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Janice and Julian’s simply beautiful furniture

26 Oct 2017

We’re not being too formal when we refer to this couple as Mr and Mrs Ward – that’s the name of the simple yet striking range of furniture Janice Kumar-Ward and Julian Ward design and make, and often finish in Resene paint.   

She is an interior architect and designer. He is a furniture maker. What started as a hobby after the couple designed pieces for their own house, has blossomed into a fully fledged business. See more at www.mrandmrsward.nz.

Janice tells us more.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Julian started in the family furniture manufacturing business, Ward Manufacturing, when he was 15, and now at 40 has been running it with his brother Tristan for the past 12 years. He and I saw a gap in the market for good-quality, New Zealand made, versatile furniture that can be used in multiple areas of the home, and tailored to the buyer. For example, the Slim Jim drawers can be stacked together to create a console for the hallway, or used singularly to store clothes in a kid’s room. We use two of our Brutus cabinets side-by-side in our dining room to act as a drinks cabinet. Brutus is so named because its big and heavy and can do anything.

Tell us more about your designs.

One of our top sellers is the Bedside Box, which can be any colour, have a pattern or words routered into the front, can sit on legs or be wall hung. Our designs can be easily customised.

The Slim Jim can be made wider or taller, be painted or in wood veneer. Adaptability is key to everything we do. It's not over-designed and we wanted to create pieces that you could put together for a whole look.

These Mr and Mrs Ward Bedside Boxes are painted in Resene Woodstock and Resene Foggy Grey.

This push-to-open mechanism of the bedside table means there's less expense on hardware. That is one of our philosophies – to minimise handles and the like. The Brutus has a negative detail that acts as a handle.

Our home is a testing ground for our furniture. If they make it to the factory floor, you can guarantee they've survived the hard knocks of family life (including our children Stella and Ted).

Storage cabinets include the two-drawer Brutus finished in Resene Inside Back, the Slim Jim Robe in Resene Zion, and the wood veneer Wedding Chest.  

What home/architectural/design trends are you excited about at the moment and why?

We love that New Zealanders are starting to really think about what and from where they are purchasing. Whether they are buying internationally or from here, they're looking for quality pieces not quantity, and pieces that are responsibly made. 

What Resene colours are you drawn to at the moment and why?

Both Jules and I are obsessed with green – Resene Seaweed and Resene Tiki Tour are current favourites.

If you were designing for yourself, what three things would top your wish list?

We need more storage. And we need a new roof; ours leaks. 

I want to add colour to our home – we've lived with my favourite Resene Alabaster for 10 years now and I'm ready for a change! I want to be really brave.

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing editor Sharon Newey on [email protected].