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People’s Choice award winner: Cheshire Architects’ Eyrie

Small footprint, big impact.

For the past month, we asked you to revisit two decades worth of Home of the Year winners andvote for your favourite – no easy task. Each house has its fans, but there was a clear winner with 32 per cent of the votes: Cheshire Architects’ Eyrie, twin cabins on the Kaipara Harbour. You told us they were “great little spaces” and, naturally, we agree.

ECC-CSYS-floor_lampWith a collective footprint of just 28 square metres these tiny cabins won you over, just as they won over the jury in 2014 to take out the top spot of Home of the Year. Read more about these austere, beautiful and intriguing buildings here.

Congratulations to Nat and the Cheshire Architects team on another win for this fantastic design. And congratulations to Geordie Shaw who won the CSYS Tall floor lamp (pictured at left) by Jake Dyson from ECC for voting in the People’s Choice award.

Nat Cheshire: Home of the Year winner 2014

Inside the black cabin, the daybed is by Donald Judd and the twig mobile by Eleanor Cooper. The sleeping loft is on the mezzanine floor above this space. Photograph by Darryl Ward.

The cabins are not camouflaged within the landscape, but stand proud in it. Photograph by Darryl Ward.

One of Nat Cheshire's drawings of the cabins.

5 Simple Ways To Decorate Your Dorm Room

It’s your first time away from home. College may be a little scary to you. You get your own space to share with a bunch of other people making it feel like a 24-7 sleepover. But wait. You like sports and your roomie likes movies. How in the world will you decorate your room?


Enter the poster. Posters have been around for hundreds of years. They provide color, themes and cover wall space to perfection. If the poster you choose is especially important to you get it framed so that it lasts longer.

Something Special From Home

So posters are the first way to decorate. Second, did you have something really special in your room at home, say a trophy or ribbon you had won? Just having that in your room will help give you the security and confidence you need to succeed while you are away at college.


Third…How about your stereo? Bringing your own stereo to college along with your CD collection can make you one of the popular kids on campus. After dinner and before studying blast those tunes down the hall and get everyone dancing away their energy and having fun. Then everyone can settle in for an evening at the books.

Stuffed Toys

Fourth…Did you have a special stuffed animal or stuffed toy on your bed at home? This is more for the girls than the guys obviously but if it was a stuffed animal that your best friend or little brother had given you it will have a unique place in your heart so give it a special spot in your dorm room.


Fifth…Hats! For the guys, a collection of baseball hats will tell everyone about you and your favorite teams. Some hats may have pins you collected as you went from event to event. Imagine having a Yankees cap with pins of each of their World Series Championships. You would certainly stand out in a crowd of baseball fans. Maybe you were on a trip and picked up a new cap. That could start a conversation with a new friend. And with baseball caps you can buy an inexpensive hanger to put on the back of your closet door, keeping them in one place and readily accessible.

Decorating your dorm space at college is extremely important. It will make you feel at home (as best you can) and it will be a quiet and familiar place you can return to at the end of a busy school day. Think about what you want to take away with you and make decorating the first thing you do when you arrive. Get that dorm room looking and feeling like your home for the school year.

Sam Smith’s picks for the architecture film festival

More highlights from the nationwide fest.

No, we don’t mean that Sam Smith, but our Sam Smith: our senior designer and stylist, who’s picked her favourite films from the Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival 2015 programme. The festival starts at Rialto Cinemas in Auckland (May 7-20) before moving to Wellington’s Embassy Theatre (May 28-June 10), Dunedin’s Rialto Cinemas (June 11-21) and Christchurch’s Academy Gold (June 25-July 08). Download the full programme from the link, and make your bookings soon! Here are Sam’s five favourites from the fest:

Ian Athfield with his sons, Zac and Jesse, on the roof of their Wellington home. Photograph courtesy of Tony Athfield.

1. Architect of Dreams
Ian Athfield designed so many iconic and extraordinary buildings in New Zealand, and this 2008 documentary is an unmissable chance to celebrate his work and his stamp on New Zealand’s visual history. His voice and vision for alternative but appropriate cultural and social designs has intrigued even the most uncreative New Zealanders and has left a legacy for years to come.

