An inner city house purchase falling through proved fortuitous for an Auckland couple
Torn between living in the city and the country, Phoebe Hayman and Suraj Keshvara made an unconditional offer on an inner city Auckland home, then found a rural house they loved the next day. Luckily for them, the purchase of the Parnell home hit a snag, meaning they could buy the 2.8ha Whitford property instead. They loved the fact that it was sheltered and private and had plenty of space for their boys, Kieran, now 6, and Ashwyn, 4.
"It's rural, but also so close to suburbia that everyday conveniences like supermarkets and banks are still handy," says Hayman.
A self-confessed renovation addict, Hayman enjoys changing the look and feel of a home, but she held back when it came to this house. "Young children in the mix make you really value function above everything else, and I respect that this house functions well as a family home. That was what we really loved about it initially," she says.
She did, however, decide to address the existing colour scheme: yellow sponge-painted walls throughout most of the interior and a scheme of apricot and white in the master bedroom. Those colours were replaced with a mostly neutral colour scheme, except for the laundry, which kept its sunny yellow glow.
Hayman loves tackling different projects and, if it's something she hasn't done before, doing the research to pick up new skills. "I made the curtains in the house, I re-cover chairs and I paint everything that is paintable," she says. "Dad and I built the children's playground by following the instructions in a library book. The only things I haven't attempted, for obvious reasons, are the electronics, plumbing and the gas."
Keshvara says he is not always a big fan of change: "At times, I wonder why Phoebe decides to change something, but once it's done I always love it," he says.
Emotional display: Surround yourself with objects that have meaning for you. For example, Hayman has hung a shawl that she bought from India in the entrance.
Get collecting: "When we got married Suraj and I agreed that for every anniversary we would buy a piece of furniture rather than buy each other presents," Hayman says. "The bookshelf, the coffee table, family sofa and the dining table were all anniversary buys."
Style evolution: Allow the look of your home to change as you and your family do. "When I was younger, I loved everything to be neutral, muted and clean," says Hayman. "But the older I get, the more I want to be surrounded by colours and patterns."
Leanne Moore is the editor of Your Home & Garden. See the latest issue for the full story on this home and other ideas for your place.