His last exhibition featured watercolours of what, in art-speak, might be called "interior landscapes". In fact, artist James Kirkwood's paintings were of rooms, from his home and out of magazines.
So perhaps it's hardly surprising that during the time he was preparing for his show, he was moved to redecorate his spare room. And now he's busy designing a new balustrade, in Chinese-Chippendale style, for the deck he's having built at his home.
Has he thought about giving up this art lark and becoming an interior decorator? Kirkwood laughs because in between his art and his work with a wine merchant, he's keeping busy enough.
"I've just always liked houses. It's interesting, the way people live, the things they have and the things they collect," explains Kirkwood, a self-confessed "pack rat".
"It all kind of meshes together. And as an artist I don't think you should ever limit your influences."
MY 10 FAVOURITE THINGS
1. My new studio. Taking shape under my house in French Bay. Designed by Justin Marler of Pearson & Associates, and being built by Erik Scheltema and his hardworking team of local builders. I have been painting on an end wall in the kitchen for five years so I can hardly wait.
2. Great Aunt Maureen's shoes. She was a matron in a Hong Kong hospital and the Japanese interned her in a POW camp. She bought them for a dance after her release from the camp in 1945.
3. The White Syrian Hibiscus. Red and white striped roses and dark green clipped shrubs. They're sitting pretty and contrasting nicely with the native trees of Titirangi. It's my own take on bush gardening.
4. My collection of Mason's ginger jars and tea caddies with a perfect Chinoiserie design. I have had to put them all away while the builders bang and crash.
5. My books. An ever-expanding library of inspiration and influences: Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Paolo Uccello, Cy Twombly. The bigger and the more pictures the better. I cover them all with polyester archival film - nutty I know, but it does keep them protected.
6. Curtains in bold and painting-friendly patterns. They cheer me up every day. A friend made the first lot but I have now become brave enough to hit the sewing machine myself.
7. Watercolour sets and little sketchbooks. I like to carry around painting sets, especially when I travel. Watercolour is the perfect medium for this and almost better than a camera as you really have to stop to spend the time capturing the image.
8. The great Burgundy wines of Jacques-Frederic Mugnier (Chambolle-Musigny). His main aim is to make a wine with the lightest palate weight ever, but incredible intensity. An idea I appreciate and try to apply to my painting. I have had the privilege of visiting his domain three times in my job as assistant wine taster to Peter Maude Fine Wines.
9. 1970s interior designer David Hicks. He was extraordinarily daring, yet inclusive, with style and a sense of humour too. Way ahead of his time in recognising that Modernism was just another style and yet that it was useful for pairing off against more elaborate schemes and bold colours.
10. My Chapman-Taylor dropside table. It was our breakfast table and my homework desk as a child. It's now my dining table. It has these comfortably worn bars underneath that you can rest your feet on. I made the covers for the chairs myself, using offcuts from the curtain fabric.