Mies van der Rohe's Haus Tugendhat in the Czech Republic is the subject of a new documentary.

2. Haus Tugendhat
The story of this iconic modernist house and its inhabitants promises to be an interesting and exciting journey set in the Czech Republic. I have a soft spot for early modernist work, particularly that of Miles van der Rohe, so it will be a treat to follow a house’s history that epitomises the movement’s values of social utopia and pure functionalism. The home was designed for Mies’ affluent and open-minded clients, the Tugendhats, and the film documents the role the house played in a time of turbulence, injustice and optimism through its inhabitants and users.

3. Gray Matters
As a woman who defined and influenced the modernist movement in the early 20th Century through furniture and architectural design and competed with the most successful men of that era, I’m looking forward to this showcase of the life of a designer who never received the attention she was due in her ground-breaking career.

A building by Brazilian modernist Sergio Bernardes.

4. Bernardes
This promises to be an exciting look into the fascinating and entertaining life of Brazilian modernist architect Sergio Bernardes, known for his playboy and elite lifestyle, but also his thousands of elegant buildings designed throughout his career. I’m looking forward to finding out how his radical and controversial social ideas eventually led to his fall from grace. This film by his grandson documents his prolific life and investigates his eventual anonymity.

5. Slums: Cities of Tomorrow
As a sixth of the world’s population live in a slum or some sort of informal dwelling, the documentary will take us on a visual journey through the communities that are built and developed over a series of different continents, cities and cultures. This form of public housing is purely designed and built by its inhabitants with limited resources, taking inspiration from their cultures and landscapes surrounding them, while fighting the various governments that constantly try to eradicate the slums. I think it’ll be an interesting look into the lives and communities that are built in these dwellings. Also, it’s pertinent given that the common problem of housing shortages is set to continue to grow, even in our own backyard.

The HOME edit: the best new floor lamps

Good lighting in focus.

HOME’s stylist and designer Catherine Wilkinson chooses seven lamps that will hold their own in any corner, no matter which shape or size you’re after.

‘Lean’ lamp

‘Cosmos’ light

‘Angle 2.0' lamp

‘Cone’ lamp

‘Elevate’ lamp

‘Projecteur 365’ lamp

‘Duo’ lamp

How to Mix a Dining Table & Chairs

How to Make a Dresser Into a Buffet
Whether you have an heirloom dining table, four Louis XIV chairs you found at a flea market or just want to create a conversation piece from your ecclectic dining room, there are ways to group mismatched pieces to create an attractive dining set. With a few guidelines and a little creativity, you can put together a dining table and chairs that will be the highlight of your home.


  1. Measure the table and chairs. The chairs must comfortably slide under the table and have enough clearance for a seated guest’s legs. Check the width as well as the height, particularly for tables with corner legs that the chairs must fit between.
  2. Match one element to your décor. If you have a modern home and an ornate Georgian dining table, choose cloth or leather covered contemporary chairs to tie the designs together. Dress up a shaker table with solid wood Queen Anne chairs to suit your formal décor.
  3. Unify the set by color. Buy a variety of chairs or a different style table, all in cherry wood. Try a sleek black lacquer modern table with mismatched wooden chairs that have all been painted white or bright red for a fun modern look. Pair a formal table with cherry and oak inlays with a mix of cherry and oak chairs.
  4. Choose the same or similar eras. Wood tones are hard to match, particularly if you have an old table and are buying new chairs. Pair a walnut Victorian table with mahogany Victorian chairs, and the matching styles will unify the set. Eras that overlap, like Georgian and Queen Anne, will also produce compatible pieces.
  5. Balance the mismatched elements. Place the two leather armchairs at the head and foot of the table and the wood chairs along the sides. If you have two low-backed chairs and six high-backed, place the low chairs across from each other at the center of the table. Not balancing mismatched items can give the room a feeling of chaos.
  6. Buy pieces of the same scale. A heavy wood table requires heavy wood chairs. A large, ornate heirloom table will look silly with thin modern metal chairs but can work with tall, straight arts and crafts chairs for a more contemporary feel.
  7. Match the upholstery. Choose chairs of varying styles, but cover the seats in matching fabric to unify the set. Select complementary drapery to further unify the space.

