Mark Thomas, Wendy Lai and their boys, Ahryn, 9, and Reuben, 6, aren't afraid of colour. Not ones to shy away from bold hues, this family chose a palette with personality for its Remuera home; but not at the expense of elegance.
Mark, an Orakei local board member on Auckland Council, and Wendy, a partner at Deloitte, and the boys had been living nearby before they bought here three-and-a-half years ago.
They were drawn to this home by its ample outdoor living area, with a loggia and pool. "A lifestyle choice, really," says Mark.
Previous owners had added generously proportioned living and dining areas, plus a granite-bench kitchen.
The house was lovely as it was, but Mark and Wendy set about making cosmetic improvements which all started thanks to a door, a cavity slider, to be precise.
Pointing to a picture of the house when they bought it, Mark says he and Wendy put in the slider to link a room, used by the former owners as an office, with the kitchen. This allowed for greater connection between the main living area and the room now used as a media/play room. "We then decided that instead of making improvements bit-by-bit we should have a plan and do it properly," Mark explains.
The couple contacted interior designer Nicola Manning, who helped them choose colours such as Resene Blackout for the weatherboards and Clockwork Orange and Bullseye for Ahryn's and Reuben's bedrooms.
Nicola designed new built-in furniture and a distinctive woollen hall runner rug, which features circular orange motifs and will remain with the house. Complementing the rug is a new, stained glass, traditional-style front door.
Mark and Wendy have hung some of their art in the hall and installed track lighting, so the space does double-duty as a gallery.
Rooms off the hall include a bay-windowed bedroom, which the family uses as an office.
"This house has four to five bedrooms, depending on how you want to organise them," Mark says. Across the hall is a guest bedroom, which has a cavity slider that links it to a library with a beautifully ornate ceiling, built-in shelving and a working open fireplace.
Further down the hall is Ahryn's bedroom, with its cool orange colour scheme, plus the main family bathroom, with a walk-in tiled shower and generous bath. Mark says he asked the boys what their favourite thing about the house was, and they said it was the laundry chute at the end of the bath.
Also off the hall is a stairwell which leads upstairs to Reuben's red-striped bedroom, as well as the large master suite, with a walk-in wardrobe, en suite and special shoe cupboard. There is plenty of under-eave storage upstairs, too, while a ducted heat pump keeps the home toasty in winter and cool in summer.
Back downstairs, the gallery/hall leads to the home's living areas, which have a generous stud height. There's another fireplace in the dining area where, unfortunately, the distinctive and colourful pendant light above the dining table from ECC will not be staying with the house.
The sitting area beside the dining space opens on to the loggia, which has built-in heating, and the pool.
The fully landscaped garden has a fish pond, vegetable patch, spa pool and lawn perfect for the boys' cricket practice.
It's the boys' games that mean the family is now looking to move elsewhere in Remuera. "The boys are really into their sport," says Mark, "so we're moving to be closer to where they play rugby and go swimming."