From Habitat magazine - issue 34, feature house
A traditional villa with a striking modern extension has found harmony through its combination of greens and whites.
The owners of this serene Auckland villa are hardworking professionals with two active young daughters and yet their home, painted in ethereal whites and fern greens, seems to cast a soothing spell. The white cladding, inside and out, is painted with Resene Merino and Resene Whitewash and makes you feel as if you're tucked up under a cuddly blanket. The good vibes continue as you follow the meandering flagstone path into the garden where you'll see butterflies perching on purple verbena and bees buzzing on salvia. Yet, despite its environmental harmony, this is a home of contrasts. A 'mullet'-style building – part-traditional villa, part-modern extension – it shouldn't work, but does. Last year the home won the Resene Total Colour Residential Exterior Colour Maestro Award for its use of colour.
When Kat and her husband bought the house 10 years ago, it wasn't the serene space it is today. A friend, who'd also visited the open home, described the rundown 1910s villa as “derelict”. Kat wouldn't go so far: “Derelict is a bit harsh, but the old girl did need a lot of love.” It needed insulation, new paint and the windows wouldn't shut, yet they loved it anyway. And renovation was always part of the plan. But on the first night in their 'new' home, Kat's dreams of doing up the old house deflated, literally.
“I thought it would be romantic to go into the house on the first night we owned it and camp out sleeping on an airbed. But it was freezing cold, and the airbed went flat within about two hours. So, we left the house in the middle of the night and went back to our rental.”
Cash-strapped and “mortgaged up to the hilt”, the couple did some stopgap renovations – just enough to make the villa liveable. They patched up holes, painted walls and installed insulation and Kat paid $100 for a second-hand kitchen. They sketched plans for a future extension on the back of an envelope. Eight years and two children later, when the mortgage reached an acceptable level, they made their dreams a reality. But they didn't know where to start and so consulted Strachan Group Architects (SGA). The upside of not rushing into the extensions was that the family had been able to spend time “heatmapping” those parts of the house which they lived in the most.
“We observed which rooms we actually spent time in. We love entertaining, but recognised that it was just the four of us a lot of the time. It wasn't a priority to make entertaining spaces. We noticed we needed little zones around the house for reading, working and playing games,” says Kat.
The architects listened to their feedback and politely tossed out the couple's envelope drawings.
They came back with a 60-square-metre extension that was a modern take on a lean-to. The new living area is connected to the original villa by a narrow linking laundry. The snazzy design meant the villa's roof didn't need to be touched.
Colour was one of the ways the architects created synergy between the two disparate spaces. Rather than matching the extension to the original house, they used contrast to create cohesion and comfort.
Resene Whitewash was not only used on the exterior but also in the new interior living area. The whitewash highlights the wood grain, which gives the larch a natural look.
Kat was initially unsure about the prospect of white on both the outdoor and indoor wood. “We didn't want it to feel like a show home; we don't live like that,” but she warmed to the idea when she learned that the exterior wood colour would age and weather over time.
The architects suggested dark green for the villa street-front exterior, but Kat was again unsure about the bold colour.
“They suggested green, but I wasn't very confident. I kept suggesting grey, but the architects very politely said no. They told me that, traditionally, villas were a lot more colourful. So, at first, we opted for Resene Flax,” says Kat.
The painting was underway when Kat realised it still wasn't right. “I drove past the house and realised it looked far too light. I panicked and raced to the Resene ColorShop. I suggested grey again, but they calmed my nerves, and they suggested the darker shade, Resene Siam.
“When I have been lucky enough to travel to Europe in the past. I'd walk down the street and see purple-and-lime coloured houses, and it was so joyful.”
Interior colour choices tie the villa and the extension together further. Resene Merino is used on the walls of most of the rooms, and Resene Cabbage Pont on the ceiling of the bathroom links the exterior colour to the inside.
The home's design was put to the test last year. Zoom meetings and Zoom schooling meant the family put the zones to good use. “We had a Zoom schedule so that we could each try and find some quiet for our video calls. It was hysterical; one day, there were nine meetings on the schedule. My daughter went onto the trampoline for one of her lessons,” says Kat.
“The home has worked out great. We're really grateful for what we have and it brings us a lot of happiness.”