Richard Naish’s first family home

The 2015 HOTY winner also designed this 2011 finalist (+VIDEO).

Richard Naish of RTA Studio won the Home of the Year 2015 with the design of a home for himself and his family in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn. In fact, this wasn’t his first stab at designing such a dwelling: the first home he designed for his family, just across Grey Lynn Park, was a finalist in our 2011 Home of the Year award. Here’s our story and video of the Naish-Hotere family’s first home from our Home of the Year 2011 coverage. 

It is safe to assume that a large proportion of New Zealanders have lived in a bungalow. It is less safe to assume that they enjoyed it. For while these mass-produced old dwellings possess a certain romanticism, their failings are legion, most of them falling into the intensely felt categories of ‘cold’ and ‘damp’.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

Richard Naish and his wife Andrea Hotere had lived in plenty of these houses but hadn’t necessarily had their fill: when they purchased the site in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn on which this home now stands they were quite prepared to keep the old bungalow that originally occupied it. “The initial plan was to gut the old bungalow and make it a large living area, then add a kids’ wing,” says Richard (the couple have three children, Jack, Alice, and Holly). Then they realised not only that the bungalow’s low ceiling height wouldn’t suit a large open-plan living space, but that it would cost only a bit more money to take full advantage of their double-size site by wrapping an all-new home around a generous courtyard. Confirmation they had made the right call came in the months that followed as Richard, co-founder of the Auckland architecture practice RTA Studio, stayed up nights in the bungalow’s study completing the working drawings for their new home. The house was so cold that winter that he wore his puffer jacket every night as he worked.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

In these circumstances, you might expect a new home to be a reaction against the old bungalow’s inhospitability, but this is not the case. Sure, the new house Richard designed is warm and spatially generous in ways that most bungalows are not, but it is also a home that respectfully acknowledges its ancestry while confidently forging its own path. “I’m interested in demonstrating that you can create something that’s seriously modern and forward-looking that’s also contextual and sympathetic and right,” Richard says.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

He already has a reputation for doing just this. RTA Studio is admired for designing buildings that manage to be modern and sensitive to the scale of their neighbourhoods at the same time, including the Ironbank building on Auckland’s Karangahape Road (which was awarded the New Zealand Architecture Medal in 2010), as well as a host of smaller buildings in other parts of the city. It is a difficult tightrope to walk – something about the idea of fitting in suggests inoffensive blandness, something to which Richard does not aspire. “I’m always trying to make a subtle reference to context because if it’s overplayed it looks obvious and clumsy,” he says.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

When it came to designing his own family home, one of his first steps was to treat Andrea as a client. She wrote “a fairly trusting brief,” she remembers. “I wanted something that felt tranquil and peaceful, with spaces for us all to be together and also to do our own things. And I wanted walls to hang paintings on rather than entirely windows.”

Richard’s design spreads the main wing of the house thinly along the edge of the site in the same relatively close proximity to the footpath as its neighbours, a gesture that, with a low fence made of recycled posts, maintains the rhythm and intimacy of the street. Yet there is no mistaking that this is a contemporary home: the roof pitch and its weatherboard cladding appear to be attempting to emulate the neighbours, but the long form and square windows look more like a child’s drawing of a house than the real thing. Screens made from laser-cut panels featuring an abstraction of a pattern borrowed from the fretwork of a nearby villa add unexpected decoration and a sense of intrigue about what might be going on inside.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

Indeed, the house is hiding secrets from the street, including a flat-roofed volume further back on the site containing bedrooms for Jack, Alice and Holly that is connected to the main part of the home by a living area and TV room that also opens onto the courtyard. Just off the main living area is a new take on the outdoor room, a space with a fireplace that is open to the courtyard and veiled from the street by one of the aforementioned perforated panels, whose patterns cast beautiful shadows on the wall in the afternoon light. (Richard has travelled extensively in the Middle East, where he was fascinated by the contrast of busy city streets and cool, tranquil courtyards).

