When a client comes to you saying “I want colour and artistic expression throughout my house in a way no-one else has” as an Interior Designer you not only say “We can do that!” you also jump for joy, clap your hands together and resist from hugging them. These types of project are unfortunately quite rare.
This client presented an almost blank canvas in their Art Deco home which was in a very bland condition, painted a ‘dirty cream’ on what seemed every surface. The home needed a kitchen and bathroom renovation along with an exciting new interior colour scheme. The existing furnishings were an eclectic mix of original 60s pink velvet, upcycled pieces and family heirlooms which all needed to be incorporated.
Art was important to the young couple who had started to collect contemporary pieces and didn’t want to put cheap prints on the walls while amassing their desired collection. They wanted a sense of art around them and to really feel they were in an Art Deco home without it being a mere reproduction of the era or Baz Luhrmann overkill. They also wanted to have a sense of New Zealand in a subtle no blatant silver fern logos kind of way.
The floor plan was quite typically Art Deco featuring a gorgeous curved window wall in the living room flanked by the original scalloped fireplace and mantle. There was a great flow between living and dining rooms but the tiny enclosed kitchen definitely needed its wall ripped down to create more space, light and laughter for friends watching their own master chef in action.
The idea was to inject a sense of quirky elegance into the tired old lady and give her a modern edge. The kitchen began as the starting point and is literally the cliched heart of the house, as it is perfectly centralised. The existing shabby green cabinetry was removed along with a wall. We wanted to use traditional materials such as marble that would honour the era the house was built but also be very current. The kitchen would remain neutral in colouring but by using charcoal against stark white, a sense of drama would be created. Large colour blocking in the kitchen gives a contemporary edge. A dark charcoal, full wall pantry is mirror imaged by a full wall of black Italian Mosaics. David Trubridge boards were upcycled on the kitchen bench front creating local artistic reference and painted metallic silver to appear like sheets of textural metal sculpture.
Creating a sense of art was achieved throughout the house by actually treating the walls as canvases. Inspired by Art Deco glass work and furniture shapes, a simple masking tape method was used to create bold blocks of various Resene colours. The painted geometric design wraps across the walls from room to room interrupted by bare walls of Resene Black White which enables the design to breathe and not overcrowd the house. The charcoal in the kitchen is stretched out into horizontal bands in one direction as an entertaining dinner party blackboard, and bold striping in the entrance and fireplace.
Polished silk curtains cascading onto the floor in a soft metallic blue were chosen for their glamorous yet subtle lustre and enhance the graphic shapes of colour beside them. A juxtaposition of textures always makes a space more exciting.
The patina of the original timber floor is retained throughout the house including the bathroom. The dark shellac, wellworn in places gives authenticity to a house that is boasting 70 years young. To give the horizontal a final brush of magic an exquisite Catherine Martin hand knotted rug was added to the living room. The rug’s colours work in complete harmony with the geometric wall colours pulling the elements together and proving the extra Art Deco glamour.
Resene Black White
Gordon Gammie Construction Ltd
Cabinet maker: Richard Squire Designs
Interior designer: Kelly Gammie
Supplier – bathroom fittings: Mico Design