Howard and Vanja's Modern Glamour

18 Nov 2010

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

A major renovation

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When Howard and Vanja first bought their home in Westmere 15 years ago, “it was cheap!” How times have changed in Westmere. Their Californian bungalow has changed, too – radically. Originally one storey, it now has three levels (a feat that involved building up as well as burrowing down), comprising four bedrooms, three bathrooms, three living spaces and a double garage with internal access. Where once there was a “nasty bathroom and kitchen fittings, stained carpet and ugly curtains,” now sit bespoke cabinetry and voluminous taffeta drapes. But it’s not all new; the original pressed ceilings, bay windows and wooden floors have been retained and beautifully restored.

The white weatherboard exterior of the home, and the simple line of white rose bushes that lead to it, belie the colourful personality within. Bold statement pieces from Singapore and Tibet sit alongside minimalist designs from Ikea; restored antiques contrast with modern, custom-made furniture; stainless steel fittings and kickboards are balanced by dark floors and Resene Roadster red walls. It is an eclectic style that Vanja describes as “certainly more mixing than matching. We have always put traditional and modern items together. However, we try to have furnishings and pieces that relate to each other and have some commonalities, to achieve something that’s hopefully still reasonably visually cohesive.”

What did you want to achieve with your interiors? We wanted the interior to match our informal lifestyle and reflect our love of functional and comfortable personality-driven spaces not devoid of a bit of whimsy.

Where did your inspiration come from? All over – art nouveau, oriental art deco, industrial design, and Florence Broadhurst designs are a source of inspiration which feature throughout our home in wallpapers and textiles.

Why did you make the colour scheme choices you did? It works for us to use a neutral background colour palette with some contrasting colour and wallpaper. We like a few bold accents with lots of energy and visual impact, like our red walls.

What was the biggest challenge? Being patient and keeping to (twice!) the budget. Our architect, Mitch Herceg of Herceg Architecture, was fantastic at helping us to avoid common pitfalls, and it was his advice to go up and down in the renovation as a practical way of achieving maximum use of the site.

pictures Bookcase custom-made by Camira Furniture www.camira.co.nz Side tables and sofas bought in Singapore Cushions from Smith & Caughey Original bus blind bought on TradeMe and framed by Art Defined Ceiling light shades by Flos Romeo Moon, from ECC Lighting www.ecc.co.nz The Moerke rug is from Ikea in Singapore, and “is without question the best value and most hardwearing item of furnishing we have ever bought.”

East meets West

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The main living room is the space that Howard and Vanja say they get the greatest satisfaction from. “It has proved to be conducive to fabulous quality time with family and friends,” they enthuse. It is also one of the most striking rooms in the house, with a wall painted Resene Roadster red providing a dramatic backdrop for an ornate Tibetan cabinet and paintings by New Zealand artist Bryce Brown. The large painting is of Howard and Vanja and their son Vinnie, and was commissioned by Howard as a birthday gift for Vanja.

pictures Cabinet made in Tibet, bought from Smith & Caughey www.smithandcaughey.co.nz Black Bibendum chair by Eileen Gray bought in Singapore Curtains by Beverley Sandoy Furnishings American oak panelled fireplace with stainless steel surround designed by architect Mitch Herceg of Herceg Architecture www.hercegarchitecture.com Fire itself by Living Flame Fires www.livingflame.co.nz Oil paintings by New Zealand artist Bryce Brown www.brycebrownart.com

You can leave your hat on

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The flow from room to room is accentuated by the repeated use of American oak panelling, polished floors and Florence Broadhurst wallpaper and seat coverings.

pictures The hat stand in the entranceway was a fifth (wood) wedding anniversary present from Howard to Vanja, which he bought at PPS Gifts and Homewares. The mirror in the entranceway is a family heirloom.

Room with a view

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The study features an old sofa “re-upholstered after our Tonkinese cats, Bodie and Doyle, had destroyed it” and a Resene Roadster red wall, which adds warmth and character to the space.

pictures Cushions covered in Florence Broadhurst fabric. Antique chair rescued from a rental property and restored. Framed prints on wall have been collected over the years from places as diverse as vintage shops, cinemas and galleries.

The world at his feet

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Howard and Vanja’s son Vinnie’s room has been transformed by a huge atlas decal, which covers most of one wall and part of another.

pictures Wall decal from REM Design www.remdesign.co.nz The desk was a gift from Vanja’s mother – “It is an original school desk which was going to be thrown out but we had it restored.” Chair from Homage www.homage.co.nz Vintage cowboy cushion (and matching beanbags, not pictured) made by Strawberry Jam www.strawberryjam.co.nz Long, low table from Ikea in Singapore Framed Banksy posters were a gift from a brother-in-law in the UK www.banksy.co.uk Ceiling light shade from Calder Interiors www.calderinteriors.biz

Pale and interesting

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On the outside, the former bungalow is a study in neutrals. Even the garden follows suit, with white standard roses lining the path and fence.

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the look

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colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.