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

2011 finalist - Richard Naish's Grey Lynn villa. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

This game of revealing and concealing continues in the kitchen, which has an island bench in the open but most of its working space hidden behind a timber-clad wall. Richard confesses to being a messy cook, and appreciates the luxury of not having stacks of dishes visible from the dining table after the couple’s regular dinner parties. And upstairs is what Andrea calls a “luscious, grown-up retreat”: the couple’s bedroom and an adjacent mezzanine lounge separated from the living room downstairs, but not so much so that it feels isolated. Instead of a bungalow’s linear rooms-off-hall arrangement, this is a house of layers and complexity, a place designed for a family to grow into, somewhere to hold their collective memories without ever

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas

I am looking for some Kitchen Remodeling Ideas. I am stuck with the (mostly) taupe tile with pink undertones (I think) and medium toned hickory cabinets. I am not going to paint the cabinets. I am thinking of a quartz countertop and am currently leaning Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a two-part series featuring inspired Kitchen Remodeling Ideas. A half-eaten Totino’s pizza. A Costco-sized bottle of ranch (with no lid). And a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Your college kitchen required little else. These ideas are tailor made for the messily inclined Contemporary Kitchen by Wellesley Kitchen & Bath Designers Divine Design+Build 2. Build in trash receptacles. I’m a little squeamish about keeping a trash can right in my kitchen (yes, I know Kitchen and Bath Design News recently featured an article on what dealers Their answers were varied but will give you some ideas of what you might want to include in your kitchen and bathroom. Pot and pan drawers for easy accessibility and storage. The social kitchen at the heart of Fisher & Paykel Appliances to grab a quick cuppa – they are a chance to test products and brew up new ideas. Custance design director Jonathan Custance was in charge of designing the appliance maker’s new centre While home renovation requires a lot of knowledge and experience The knowledge areas are broken down by categories: rooms of the house (e.g. attic, kitchen, bedroom), parts of the house (e.g. walls, ceilings, doors), home maintenance skills .

3 ideas for kitchen remodeling Remodeling a kitchen can be expensive and challenging, but you can make substantial cosmetic changes with just the help of a painter and electrician, says interior designer Betsy Burnham of Burnham Design in Lo Check out this In the previous post we talked about some ways to stay on budget when buying the materials for a kitchen renovation. Now we need to step back and talk about the layout of the kitchen and how that affects your budget. How do I know if my kitchen needs a You’ve decided to remodel your kitchen. Now what? Not knowing where to start and finding the layout and features that fit your household’s lifestyle. Get ideas from every resource possible. Think about your priorities: how many people will be Jana Randall is a busy mother, loving wife, and active career woman from Arizona. In her free time, Jana writes to cover topics on home, living, and pets, while also working full time and blogging. As interests, Jana enjoys reading, wr This year, it’s .

Amazing Rustic Kitchen Remodel Ideas 1200 x 800 · 875 kB · jpeg
Amazing Rustic Kitchen Remodel Ideas

How to Decorate Your Dining Room Wall

Hang art to create a conversation piece.

Don’t leave your dining room walls blank. You have many options to create a warm, comforting dining room that will be the envy of all. Just a few simple, well placed items will complete an otherwise boring room.

Step 1:Determine your color scheme and whether you want to paint or wall paper your dining room walls. You may want to paint three walls one color and use a complimentary color on the fourth wall to create a focal point. Paint or cover your walls accordingly.

Use interesting colors or walllpaper.
Step 2:Adding wood trim to a dining room will give the room a more elegant, yet intimate feel. Try adding crown molding around the very top of the wall, picture frame paneling in a contrasting color, or even just a simple chair rail around the room. Numerous do-it-yourself websites offer tips on installing molding and chair rails.

Picture frame paneling in a dining room
Step 3:A large mirror enhances any wall but is especially nice in a dining room. These rooms are typically small and a mirror will open the space up and if hung properly, can reflect the light from a hanging chandelier. Add a lighting sconce on either side of the mirror to bring in more diffused lighting.

Gold gilt mirror
Step 4:Large pieces of artwork are good ways to fill a large empty wall. In the dining room, choose wisely for a subject matter that is soothing and relaxing to ease the appetite and create a conversation piece. One large piece will complete a wall well; it is not necessary to clutter the walls with an entire collage.

