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ever evolving

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.

A light airy bedroom in Resene I Do and Resene Wan White
A villa exterior in Resene Sea Fog and Resene Alabaster
Bedroom: The walls, architraves, skirting boards and elegant detailing in Annick's airy bedroom looks extra chic in Resene I Do. Ceiling and crown moulding in Resene Wan White.  ›› Alternative looks: warm and toasty; rich and refinedVilla exterior: Annick and Tim's 1901 villa looks tidy and handsome with weatherboards in Resene Sea Fog trimmed with Resene Alabaster and a roof in Resene New Denim Blue. The porch is in slightly deeper Resene Triple Sea Fog while the front door makes a statement in Resene Blue Bark.

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.”

A living room in dramatic Resene Balderdash
The living area was recently given an update with freshly painted feature walls and a bulkhead in dramatic Resene Balderdash – Annick's current favourite colour. "Its jewel-like tone makes the space feel cosy and inviting, but because not all the walls are painted dark, it still feels light and inviting. I love it," she says. To contrast, the tongue-and-groove panelling is in Resene Wan White and the ceiling, skirting boards and architraves are in Resene Half Black White.

“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.”

A pretty bedroom using Resene Rouge and Resene Double Sea Fog
A dreamy bedroom in Resene Wan White
A Ceiling in bold Resene Bismark
Bunk-beds room: Esther studies in her pretty bedroom, which features a magnetic noticeboard made by mum. Annick used basecoats in Resene FX Magnetic Magic and topcoats in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Rouge – which works just like chalkboard paint. Right wall, skirting boards and window trims in Resene Double Sea Fog. Team with a wallpaper such as Resene Wallpaper Collection LL-04-05-7 or paint your own designDaybed room: Lottie's dreamy bedroom has rusty accents which are picked up in her bedding and pillowcases. Left wall, skirting boards, trims and ceiling in Resene Wan White. Team with a wallpaper such as Resene Wallpaper Collection 219292 or paint your own design Bold ceiling: Annick just updated her son Tom's bedroom in August with a ceiling and crown moulding in Resene Bismark. Walls, window trims and skirting boards in Resene Double Alabaster.

“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.

Before kitchen island repaint
A kitchen island painted in Resene Nocturnal
Before/after kitchen photos: A skylight floods extra light into the open plan kitchen and dining area. Kitchen island in Resene Nocturnal, walls and ceiling in Resene Half Black White.

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.”

A cosy rumpus room in Resene Coast
The downstairs rumpus room, where the kids can have hangouts with friends without worrying about mum and dad interrupting their fun, doubles as a media room for the family to cosy up and watch TV together. Walls and ceiling in Resene Coast help to create a cocooning space and keep screen glare to a minimum.

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.

Resene Rocky Mountain

Resene Wallpaper Collection LL-04-05-7

Resene Wallpaper Collection 219292

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.

Paint it right

Choose the right Resene colours and paints for the job.

Adjust accordingly

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.

A dramatic stairwell in Resene Indian Ink
Stairwell in Resene Indian Ink
A moody sophisticated laundry in Resene Rocky Mountain
Laundry room in Resene Rocky Mountain

Style tip

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.

Dressed for drama

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.

Resene Rocky Mountain

Alternative solution – warm and toasty

a toasty bedroom for maximum relaxation

Designers Alice and Caleb Pearson suggest this alternative scheme:

Alice and Caleb Pearson

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.

email:   web:

Original light airy bedroom
A warm and toasty bedroom look
Alternative solution
Alice and Caleb used warm Resene neutral paints and wood stains to turn this master bedroom into a toasty haven. Walls in Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream, ceiling in Resene Quarter Alabaster, architraves and skirting boards in Resene Half Ash, timber floor in Resene Colorwood Dark Rimu with Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K satin. Pause Voile curtains in Naturalle from the Resene Curtain Collection (available for ordering from your local Resene ColorShop or selected curtain specialist), rug from Miss Mara, bird ornament and woven cushion from Città, bedlinen and fringed cushion from McMullin & co. 

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.

Willow Glass Pendant
Willow Glass Pendant; Mr Ralph, 0800 677 2574
Four Poster Queen Bed
Four Poster Queen Bed; Incy Interiors, +61 428 830 630
Hannah Vessel
Hannah Vessel; McMullin & co, +61 423 114 882
Purl Knit Throw
Purl Knit Wool Throw; Città, 09 630 6177
Plinth Bedside Table
Plinth Bedside Table; Città, 09 630 6177

Alternative solution – rich and refined

a rich and regal work-from-home set up

Designer Georgia Langridge suggests this alternative scheme:

Georgia Langridge

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.

phone: 027 200 3840   web:

Original light airy bedroom
A rich and refined office look
Alternative solution
Georgia's design proves how important it is to get the details right to make your home office enjoyable to work in. The top two thirds of the Resene Curtain Collection window treatments have been left as their original Echelon Blonde design while the portion below the window trim has been given a dipped effect to match the lower wall and skirting boards by masking then painting them in Resene Surrender. Other walls in Resene Iron with inner panels in Resene Coast, timber floor in Resene Colorwood Banjul and window trims and ceiling in Resene Half Alabaster. Desk from Slow Store, chair from Kada, plant pot from Città

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!

New Works Lantern Pendant
New Works Lantern Pendant; Slow Store, 03 428 2555
Sini Vases
Sini Vases; Trenzseater, 09 303 4151
Typo Dachshund Pen Holder
Typo Dachshund Pen Holder; Cotton On, 09 887 9378
Juno Ottoman
Juno Ottoman; Me & My Trend, 09 415 8650
Tray Table Lamp
Tray Table Lamp; Freedom Furniture, 0800 469 327

Resene Curtain Collection Echelon Blonde
Resene Iron

design: Annick Larkin
images: Emma MacDonald, fotographicnz
illustration (alternative solutions): Malcolm White


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