A Kāpiti Coast home’s beachin' blue update

19 Jan 2021

Bold Resene blues add character to this Kapiti Coast home’s spectacular contemporary update.

When you’re building your ‘forever home,’ it can be difficult to design it in a way that’s forward-thinking enough to take your potential future needs into account. But the reality is that there are many elements of a home that need to be designed correctly from the get-go in order to accommodate later stages of life if you plan to stay put for the long haul. It’s hard for many able-bodied people to imagine a time when maintaining their independence could ultimately come down to their home’s layout, or whether their doorways are wide enough for a wheelchair or walker. But then there’s couples like Deanna and Marcel, whose visionary thinking blows the rest of us out of the water.

Their enlightened concept took an existing 1940s cottage with a swimming pool on a large, steep site on the Kapiti Coast and saw it evolve into an airy modern home that not only accounts for their own current and future needs, but also the future needs of others.

“The homeowners have a vision to create a small retirement complex in the future that spreads over the three titles that form their parcel of land,” explains Wellington-based architect William Giesen, who was responsible for the design. “The redevelopment of the existing house and reconditioning of the swimming pool was within this broader vision, and their home could one day act in part as the central communal space for the entire complex.”

Seeing it now, it’s difficult to imagine that the original cottage was ever there at all. It has since swelled to house three bedrooms and ample living areas within a striking contemporary shell. But William’s design team was mindful of the history of the house, the existing landscape and native trees – which have been maintained – and sought ways to incorporate materials from the cottage within the new build.

“We enlarged the existing building to increase its connection to the pool then added a gallery entrance space, which links into the new two-storey addition that is designed to be able to act as a separate apartment. It offers the chance for the couple to live independently from the main section of the home if required in the future.”

The roofline of the original cottage was mirrored through a new gable, which extends alongside the pool to house the office, guest bedroom and bathroom. This elongated structure also acts as a barrier to protect a new poolside lounge that overlooks the Tasman Sea and Kapiti Island.

“The existing gable was also extended to the east to form a new entrance gallery and act as a buffer space between the communal living areas and the new addition,” he adds.

Coming up with the overall look and a Resene paint palette to suit was a joint effort shared between the homeowners and the architectural team. Together, they decided on a subdued scheme with splashes of blue added for impact. Sophisticated yet not at all stuffy, their choices bring an inherent warmth to the updated home.

“Deanna and Marcel really like blue, and their garden,” says William, “so the interior was developed to focus on bringing in highlights of that colour within a neutral palette. The strong blues and soft neutrals were inspired by the mature trees nestled around the site, which also overlooks the ever-changing Tasman Sea. While blue hues can be found throughout the home, the kitchen, bathrooms and doors are the areas and elements with the most intensely concentrated colour.”

Resene Allports, a deep-toned cerulean blue, was chosen to link the house to the swimming pool, sea and open skies beyond. This colour was used on the kitchen cabinetry as the reflection of these two bodies of water into the house while Resene Guru, a Persian-inspired turquoise, boldly enhances a number of the interior doors.

To balance and complement the intensity of the blues, a palette of natural materials, including timber flooring and trims, whitewashed plywood ceilings and custom millwork are offset by walls in Resene Half Merino, a light and versatile off-white with a green oxide undertone that brings in a hint of the greenery that surrounds the home.

Of the finished results – at least until the next phase of their plan is underway – Deanna says she and Marcel love it all. “I still get a thrill walking into the bathrooms and going up the stairs.”

William singled out the integration of the existing swimming pool as one of the project’s most successful elements. “It has worked really well with the living room, which opens in two directions: to the pool and into a secluded and sheltered rear courtyard area.”

For others with grand ideas of their own, Deanna offers this important advice: “listen to your architect, but still maintain your own initiative and ideas. Starting with a solid base will allow you to personalise it with your own style and colours.”


Cabinets in Resene Allports, a rich cerulean blue, are the crown jewel of Deanna and Marcel’s renovation. This bold hue makes a stylish statement and defines this main open plan living and dining area with adjacent walls in Resene Half Merino and a ceiling in Resene Quarter Merino. The matai flooring has been sealed in Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K and recycled timber architraves have been sealed with Resene Qristal Clear, while the plywood built-in cabinetry has been finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash.


Pops of blue décor dotted throughout the living space tie into the Resene Allports kitchen cabinetry. The timber flooring has been sealed in Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K, trims have been sealed with Resene Qristal Clear and the custom shelving and plywood details have been finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash.


No space is wasted in this home’s thoughtful redesign. Custom millwork finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash ensures Deanna and Marcel have ample space for working, storage and displaying favourite belongings throughout their home. Walls in Resene Half Merino, ceiling in Resene Quarter Merino, timber trims sealed in Resene Qristal Clear and timber flooring sealed in Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K.



Plywood lined ceilings, wardrobes and a headboard finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash bring warmth and softness to Deanna and Marcel’s sophisticated master and spare bedrooms. Walls in Resene Half Merino, trims sealed in Resene Qristal Clear and flooring sealed in Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K.


Rich watery blue makes another splashy appearance in the bathroom. Door in Resene Guru, ply ceiling finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash and cabinets sealed in Resene Qristal Clear.


The design team found a number of clever and striking ways to incorporate parts of the original cottage into the new addition. Plywood walls and ceiling finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash, other walls in Resene Half Merino, reclaimed timber stairs sealed in Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K and trims sealed in Resene Qristal Clear.


While it may be pared down, this minimalist rumpus room has style to spare with a table tennis table (with a blue top, of course) and another piece from the homeowners’ impressive collection of art complemented by a door in Resene Guru. Walls in Resene Half Merino, ceiling in Resene Quarter Merino, trims sealed in Resene Qristal Clear and floor finished in Resene Concrete Wax.


The flow of the main living/dining space has been maximised to make it easy to enjoy everything outside that the home has to offer, including a dazzling pool and views of the Tasman Sea beyond. Interior walls in Resene Half Merino, timber trims sealed in Resene Qristal Clear and floor sealed in Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K.

Paint it right
Choose the right Resene colours and paints for the job.

Match, natch
Every Resene colour is made with its own unique formulations using tinters exclusive to Resene. No matter what may be said, a colour is never truly right unless it is made using the exact paint, tinters and formulations it was designed with. To get the authentic Resene colour you’re looking for on your kitchen cabinetry, use Resene AquaLAQ. It’s especially designed for kitchen furniture and joinery and includes a waterborne sealer, colour coat and Environmental Choice approved clear coat.

Style tip
While Resene Allports was the perfect colour to connect Deanna and Marcel’s kitchen to its watery surroundings, another gorgeous bold hue like Resene Citrus, Resene Clockwork Orange or Resene Red Berry might be the right choice for your home.


Get the look
William created continuity in the design of this home using the homeowner’s favourite hue, blue, on many of their interior doors. Bring an eye-catching statement colour to yours with durable Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss or Resene Enamacryl gloss waterborne enamel.

 design Bonnefait + Giesen Atelierworkshop Architects, www.atelierworkshop.com
images Russell Kleyn, www.russellkleyn.com

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

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Resene Half Merino

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Resene Quarter Merino

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Resene Clockwork Orange

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Resene Half Merino

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Resene Quarter Merino

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Resene Clockwork Orange

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the look

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