Erin and Jaron’s cleverly recycled alpine retreat

07 Mar 2016

It may not look recycled in that vintage way we’ve become used to, but this Nelson Lakes holiday home is, in fact, an example of extremely clever re-use. Its interior is actually the salvaged insides of a Christchurch quake-damaged apartment, rescued by Erin and Jaron McLeod and kept in storage for three years. 

Given a freshen-up in Resene paint and urethanes, and enclosed in a new designer structure, it’s now a relaxing retreat with an old soul, and can hopefully rest easy after its shaky start.

Erin tells us more:

How did you decide on the look of the house; what was your philosophy?

The recycled kitchen and carpet dictated the base of the interior colour palette. We were thinking Scandinavian/bach feel to blend it all together. Shopping at our local Resene ColorShop got a bit boring when most of our paint cans ended up containing Resene Double Alabaster (for ceilings, walls, doors etc) but the warmth of the internal ply ceilings (sealed with Resene Aquaclear) and the beautiful Resene Quarter Powder Blue added a touch of difference. Now we just love the weekends.

Where did the exterior of the house come from?

It was specially designed by a local architect, Ken Robinson so he really understood the weather, sun, lay of the land and challenges of building in an alpine environment. It’s clad in corrugated iron (in colour Ironsand) and Shadowclad® painted in Resene Quarter Ironsand. The soffits are Resene Waterborne Woodsman Natural stain.

What part of the house are you most happy with?

We absolutely love the high ceilings in the main living area. The house is only 108sqm but the high ceilings make it seem so much more spacious. It was also designed that way to let in the north winter sun. When it can get to -8 degrees in the morning, that is really important.

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

We feel the Scandinavian look of timber and white is easy to accomplish – but make sure you spend a lot of time choosing the perfect white for your look as there are so many options. Don’t rush into anything – trawl the internet and house magazines for inspiration. We actually found the Resene Quarter Powder Blue after loving the cover of a Your Home & Garden magazine. That very month we were starting to paint, so luckily we had left the decision and purchasing of the internal colours until the last minute. I took the magazine into our local Resene ColorShop and we did our best at matching the colour to find just the right look.

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

Doing all of the painting ourselves. We started our build in February last year and thought it would be a great challenge to paint both the interior and exterior ourselves. The exterior painting started in April and the interior painting in July. The days were short, cold and windy but it was so satisfying seeing what we could accomplish over a number of long weekends. To paint a house yourself you have to make sure you aren’t holding up the build. We managed to rope Jaron’s brothers in to help with the interior painting for three days but the rest was two lonely painters trying to keep on top of everything. The day before the carpet layer arrived we were up until 11pm and felt like we were on TV3's The Block NZ.

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

The Resene Quarter Powder Blue is just lovely. Our colour scheme before we found that colour was literally Resene Double Alabaster. We knew we needed something else but it is surprisingly tricky finding another colour that will sit nicely with the Scandinavian look. If it wasn’t for the Resene Quarter Powder Blue the painting would have been extremely boring.

Did anyone else help with the house?

Aside from Ken Robinson Architects who did an amazing job, we used local builder Fred Richards of Nelson Lakes Construction, who has built many of the fantastic homes in St Arnaud. It was great to see his attention to detail and expert carpentry transform the build week after week.

We hired our own Nelson based subcontractors, namely Blair Fergusson Plumbing and Proswitch Electrical who we had used before on our Nelson house renovations. It was so refreshing using tradies you know and trust and who understand your expectations and how you work and think.


Erin and Jaron rent their holiday home when they’re not using it – see their listing here

Feature complements of the Your Home & Garden/Resene Home Colour Awards

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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Erin and Jaron have struck just the right Scandinavian style in their alpine bach, with walls in Resene Double Alabaster, and plywood ceilings protected with Resene Aquaclear. 

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The colour scheme of mostly Resene Double Alabaster was worked around the existing kitchen and carpet from the salvaged Christchurch apartment.  

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The St Arnaud retreat was designed by architect Ken Robinson and is clad in corrugated iron (in colour Ironsand) and Shadowclad® painted in Resene Quarter Ironsand. The soffits are Resene Waterborne Woodsman Natural stain. 

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Resene Quarter Powder Blue became the couple’s favourite colour after spotting a similar shade on the cover of a magazine.

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The rescued apartment bathroom now has a new home in a room painted in Resene Quarter Powder Blue. 

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Architect Ken Robinson suggested details like the firebox nook and window seat.

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 Jaron made the cool set of built-in bunks so there’s plenty of space for guests. The walls are Resene Double Alabaster. 

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Resene Double Alabaster

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Resene Quarter Ironsand

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Resene Quarter Powder Blue

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the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
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Resene Double Alabaster

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Resene Quarter Ironsand

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Resene Quarter Powder Blue

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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.