Liz and Jody's enchanting country home

12 Dec 2015

Once upon a time, there was a couple who wanted a renovation challenge. They found it in Ashfield, a house built in 1913 for a country doctor to reside and practice in. They got to work – fixing it up, and wrapping it in warm Resene colour.

Today, the house sits on nearly five hectares of rich Geraldine land, with nearly two hectares of majestically tall English specimen trees. While the house and grounds are steeped in history, the property was overgrown, overwhelmed and bleak when Jody Leitch and Liz Thomson bought it in 2012.

The couple could foresee a fairytale ending with Ashfield. It's also a place where Jody’s sons Liam and Heath could get the big outdoor experience during the weekends – a change of scenery to their urban weekdays.

A solid two years, 12 wasp nests and an army of possums later – and spending every spare moment on redecorating – they've seen the fairytale evolve into a property that's truly enchanting.

Liz talks us through the makeover.

What was your design philosophy?

We wanted the interior to be in total harmony with the traditional English country garden setting. The windows are not very big, and some rooms are rimu paneled, so the right colour was essential to regain a light airy feel inside, too. We don’t get much natural light because of the gigantic trees outside, so the sunshine feeling had to come from within.

How did you revive the tired exterior?

We wanted to remove the overwhelming drabness and bleakness of the exterior and replace it with a warm inviting glow; at the same time, we wanted to bring this house back to its former glory and respect and embrace the era in which it was built. I also wanted to drive down the long drive of towering trees to an opening in the woodland that appeared as a beacon. The right colours were essential for the exterior of the house.

The biggest gutsy move in colours was selecting COLORSTEEL® in a terracotta tone for the new roofing. We chose Resene Double Pearl Lusta for the exterior walls and Resene Bianca for the fascias and window frames. We thought the traditional red roof, white walls and black trim would be too harsh for the setting so this colour palette is a softer variation of that.  

Tell us about some of the challenges during the makeover.

I love working with colour but every Resene testpot I brought home looked so wrong once it was inside the house. I had a sudden awakening to the fact that the aspect of a room changes a colour’s hue. While retaining the colour theme of the exterior I found, through a succession of testpots, a selection of colours that really worked. 

Top tip: Colour can change its tone depending on which direction your room faces. Read more: East, west, which direction is best?

Which room do you love the most?

The kitchen, which was my least favourite before – it was insipid, draining and always looked dirty! It's now painted in Resene Quarter Sisal and has new joinery painted in Resene Bianca, replacing an adequate (yet characterless) 90s kitchen that did my head in. 

This room is warm and inviting and has rekindled my desire to cook and even bake – a miracle in itself! This room took the whole two years living in the house to get right so don’t be discouraged if it takes a while. It’s also thanks of Paul Autridge of Geraldine Timber Products for his care and attention to the tiniest detail and dedication to following our plans. Taking the time really pays dividends. I’m thrilled with this room.

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

None

Liz's favourite room in the house, the kitchen. Resene Quarter Sisal on the walls and Resene Bianca on the new joinery keep it light and classic.

None

A close up of the country style kitchen, in Resene Quarter Sisal and Resene Bianca. 

None

The room before its makeover, described as a characterless 90s kitchen, insipid and draining.

None

The master bedroom is painted in Resene Half Sisal, a perfect match to the curtain fabric that Liz just had to have. The heirloom bedspread was handmade by her grandmother.

None

The spare bedroom follows with a subtly different interior scheme – in here, the couple has used Resene Half Haystack on the walls and Resene Powder Blue for the trims.

None

The kitchen leads into the living room, with furnishings that give a gentle nod to the rich heritage of the house. This room is painted in Resene Quarter Powder Blue.

None

A simple palette of Resene Half Haystack was perfect for the sitting room, resplendent with its original rimu features. Volumes of classic drapes maintain the English countryside atmosphere.

None

The exterior colours set the palette for the interior, with Liz and Jody choosing Resene Double Pearl Lusta to complement the new terracotta coloured roof. 

None

Liz had a longing "to drive down the long drive of towering trees to an opening in the woodland that appeared as a beacon" – and the couple's makeover of the home has achieved just that. 

None

The Ashfield exterior, before the makeover.

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Double Pearl Lusta

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Half Haystack

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Half Sisal

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Quarter Powder Blue

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Quarter Sisal

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Double Pearl Lusta

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Half Haystack

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Half Sisal

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Quarter Powder Blue

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Quarter Sisal

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.