Framed art work
Step 5:Another option for covering a basic wall is the use of a wall hanging or tapestry. Tapestries have been used for centuries to decorate large, massive cathedral and castle walls. They are sold today in a range of sizes, colors, fabrics, textures and colors. Some have hardware included and some do not, so be sure to inquire when purchasing.

Add a beautiful tapestry for elegance and texture.

Bathrooms: a Sydney bathroom with personality

Bucking the colour trend.

A careful insertion of colour enlivens this Sydney bathroom by Pohio Adams Architects. The design also takes full advantage of the natural light offered, complemented by concealed and featured electric lighting.

Photograph by Sharrin Rees.

HOME All-white bathrooms seem to be a common default mode, so how did you break out of it?
Chris Adams, Pohio Adams Architects Decisions driving the house design were about reflecting the clients’ personalities and an exploration of materials and how they would weather, so the home’s roof is raw zinc, the vanity solid oak, the tapware and hardware raw brass. We chose the tiles because they are hand-made, subtly inconsistent in colour and texture and could be ordered in a great range of custom colours. We could achieve a consistency of material through the house, but create a very different character for each bathroom through varying colours and patterns.

HOME This bathroom is an amazingly light space. What design moves did you make to ensure this? And how did you plan the placement of electric lighting?
Chris Adams There is a certain luxury to being bathed in bright natural light, and the elevation and orientation of this bathroom allowed us to fully exploit this possibility. Natural light is complemented by concealed LED lighting in the alcove, cast-glass, zinc, and brass pendants with old ‘squirrel cage’ lamps, and indirect concealed fluorescent uplights. Concealed lighting provides just the right light level to negotiate the bathroom in the middle of the night, while incandescent pendants provide a flattering side lighting, avoiding the ugly shadowing effects of downlights. Fluorescents provide the functional infill lighting when required. The colour temperature of the lights is carefully coordinated to provide consistency of feel and a flattering softness that complements the material palette.

HOME What makes a good bathroom?
Chris Adams The right balance of functionality and luxury. The feel of the materials and the sense of calmness they evoke.

Design details

Shower head Hansgrohe ‘Raindance’ shower set in fine brass finish with Vola mixer in raw brass finish.
Tapware Raw brass by Vola.
Cabinetry Custom-designed cabinetry featuring solid oak, Corian sinks and marble inlays by Pohio Adams Architects.
Tiles Designed by Popham Design, hand-made in Morocco and purchased from OnSite.
Pendant light Well Glass pendant light from Dunlin.
Toilet Duravit ‘Stark 3’ wall-hung pan with Vola push buttons in raw brass finish (both available from Metrix in New Zealand).

How To Select The Best Plywood Furniture

Plywood is structurally stronger than natural wood and is ideal for making furniture. Whether you are making bedroom furniture or living room furniture, plywood makes strong and stable furniture that is inexpensive to build and easy to modify. If you are looking for a cheap bedroom set, your perception might be that there is plywood in it.

Plywood comes in different grades and there is an association that sets standards for grading hardwood veneer. The grading is based on how free the piece is from defects, which is important when you are creating beautiful home furnishings. Selecting furniture sets that are made with plywood should also be more cost effective because the labor involved is less. Many hours can be saved by using plywood over solid wood.

If you are selecting new dining room furniture or new bedroom furniture set, chances are the chair backs, drawer bottoms and door panels will be made from plywood. The number of layers in plywood is always an odd number and the grain pattern faces in alternate directions. This is what makes plywood so strong and durable for building furniture sets. The more layers the stronger the plywood. It is very good for holding screws and attaching various types of hardware. Because plywood is available with many veneers, it can be matched to solid wood to create beautiful tops from dining table tops to case pieces in bedroom furniture sets. When shopping at an online furniture store, it will be hard to tell if a piece contains plywood, unless it is specifically stated in the description. Plywood won’t split and is very strong unlike solid wood.

In most furniture, interior plywood is used. If it is going to need to be water resistant, marine plywood is good for kitchens. It is a very high quality waterproof plywood.

