Jenny and Peter river-inspired heritage masterpiece

20 Sep 2018

Jenny and Peter Brown have renovated plenty of houses over the years but their commitment to keeping true to the essence and original style of their Whanganui B&B made this project special. They put plenty of thought into keeping their colour choices right for the age and style of the house, while also keeping it feeling fresh for contemporary tastes and trends. The result was a Resene colour palette rich in golds, greens, creams and greys. When the couple removed layers of old wallpaper and scrim, they discovered that the original colours were very similar to the palette they’d selected.

Browns Boutique BnB is a large, gracious wooden home built around 1910, and perfectly situated at the top of a rise to enjoy a view across Whanganui. Jenny says making sure their renovations were appropriate for a home over a century old, was the biggest challenge. The couple removed some features that had been added in the 1970s and replaced a lot of woodwork and joinery to suit the original style of the house. 

The unifying colour throughout the house is Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta used on wood trims and ceilings in most rooms.

Jenny says one of the couple’s biggest post-renovation rewards is when visitors to the property can’t tell what’s original and what’s been added recently. She takes us through the house room by room:

Entrance hall
We wanted a strong statement on the walls of the entrance hall but one that still sat well with the integrity of our heritage home. It also needed to showcase the antique textile pieces hanging on the walls. In the end we chose Resene Bittersweet.

Kitchen
I always wanted a dark kitchen and in our home with its 3.4m stud and a lot of natural light, we knew a dark grey would work really well with the rest of our colour schemes. We chose Resene Double Parchment for the walls, which is a really easy colour to keep clean in the kitchen, and Resene Ironsand for the kitchen cabinets. The rest of the joinery and trim in the kitchen is Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta.

We nearly always use waterborne enamels on our woodwork because I can’t stand the smell of oil-based enamels and all the vast quantity of turps it takes to clean the brushes.

The River Room
The walls of this guest bedroom are painted in Resene Smoky Green which I love because it is a surprisingly complex mix of green, blue and grey depending upon the light during the day.

It never looks too dark or too washed out and to me it represents the colour of the streams and tributaries that flow into the upper reaches of the Whanganui River.

Anyone can see this colour if they get the opportunity to kayak into the Manganui o te Ao River where there are the endangered whio (blue ducks).This colour always gets a really positive reaction from our guests. It’s fabulous with the near white of Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta used on the trims. 

The River Room dining and sitting room walls are in Resene Double Parchment. I like making spaces that sit next to each other, connect. I chose this wall colour in this space because again it’s a colour we see in the muddier water and banks of the Whanganui River. The floor in this space is painted in Resene Pravda over cork tiles.

The Watercolour Room
The walls of the second guest bedroom are painted in Resene Parchment because we’ve used it in other parts in the house but also because it sits well next to turquoise, aquamarine and grey which are the other accent colours in the Watercolour Room.

We played on the word ‘watercolour’ because in Whanganui, we are surrounded by water. On top of that the inspiration for the colours in this room was from a watercolour painting of roses my grandmother painted, which hangs in this room. 

For the walls of the sunroom which sits off the Watercolour Room we went with Resene Half Parchment, which works with the original grey floorboards we discovered when we pulled up the carpet. 

Exterior
On the exterior we use Resene Quarter Ash with the joinery and trims in Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta. We also used Resene Armadillo on some of the exterior doors.

Do you have a favourite renovated room in the house?
I don’t but I am pretty chuffed with how the River Room and the entrance hallway turned out. It’s always easy to use a pale colour but when you’re wanting to make a statement, choosing colours that demand your attention can be risky. I love taking a risk with colours and I feel that’s really paid off in these rooms.

Do you have advice for others wanting a similar heritage look?
Work from your own gut instinct. What works well in one home won’t necessarily translate in another, but try to work with the integrity of the spaces of a home.

Work in a colour palette that feels personal. It’s fun to try colours that are in style, but they still need to resonate with your own tastes. When choosing strong colours, try to balance them with lighter, fresh off-whites. 

What do you like about using Resene paints?
We’ve renovated many houses over the years and we’ve always used Resene paint. I think they have been our go-to choice because they have such a large range of colours and paint finishes. Plus, they always have a Resene ColorShop in the cities we’ve lived in, which makes popping in to pick up testpots really easy and way too tempting.

Did you do all the work yourself?
My husband Peter is a design devotee, and is the reason the rooms have the beautiful architectural details. He once thought he might've been an architect but didn't ultimately choose that path. I’d also like to mention some of the Whanganui tradespeople who worked with us on the project: painter decorator Phil Brown from Kiwi Impressions, Simon Penn Builders, A+ Plumbing and our electricians AME. 

Without their expertise and commitment to detail, we would not have ended up with such a happy result. 

Browns Boutique Bed and Breakfast is at 34 College Street, Whanganui 4500, ph +64 27 308 2495 or visit brownsboutiquebnb.co.nz

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

exterior weatherboards, house exterior, painted weatherboards, white house, B&B, white exterior

The exterior weatherboards of Browns Boutique B&B are painted in Resene Quarter Ash with trims in Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta.

bedroom, guest bedroom, master bedroom, green bedroom, blue bedroom, B&B

The Resene Smoky Green walls of the River Room remind Jenny and Peter of endangered Whio blue ducks found locally in and around the Manganui o te Ao River.

master bedroom, guest bedroom, ensuite, B&B, beige bedroom, neutral bedroom

Jenny and Peter Brown’s renovation of their heritage B&B in Whanganui is a prime example of how modern colour choices can still be true to the style of a 100-year-old building. Here, in the Watercolour Room they’ve used Resene Parchment on the walls as a warm background to the room’s accents of turquoise and gold. The ceilings, doors and trims are in the Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta.

hallway, entranceway, B&B, gold entranceway, gold hallway, yellow entranceway, yellow hallway

The bold choice of Resene Bittersweet makes for a dramatic entranceway. The warm gold shade contrasts beautifully with the ceiling and woodwork painted in Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta.

kitchen, B&B, black kitchen, black and white kitchen, monochromatic kitchen, taupe, beige

For a dramatic kitchen the joinery was painted in dark Resene Ironsand offset by the lighter walls in Resene Double Parchment and Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta on the trim and shelves.

sunroom, porch, B&B, white sunroom, retro sunroom, grey floorboards, retro chairs

The walls of the sunroom which sits off the Watercolour Room are painted in Resene Half Parchment, which works with the original grey floorboards discovered when Jenny and Peter pulled up the carpet. The window trims and door are painted in Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta.

dining room, neutrals, taupe dining room, neutral dining room, white dining room

The River Room dining room is painted with Resene Double Parchment on the walls. The floor is cork tiles painted with Resene Pravda and like the rest of the house the trims and ceilings are in Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta.

B&B, renovated home, heritage home, house exterior, white house, boutique home

Jenny says the biggest challenge of renovating a heritage home like their century-old boutique B&B is finding the balance between design that is true to the building, but also relevant for contemporary life.

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