Fraser and Sandy's exotic retreat

08 May 2015

It’s a risk of the job – when you’re a designer, your own home can become a constant work in progress. That’s true of Fraser Gillies’ home, which was originally designed in the late 1980s and that he shares with wife Sandy and their two dogs. It’s been subject to almost constant Resene colour changes and upgrades.

Built after the stock market crash of 1987, the house sported the ‘Florida’ style popular at the time, with white plaster balustrades and walls terraced up the narrow sloping site.

A recent exterior update now sees it finished in striking charcoal Resene Bokara Grey using Resene CoolColour technology.

How did you decide on the overall look of the interiors? What was your overall philosophy?

We wanted a casual open-plan home that was atmospheric at night and subtropical in the day. We wanted outdoor access from every level, which we’ve achieved, and the house was built to take advantage of the views over the golf course across the road.

The painting by Fraser Williamson on the back wall of our living room inspired many of the colours throughout the house.

What part of the house are you most happy with?

We love our new bathroom, which was refitted after we found a bad leak under the old bath. We did all the work on this room ourselves – it took 23 weeks! Also the new house exterior colour (Resene Bokara Grey) which takes it away from the 1980s look. 

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

Be brave with colour. It’s only paint and easy to change if you get it wrong.

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

All of it! It has been a long labour of love.

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

Resene Bokara Grey – it transformed the entire exterior to a far more modern look. And Resene Double Cougar because it’s lovely and soft on the eye.

To contact Fraser, email [email protected].

Read more: Peter and Kathy's contemporary cool bungalow

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

hallway, entranceway, brown hallway, brown paint, decorating your hallway

Ethnic masks sit against walls in Resene Kina Brown on the right and Resene Cream Can on the left.

entranceway, foyer, brown and red paint, brown entrance foyer

Walls in Resene Kina Brown to the left and red Resene Tall Poppy greet visitors in the entrance foyer. 

front door, entranceway, 1980s house, contemporary home, black painted exterior

A far cry from its 1980s beginnings, Fraser and Sandy’s home has been given a contemporary facelift with a new scheme in Resene CoolColour Bokara Grey, with pergolas and a front door in Resene Crowshead wood stain. Bentley, the cavalier King Charles spaniel, strikes a pose. 

neutral bedroom, painted feature wall, brown bedroom, brown and white paint

Two feature walls in Resene Fantail anchor the soft neutral scheme in the main bedroom. The other walls are Resene Black White.  

black house, black exterior, black paint, charcoal exterior, modern home

By changing the exterior from white to dusky charcoal Resene Bokara Grey (using Resene CoolColour paint), Fraser and Sandy turned their 1980s home into a smartly modern subtropical haven. The pergola and door are painted in Resene Crowshead wood stain. 

bathroom, ensuite, slatted shower wall, black and white bathroom, mahongany bathroom

The latest room to benefit from this couple’s creative collaboration is the ensuite. The slatted wall of the shower is stained in Resene Mahogany from the Resene Colorwood wood stain range, while the walls are in Resene Black White and the vanity doors are in Resene Black Sheep. This bathroom featured in the latest habitat magazine

red living room, lounge, yellow living room, red paint, yellow paint

A large colourful artwork by Fraser Williamson inspired the colours used for much of the house, including the Resene Tall Poppy and Resene Cream Can for the living room.  

entranceway, hallway, terracotta paint, brown hallway

Angled walls are the perfect place for colour, like this beside the stairs leading to the upper landing. Resene Red Damask is a soft terracotta rose while ‘soft on the eye’ Resene Double Cougar is on the wall opposite. 

house exterior, black painted house, black outdoor steps, painting steps

The steps leading up the side of the house have been given a makeover with Resene Bokara Grey to match the new look for the house. Dobby, the Italian greyhound, seems to like it. 

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Resene Black Sheep

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Resene Black White

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Resene Kina Brown

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Resene Cream Can

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Resene Double Cougar

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Resene Tall Poppy

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