Plywood is more expensive than particle board. The perception of the public is that solid wood furniture is better and you would find plywood in cheap furniture, but it actually is the best man made wood board available and is not a cheap product at all.

Bedroom Furniture For The Modern-day Bachelor

Decorating a bachelor’s bedroom can be a challenging task as it demands showing off the true personality, lifestyle and personal taste of the bachelor occupying the bachelor’s pad or apartment. Choosing the right furniture from a wide collection of beds, bedroom bed frames, mirrors and dressers, nightstands, couch and many more, is critical to achieve the mannish detail that fits the lifestyle and design taste of the bachelor. And depending on what design statement the bachelor wants to exude in his bedroom, design may vary from contemporary, rustic, minimalist or traditional. In the same manner, the furniture that goes inside the bachelor’s bedroom will depend on the bedroom design.

A bachelor’s pad or apartment should exude a statement of masculinity and this can be achieved by choosing the right bedroom furniture from the bed, dresser and nightstand. Color plays a big role in keeping the masculine effect of the bedroom. Hues of blue, brown, black and white are the usual colors used for bachelor’s bedroom. And all furniture in the bedroom should complement the room’s color motif. An important piece of furniture is the bachelor’s bed – it should be of the right size, comfortable mattress and one that will provide a restful sleep. The usual bed size picked by bachelors for their bedroom is a king-sized bed, as long as the pad’s or apartment’s space will still allow a good flow of movement within the room. In terms of masculinity, wood beds seem to be the favorite and appropriate for their pad.

Another important bedroom furniture that most young men need to have in their bachelor’s pad or apartment, is the wardrobe closet or armoires to supplement the built-in closet space in the room. Men invest a great deal of their time and money in keeping their good appearance through their wardrobe. Hence, they should have enough space to put in their suits, trousers and jeans including storage space for foldable clothes. While these may seem not important to some men, for those who are meticulous with their clothes, an organized storage of clothes in wardrobe closets and storage drawers is very important.

The bachelor’s bedroom can also have nightstands as a convenient place to put their knick-knacks like alarm clock, keys, glasses, phones, loose change and other gadgets. There are many modern designs that will suit the character of the bachelor. Folding tray table or accent console table with drawers are some of the more modern forms of nightstands. And while nightstands may not be a necessary bedroom furniture in a bachelor’s pad, they can be a beautiful addition to the room.

A bachelor’s pad should have the right furniture and complementing decorative and accent pieces to complete the desired design statement and character. Where curtains can be replaced with neutral blinds, art décor pieces like a sculpture or an artwork highlighting the living room or bedroom may replace jars and other feminine accents usually seen in many homes. Most importantly, it should offer comfort and homey ambiance that will make men come home every night seeking its serene and quiet solitude.

Ideas for Painting a Dining Room Table & Chairs

Create a modern dining room table from an old garage sale find.
A dining room table and chair set that appears scratched or worn is actually a valuable garage sale find. By refinishing the surface and updating the furniture, an old dining room set can turn into a grand dining room set. Before selling your current dining room furniture, consider refinishing the surface and adding a modern feel to it to refresh the room without the cost of purchasing a new set.


  • Refinishing is the process of washing, stripping and sanding furniture to apply a new paint finish. Dining room tables and chairs can take on a new stain in a darker or lighter tone than the previous stain or be repainted with a flat paint finish for a new look. For example, try changing a cherry-stained dining room set to a dramatic black or bright white to add a more modern look to a dining room.

Fabric Accents

  • Solid-wood dining room chairs can be awkward and uncomfortable to sit on. Adding padding to the seating will make them more comfortable, and will also add a new look to the furniture. Purchase premade padded seats from craft stores and stretch colored fabrics over the chair seat to hold the padding in place. Secure the fabric on the underside of the chair seat using fabric glue or a staple gun.

Opposite Colors

  • A dining room table does not have to be the same color as its chairs. Dining room sets with opposing colors add drama and depth to a room. Try pairing bright white dining room chairs with a deep black dining room table. Vinyl-covered purple or blue chairs can also pair well with black or white tables. Mix and match different colored chairs within a set, such as a red, blue, green and yellow chair with a wood-colored table to add a colorful mix to a dining room.

