glass amber pendants from the ceiling. To visually ground the room and give a nod to the heritage of the home, we stained the hardwood floor in Resene Colorwood Dark Rimu with a Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K satin finish. For the furnishings, we added a metal four post bed and delicate black bedside tables then brought in natural elements with linen bedding, a jute rug and wool throw to complete the look.
Top tip: Minimise fly spots on ceilings with Resene Fly Deterrent. Designed to discourage flies from sitting on the painted surface, it reduces the appearance of unwanted fly spots and is especially helpful for high ceilings like this.
a rich and regal work-from-home set up
Designer Georgia Langridge suggests this alternative scheme:
The key to a great home office is finding balance between personality and warmth without creating distractions. In this room, I've done that by paring back the refinement but turning up the texture. I wanted to further accentuate the room's height by choosing a dark, rich timber stain, Resene Colorwood Banjul, on the flooring to ground the space and bright white on the ceiling to leaven it. Vertically, I've used a variety of neutral tones, including Resene Half Alabaster, darker grey Resene Surrender and mid-tone Resene Iron to connect the two and create further depth and texture. The furnishings are relatively minimalist and gender neutral, but with varied lines and forms to add interest to the space. For warmth and softness, I have added a plant and layered sheer drapery on the windows, while a quirky pen holder and paperweight serve both practically and decoratively to make the space more personable.
Top tip: If you choose a darker colour for an accent wall in your home office, tint it into Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen and it can double as a chalkboard!
design: Annick Larkin
images: Emma MacDonald, fotographicnz
illustration (alternative solutions): Malcolm White
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