Interiors: Orange crush

By Leanne Moore

A favourite colour was the obvious choice to feature throughout an Auckland home renovation.

Matching ornaments and accessories tie in with the burnt-orange splashback in the kitchen. Photo / Your Home & Garden
Matching ornaments and accessories tie in with the burnt-orange splashback in the kitchen. Photo / Your Home & Garden

Aucklander Sarah Kaye is so renowned in her neighbourhood for always wearing orange that people often leave orange items in her letterbox.

"Undies - yes, can you believe it? And socks and T-shirts." says Kaye. "They always leave little notes saying, 'I've seen you round and I think you look great - wondered if you could find a use for these'."

The passion started when she was living in London. "I guess I've always been a little bit 'out there', a little bit alternative. I liked to be different. Then one day I spotted this short, 60s-style orange skirt. A bit further down the road a shop was selling a pair of orange patent leather shoes. And that was it. I had to have both of them."

Naturally the colour also figures prominently in the décor of the Westmere, Auckland home she shares with husband Jody and children Molly, 8, Henry, 6, and Charlie, 4.

While the family have happily settled into the bungalow they bought nine years ago, for Kaye it wasn't love at first sight.

"I burst into tears when Jody phoned me to say he'd bought it," she says. "First of all, I couldn't believe he'd buy a house that I hadn't seen - and then, when I saw it, it just didn't seem like me. It had been renovated but the walls were a prison-green."

The couple began by repainting the interior while they waited until they could afford to extend the house, which only had two bedrooms and another room not much bigger than a cupboard.

When daughter Molly was followed by Henry and then Charlie, they definitely needed a bigger home.

A builder friend began some impromptu alterations while having a few drinks at the house.

"He just picked up a hammer, swung it through a wall and said 'I think that wall should go'," Kaye says.

When plans for the renovation were drawn up, two bedrooms were added to the front of the house.

As well as moving the entrance from the side to the front of the house, the couple shifted the bathroom and the kitchen to open up the smaller living areas at the back.

During the renovations the family moved to Wellington, leaving the builder to make a lot of the decisions, although the burnt orange splashback in the kitchen was Kaye's choice.

Orange materials and furniture feature throughout the home, giving it a warm, fresh feel.

"It's a fun, happy, colour. Do I think I'll ever get sick of it? No, definitely not," she says. "It's like other people's obsessions with black, except a little more in-your-face."

Style tips

Easy update. While Kaye loves bold colour, she is cautious about painting surfaces with it, preferring to use fabrics and accessories to give the house personality. These can be changed without too much expense.

Creative clashes. Experiment with contrasting patterns for impact. "Different textures together can make something stand," says Kaye.

Budget conscious. Kaye would love to shop in design stores but doesn't have the budget for it. "So I go into shops I admire and get ideas, then I'll visit second-hand shops."

* Leanne Moore is the editor of Your Home & Garden. For the full story on this house see the latest issue of the magazine.

- NZ Herald

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