Sarah and Brian’s retro revival

18 Jun 2015

Starting with a tight budget and a passion for Resene Wasabi, a sharp green, Sarah and Brian have given their 1970s home the retro revival it deserves.

How did the project come about?

We have renovated a few properties during the past 15 years, but when we purchased this property three years ago we decided it was our last. The house was in original 1970s condition, with layers upon layers of wallpaper and an ugly old kitchen. As we were making this a long-term home we wanted to design it to our taste and be a bit more creative. We were on a pretty tight budget and there were a lot of unexpected costs (such as having to re-wire the house) so we had to come up with ways to modernise without spending too much.

Who was involved with the project?

My partner Brian and I did most of the work, using tradesmen only for the trickier stuff. I did all the design and planning and Brian created the dream, spending most weekends and many nights after work.

What Resene colours have you used and what inspired those choices?

I started with Resene Wasabi (green) because I love that colour and just had to use it in my kitchen, then I used lots of Resene colour swatches until I found the other colours to complement it – Resene Gothic (teal), Resene Black and Resene Blanc.

I love dark walls and using Resene Gravel in our dining room really accented the retro wallpaper. (The couple imported the wallpaper from Germany but you could get the look with one of the Retrospective wallpapers, codes RSB-005-102-7 or RSB-007-02-2 from Resene ColorShops.)

I also loved the Resene Gravel on the exterior of the sleepout with the Resene Wasabi door. The rest of the house is painted in Resene Quarter Truffle with Resene Blanc for the doors and trims.

How did you decide on the overall look of the interiors?

I scoured the internet for ideas; all I knew was that we wanted a funky retro look. We did one room at a time, and funnily enough, each room blended quite well with the others, even though we didn’t consciously plan this. I had to work hard to persuade Brian to do the kitchen this way as he’s a bit more conservative than me and was worried it wouldn’t work. He loves it now!

What part of the house are you most happy with?

I am most happy with the kitchen, the result is amazing and everyone who comes into our home comments how awesome it looks. This was the biggest transformation, yet we used all the existing cabinets and doors. We spent about quarter of the cost of a new kitchen and I love the quirkiness we’ve created which you’d never get with a new kitchen.

What is your advice for someone trying to achieve a similar look?

Search the internet for pictures of other people’s projects and ideas, Do lots of planning, drawing, cutting out and use lots of different Resene testpots until you find the colours you’re happy with.

What was the biggest decorating, renovating or building challenge for this project?

Definitely the kitchen! We saved a lot of money using the old cabinets, but that meant a lot more work for us. Mid-century kitchens had lower and narrower benches, so to fit a dishwasher under the bench meant we had to pull out and raise the framing of the cabinetry. Refurbishing the inside of the cupboards was tedious and fiddly work.

Do you have a favourite colour, and if so why is it your favourite?

My favorite colour is Resene Wasabi.  I’ve tried to use it on everything but Brian said that was enough green!

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

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The kitchen seen through a retro arch, and framed with the Resene Gravel walls of the adjoining dining space. The kitchen cabinets are in Resene Wasabi (green), Resene Gothic (teal), Resene Black and Resene Blanc. 

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Sarah and Brian are most proud of the kitchen, which uses the original cabinets, repainted in Resene Wasabi (green), Resene Gothic (teal), Resene Black and Resene Blanc. 

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The dining room walls are Resene Gravel with a feature wall in a German paper. You could get the the look with one of the Retrospective collection wallpapers (codes RSB-005-102-7 or RSB-007-02-2) from Resene ColorShops.

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The exterior of the sleepout is painted Resene Gravel with a Resene Wasabi door. 

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Inside the sleepout, green is used as an accent against Resene Quarter Truffle walls and Resene Blanc trims.

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The quirky letterbox is just a taste of things to come at Sarah and Brian’s home. The exterior was painted Resene Foggy Grey after they spotted the colour on another house and door-knocked for the paint name. 

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The couple’s daughter's room has a feature wall in a wallpaper from the Resene Black & White collection from Resene ColorShops.

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Their son’s room has a feature wall with a wallpaper from the Resene Boys & Girls collection from Resene ColorShops. 

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Timber paneling, a painted brick niche (complete with flying ducks) and a hooded firebox – the 1970s origins of the house couldn’t be more obvious. 

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The living room walls are painted in Resene Quarter Truffle as a quiet counterpoint to the colourful furnishings and kitchen. 

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Resene Gravel is used again in the master bedroom as a feature wall behind the bed.

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Resene Foggy Grey

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Resene Quarter Truffle

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