Interiors: Holiday at home

By Leanne Moore

The owners of a sunny 1950s house gave it a relaxed, bachy feel

Widdows House for Canvas interiors. Photo / Larnie Nicolson, Your Home and Garden
Widdows House for Canvas interiors. Photo / Larnie Nicolson, Your Home and Garden

There were many more pluses than minuses for Tanya Wood and Peter Widdows when they bought their 1950s home in the leafy Auckland suburb of Titirangi.

The home's classic style, character features and incredible views outweighed the fact that it had a colour palette of peach and navy blue, synthetic grass-floored bedrooms, furniture bolted to the walls and a kitchen and bathrooms in need of modernising.

"We particularly liked the bach-like features, such as the tongue-and-groove ceilings in the living area and the beautiful light flooding through every space," says Widdows.

And it helped that the home's aesthetic fitted with the way they liked to live.

"The sea and the culture of the New Zealand bach have had a huge part to play in our home style," says Wood. "Our family getaway overlooking Coopers Beach and Doubtless Bay was built in the 1940s and has remained unchanged in nearly 30 years.

"Its louvre windows, wooden floors and basic 1950s-style kitchen represent the simple and classic design that Peter and I both love."

So in 2007 they bought the hillside house, with the aim of recreating that relaxed, bachy feeling.

"It was so sunny, and we could see that with a bit of love and attention it could be an amazing home," says Widdows. "We decided early on that we wanted it to be white throughout, and to renovate in a sympathetic way to create a holiday-at-home feel."

Although Wood had done some renovating when helping her parents with properties over the years, Widdows was a novice and on a steep learning curve. "Hiring an airless spraypaint gun was both a disaster and a success - once I'd worked it out," he says. "We hired it to finish the interior and exterior painting, and I managed to get more paint on myself than on the walls, and on our brand new sofa.

"Spending our entire initial furniture budget of one item of furniture when we first moved in wasn't very smart either."

Because the house is large and on several different levels, the couple could always move to a different part of their home while renovating it room by room. "We worked away at things as we could afford them, and the final work in the kitchen was completed in late 2011," says Wood. "The kitchen took a lot longer than we anticipated, so we got pretty good at cooking meals on the barbecue."

In hindsight, she thinks they got the most value out of the money they spent on insulation, which makes a real difference to the warmth of the house during winter.

And the kitchen has proved to be worth every penny "because it really added the finishing touch to the rest of the renovation".

Style tips

Open outlook: White window joinery frames the spectacular views outside. The living room windows have been left free of blinds or curtains to maximise views day and night.

Matching looks: The tongue-and-groove bathroom door echoes the feel of the living room ceilings, adding to the bachy feel.

Simple scheme: The couple have anchored the home's white walls with various shades of grey, using accessories to add colour and texture.

- NZ Herald

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