Make contact with life's texture

By Terry Lobb

Driving back from Wellington this week listening to 60s music, I reflected on the previous night's event.

I had been to an exclusive viewing of new product that will be coming to the design market in the next couple of months. It was a great presentation with a mix of architects, interior designers and kitchen and bathroom designers working in the commercial and residential fields. Conversation flowed easily and, being a small, select group, it was easy to meet everyone and talk about our passion.

The event was held in a beautiful character home that belongs to one of Wellington's well known designers. This home is like stepping back in time, a small front yard of old world flowers and roses, wrought iron gate where you step on to a porch of antique original tiles.

This beautiful home is symmetrical from the street front and at first appears small, but once inside it takes advantage of the narrow section beautifully. The original home was built in the 1890s and the renovation completed in the 1910s doubled its size.

In some respects the renovation looks older than the original portion of the house. Beautiful high ceilings adorned with heavy plasterwork hand-finished in delicate colours touched with gold.

There is an array of modern wallpapers through most of the rooms with a twist of traditional, oversized patterns from archived designs.

Other rooms are more rustic with handcrafted paint finishes. Classic old crystal chandeliers in all the rooms, including the bathrooms, set the tone beautifully. Other lighting is more discreet with pools of light from lamps or hidden lighting.

Furniture is an eclectic mix of large, traditional pieces and more modern designs that fit together well. Again, some of the furniture was hand-painted in traditional old colours with gold detailing. Rooms were filled with the colours of patchwork, on the walls, beds, throws over the furniture, classic and contemporary designs. I found the home inviting and warm.

The conversation turned to this home as its beautiful layers of living and life are a talking point. One of the designers mentioned an older home she had visited recently and has been asked to design their extensive kitchen.

The homeowner is an artist and many of her works are displayed on her off-white walls. There was no texture or pattern inside the house and the only real colour was in her art, so her home became a gallery to display her work.

Nature is full of colour, texture and pattern, so why do many of us forget those basic elements when it comes to our homes. Even if you love the minimalistic look, in order for it to be successful you need to have balance in colour, texture and pattern, otherwise it just doesn't work and you are continually wondering why.

Driving into Wanganui on Thursday morning the river was stunning.

It was full, without a ripple on it and the reflections along the riverbank were beautiful. There were muddy browns (not much though) mixed with the blue-green of seawater, brighter greens of the riverbank and even brighter reds from the buildings.

The arch and texture of the concrete bridge is lovely as it spans all this glossy colour.

Further up the river we have the glorious texture of Kowhai Park in its many colours, with some trees with a hint of autumn tucked amongst the deeper, brighter evergreens. Even from a distance you can see the layering of texture and colour in the trees.

Between the river and the trees is our river mud - always brown, sometimes glossy with water if the river has just caressed it, and sometimes brown and dry after being baked in our hot summer sun. It has layers all of its own and embedded in those layers is our history, as logs and old bits of our discarded junk have been carried by the river to their final resting places.

And to top off the picture perfect, a clear blue sky. It's a little more watery as the season is changing but, nevertheless, it was the finishing touch to a rich tapestry of colour, texture and pattern - nature!

We are an extension of nature. Our lives are rich with the people we love and share our time with. The intricate layers of our lives, from watching our families grow and share, to our day-to-day work, whether it is in the home or out at a busy, jostling workplace or a quieter, more serene space.

The laughter and tears along the way, the struggle for some and for others what appears to be a gentle meandering through life.

So why is it that many of us don't carry our passion and zest for living through to our homes?

They should be an extension of ourselves, a special blend of colour, texture and pattern that forms the rich tapestry of our lives whether we lead a simple, minimalistic life or we love the clutter and treasures that life brings along the way.

Either way, the balance needs to be right otherwise there will always be something missing. That sounds like the sort of challenge I love, the balance of life within the home to reflect the people who live within its walls.

If you have any questions about issues discussed or product supply give me a call on 027 602 3298 or drop me a line at or see (website under construction).

- Wanganui Chronicle

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