Faux Finishes

  • Faux finishes add depth and warmth to a room’s walls, but can also be applied to a dining room table. Popular styles for dining room sets include antiqued looks that have a base color that cracks through the surface of a top coat. For example, a deep bronze color can show in the cracks of an antique white finish. Purchase a faux finish kit made specifically for furniture, not wall surfaces, from a local home-improvement store.

Bathrooms: beach-house simplicity on Waiheke Island

Beauty on a budget.

The bathroom in this Waiheke Island beach house offers lessons in simplicity. Here, Julian Guthrie explains how careful planning and selection of materials can produce a beautiful result, without blowing the budget.

Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

HOME This is a bathroom in a beach house. Were you consciously trying to make it different to something you might design in a city home?
Julian Guthrie, Godward Guthrie Architects This bathroom was decidedly a bach approach. It is entered via an external glazed door from a breezeway deck space as well as having a long slotted window to the surrounding bush. The decking continues as the bathroom flooring, proving a continuously open draining and easy-clean surface. The decking is always warm underfoot and inherently casual. Wall surfaces are simple prefinished surfaces that require minimal cleaning effort and also the minimal number of tradespeople for the construction process.

HOME What’s the best way to design a beautiful bathroom that doesn’t blow the budget?
Julian Guthrie The most important thing is the correct space planning of the room to maximise the sense of space available, and good lighting, both natural and artificial. The use of natural materials such as stone and timber always give a timeless beauty to the room. Bathrooms are expensive rooms to build, so you should select fittings and finishes that won’t date.

HOME What do you think makes a good bathroom?
Julian Guthrie My dream bathroom would open into a private garden courtyard so it has the feel of a spa retreat.

Design details

Bath Recycled steel custom-coloured claw-foot bath.
Flooring Open-draining kwila flooring over waterproof membrane.
Tapware Ideal Standard from Robertson Agencies.
Ceiling panels Gaboon ply WC From Robertston Agencies.

How to Decorate a Dining Room With Black Furniture

White walls and a modern chandelier enhance contemporary style.
Black dining room furniture can accommodate almost any decorating style and palette. Choose decor to enhance the room’s existing architectural features and the mood you wish to convey. From loud and contemporary to quietly traditional, your personal preference determines the decorating path for your dining room with black furniture.

Walls and Ceiling

  • Buttery yellow walls help to mellow the mood in a dining room furnished with black furniture, while pristine white walls intensify the stark contrast against coal-colored pieces. Bring a playful color punch to your room by applying apple green paint to the walls for a delicious complement to black furniture. Gray-toned walls deliver a calming neutral ambiance when paired with black pieces, whereas salmon-colored walls offer a warm, earthy feel. A white ceiling with crown molding sets off any wall color and adds outstanding color contrast against black furniture.

Windows and Lighting

  • Give your dining room showy panache when you hang floor-length luxurious draperies in a silky gold-colored fabric over bare windows. The black furniture and gold-toned draperies create the posh atmosphere found in a five-star restaurant. Or, install energy-efficient white cellular shades for a no-nonsense window dressing that brightens a dining area furnished with dark-colored furniture. A chandelier can steer a dining room toward a specific decorating style. For example, hang a rustic wrought-iron chandelier over a black dining table to enhance Tuscan decor. Alternatively, suspend a magnificent chandelier with sparkling prisms above the table for a posh, elegant look. The glistening crystals and rich black table make a well-dressed pair.


  • Break up a black dining set by intermingling a few colorful dining chairs. Exchange half of the existing dining chairs for upholstered replacements in a different style. Choose bright red chairs to boost the visual energy of a subdued black table, or add a calming atmosphere with sage green upholstery. Go wild over leopard prints to add an exotic flair to black dining chairs. You can stencil small motifs and designs on other black furniture, such as sideboards, china cabinets or serving carts, to create eye-catching pieces. Use a paint for your stencils that stands out against the black furniture: gold paint adds elegance; silver paint suits modern decor; and off-white paint complements cottage appeal.