The family's garden, designed by Zoë Carafice for Xanthe White Design, is also planted with zones and pathways. "There's hardly any lawn, and that doesn't feel like the best use of space, but actually, the girls use and play in the garden a lot," says Kat. The garden is planted with bee and butterfly-friendly plants such as salvia 'black knight' and verbena bonariensis. There is also a rain garden near the outdoor seating area designed to mitigate water that runs off the roof. The rain garden connects to the stormwater drain and has layers of sand, pebbles, mulch and an overflow system. A rain chain encourages water to run into the garden from the roof. Canna 'panache' is planted on top and the peach-coloured flowers blend into the soft-coloured Resene Woodsman Whitewash cladding. Consult with your local council before installing a rain garden – consents may be required.
Choose the right Resene colours and paints for the job.
The house is clad in Siberian larch, which has similar durable qualities to cedar but with a knottier look. Resene Woodsman Whitewash highlights the beautiful grain, while protecting the timber. For a deeper wood stain, Resene Waterborne Woodsman is available in a range of hues, including Resene CoolColour to reflect more heat in darker colours.
Pat de Pont of SGA Architects encourages his clients to use bold colours for villas. “I think there is a misconception that white or off-white is a traditional colour for villas. The reality is that the original colours for these buildings were much bolder and paint technology in those days favoured rich earthy colours,” he says. “Instead of picking out individual elements of the villa exterior in different colours as the Victorians would have done, we kept the mix simple with a block of colour and contrasting window and door frames. We used Resene Siam on the weatherboards, Resene Double Sea Fog for the doors and windows and Resene Gravel to anchor the steps.”If you are keen to recreate a palette of yesteryear, the Resene Heritage colour chart is a handy place to start choosing colours inspired by traditional colour palettes. Order a Resene Heritage chart free online, or pick up a copy at your Resene ColorShop or reseller.
While the home's exteriors are painted in contrasting shades, to unify the interior, most of the villa walls and its extension are the same shade – Resene Merino. The new living area's battened ceiling is a nod to the villa's ceiling detail and is painted to complement it in Resene Half Merino.
deco glam in an outdoor entertaining dream
Rock the House designer and The Block NZ TV presenter Shelley Ferguson suggests this alternative scheme:
I love the connection to the outdoors this architecture allows, so have created a fresh, uplifting and summery design to maximise outdoor living and reflect our coastal colour palettes. The hero is Resene Nebula on the cabinets, one of my favourite grey/greens, which picks up the colours of the pale blue swimming pool and the crisscrossed star jasmine on the back wall. Deco-inspired touches include arch motifs on the cabinetry, globe lighting, statement marble, tufted bench seats and a glamorous inbuilt bar. The ideal home for entertaining!
Top tip: To protect timber flooring, apply Resene Qristal ClearFloor, a waterborne clear finish. To add more colour depth to timber use in combination with Resene Colorwood Enhance, or rejuvenate timber with Resene Colorwood wood stain before applying Resene Qristal ClearFloor.
Outdoor Chairs, from May Time.
Star Jasmine, from Palmers Garden Centre.
Miira Brass Opal Pendant Light, from Slow Store.
EK Series Outdoor Wood Fireplace, from Escea.
Tasman Sunlounger, from Cintesi.
a blue and yellow theme inspired by nature
Resene Colour Consultant Brenda Ngatai suggests an alternative scheme:
This look connects the natural elements of water, sun and air and transforms the backyard into an urban sanctuary with native plants and animal life. The colour palette is classic blue and yellow, with blue furnishings and a blue birdbath and walls in Resene Weathered Yellow from the Karen Walker Paints collection. The accents of black including the stacker-style joinery ground the look and give a sense of balance to the aesthetics. Native plants, including kōwhai, not only look beautiful but can feed birds such as tūī, bellbird/korimako and kererū. A custom-built fish tank brings in aquatic life. The overall feeling is relaxed and comfortable – the hope is to lift the spirits and give a sense of freedom.
Top tip: The sloping ceiling is an architectural feature of this home. To help keep ceilings like this looking good, use Resene Fly Deterrent, available in Resene SpaceCote Flat Fly Deterrent or you can have it added to Resene interior paint. It helps to create a surface that flies don't like to sit on, reducing the appearance of fly spots.
Wonboyn Pendant Light, from Freedom Furniture.
Kiri Sideboard, from Hunter Furniture.
Resene Living Collection Cushion, from Briscoes.
Evie Rocking Chair, from Freedom Furniture.
Luenta Floor Rug, from Freedom Furniture.
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