Luxury items, restored junk - even stuffed birds. They're all at home among Lauren Hare's eclectic collection of exotic finds. The Auckland interior designer has an eye like a hawk when it comes to choosing details that will bring a space alive - even if they're, well, alive no longer themselves (see item one for proof).
"If you get the detail right, whether it's colour, texture or a combination of those things, you can transform a space from good to great," says the former advertising art director, who'd go so far as to say she's obsessive compulsive about getting things just right.
10 FAVOURITE THINGS
1. Taxidermied birds
I've collected a menagerie of taxidermied birds after falling in love with the art at Deyrolle, a taxidermy store in Paris. My four pheasants and two peacocks are part of the family. I love their pattern and texture. Each day they look different with a new colour emerging. Three white hares are next on the wish list.
2. Winter Gardens at the Domain
The Winter Gardens are my favourite Auckland escape. I adore the architecture, the many panels of glass and steel, not to mention the treasure trove of weird and wonderful plants that live inside. Every time I visit I feel like Alice in Wonderland.
3. My bed linen
I think an element of luxury is essential. The indulgence of texture, smell and comfort make every day worth living. And when you spend over a third of your life in bed, it's worth being a bit luxurious. I've recently acquired a set of cotton, silk and wool Italian linen by Society that just feels divine and is incredibly relaxing. The bed even looks great unmade.
4. Collection of Chloe shoes and German vases
Some call it junk but I think of my collections as treasures: Bonsai trees, West German vases, Agee jars, Crown Lynn, Chloe shoes - they've taken years to gather from all over the world. I've even taken to collecting mint plants recently. I love the art of collecting. The play on pattern and form you get slowly transforms into a work of art.
5. My vintage dinner set
I love a proper sit-down dinner party, the ritual and tradition of sitting around the table at home with family or friends. The best ones include grand dinner plates and my grandmother's vintage cut glass champagne flutes filled with great champagne of course.
6. Tom Ford
I fell in love with Tom Ford when I went to his store in Milan. To me he is the designer who redefined luxury. His fragrance line Black Orchid is gorgeous. The notes have a depth and complexity that scream sophistication and uniqueness.
7. My grandmother's Fendi handbag
My grandma was ahead of her time. I loved her taste and the mid-century stuff she collected as I've always been drawn to the understated elegance and glamour of the 50s and 60s. From architecture to fashion, this period inspires so much of what I do. I have an old Fendi handbag that was my grandmother's that is close to 50 years old, and the colours and design are still gorgeous.
8. New Zealand Art
Studying at Elam School of Fine Arts gave me a love of New Zealand art. We are extremely fortunate to have such talented artists from New Zealand. Max Gimblett, Michael Parekowhai, Don Binny and Ralph Hotere are a few of my favourites. I'm saving for any of the above.
9. My custom-made brass furniture
I recently designed some brass cabinets, a round mirror and an antiqued brass chain curtain. I love the integrity of brass, its reflective quality and that it's reminiscent of the mid-century glamour of the 50s, 60s and 70s. The cabinets are an attractive way to store my growing collection of reference material - magazines, books, scraps and samples of fabric.
10. Avondale Markets
Buying fresh produce in an open-air environment on a Sunday morning is a refreshing change from the bright lights of the supermarket. There's always amazing fresh produce that's just been picked, and whole families hustling and bustling to get your custom. And of course I love picking through the junk and odds and sods - everything from smelly old vacuums to glassware.
* To check out Hare's work, go to hareinteriors.com