Decorative Accents

  • Define your decorating style in a dining room furnished with black furniture by incorporating the right decorative accents. For example, hang an oversized colorful abstract painting on a bare wall to emphasize contemporary style. Place a gray area rug dotted with a geometric pattern under your dining table and center a trio of streamlined silver candlesticks in varying heights atop the table. Accentuate traditional design with vases of fresh flowers, crystal candlesticks and bowls, linen tablecloths and ornate picture frames encasing soothing prints. The traditional accessories make a sophisticated design statement against black dining room furniture.

Step inside our new issue

Editor Jeremy Hansen talks up our interiors special.

Our new cover was photographed at an Auckland home by Julian Guthrie, and features a chair by Rossanna Puglietti for Giorgetti from ECC, a rug from Siggada Kilims, a brass tray by Tom Dixon and ceramic accessories from Everyday Needs. The 'Dama' side-table is by CR&S Poliform from Studio Italia. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

It’s that time again, people: our new issue hits newsstands Monday June 1 – which has the added bonus of being a public holiday, giving you hours more time to browse our pages on what is hopefully a relaxing day off for all of you. Here’s editor Jeremy Hansen to talk you through the highlights of the issue.

The Hobson Bay House by Julian Guthrie features in our new issue. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

Inside the Hobson Bay House by Julian Guthrie. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds. Production by Amelia Holmes.

Our new issue celebrates great interiors, but it’s not at all about prescribing rules for creating a successful space. In fact, the lineup of homes in our new issue is incredibly diverse, moving from the large and rather splendid home on our cover by Julian Guthrie (above) to a petite, irresistible Shepherd’s Cottage on Canterbury’s Annandale Farm, recently restored by the architecture firm Pattersons (below). (The cottage is also available for holiday rentals at

The Annandale Shepherd's Cottage on Banks Peninsula, recently restored by architect Andrew Patterson. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

The point of all this is that we don’t want to dictate how an interior should look, but show you the good things that can result when you work with what a building is telling you. That might sound a bit woo-woo, but hopefully you then see the TriBeCa loft (below) of New Zealander Grant Biggar, recently renovated to a design by New York-based New Zealand architect David Howell, and you’ll know what we mean. The building’s saying something like, I’m in downtown Manhattan and I’m feeling glamorous – and David’s design is responding perfectly to that, don’t you think?

Inside a TriBeCa loft designed by David Howell. Photograph by Emily Andrews.

More variety, as we move from the urban bustle of Manhattan a far less densely populated part of the world: the mountainous surrounds of Lake Wanaka, where Richard Naish (the designer of our 2015 Home of the Year) has designed a home of recycled native timbers and stone inspired by the landscape around it (below). The interior is a mix of sustainably harvested beech (the ceiling), local schist and recycled totara (the walls), and we think it’s beautiful.

The Emerald Bluffs House by Richard Naish. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

Inside the Emerald Bluffs house by Richard Naish. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

So we’re showing you that great interiors can be created in spaces large and small. In this issue, we also introduce you to New Zealand graphic designer Nik Clifford and his partner, Jenny Miles. They’ve moved frequently in the past few years, from London to New Zealand and now to New York. We visit their rented Brooklyn apartment (below) to test their claim that it’s possible to create a memorable interior with little more than a couple of suitcases of possessions. Turns out, they’re right.

Nik Clifford and Jenny Miles in their Brooklyn apartment. Photograph by Emily Andrews.

We’ve also got a special 24-page section focusing on kitchen and bathroom design, with advice from the designers of each of these spaces about their process. Bathrooms like this one (below), by Julian Guthrie make us love the idea of taking a long weekend soak with our favourite magazine (we’d take HOME, but all of us have read it at least five times before it goes to press and remain terrified of finding any errors once it arrives in the office, so we might have to choose a substitute).

The ensuite bathroom in the Hobson Bay House by Julian Guthrie. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

And kitchens like this beauty by David Howell (below) make us feel like slow-cooking something delicious. We also like the way he’s created a social area around the island, cleverly demarcated by the large orange-lined lightshade by Francesco Rota above. We hope you find the kitchens in our special sections, and the rest of our new issue, similarly inspirational.

A kitchen by New York-based New Zealand architect David Howell, in our new issue. Photograph by Emily Andrews.