From the artwork to the light fittings, a North Canterbury couple have put their own work to good effect in their décor.

Building in a rural setting on a 4ha plot in Okuku, North Canterbury, Kerri Devine and Dean Novelly wanted a modern home that was in sympathy with the surroundings.

"We didn't want our home to look like it was a city house sitting in the middle of a paddock," says Devine.

Peaked roofs give the house a traditional look, and the couple clear-coated the cedar weatherboards so they will weather to a rustic-looking grey.

"Once it's faded and grey, we hope it will resemble an old barn or farm shed - albeit a modern take on that," she says.


The couple bought the land while living in Sydney but moved to New Zealand in August 2007 and stayed with Devine's parents while the house was being built.

Having roughly sketched out the home and its layout, they gave their ideas to and architect to refine and work up into plans.

"He listened patiently and gave his own thoughts regarding an efficient use of space," Devine says. "He was excellent at modifying our ideas to actually work."

Soaring ceilings are a feature of the lounge and main bedroom. Devine uses one of the home's four bedrooms as a studio for her photography and screen-printing work while Novelly uses another as a study.

The kitchen is the hub of the home, with floor-to-ceiling-glass giving it an open and airy feel.

"It is a fun contrast to the more traditional areas," says Devine. "We wanted it to feel like an outdoor space. We also like the open metal shelving and thought its industrial look suited the space, as well as being cost-effective and easy to install."

An eye-catching feature of the kitchen is the set of light fittings that Novelly made from wire and metal mesh. Devine originally intended to screen-print some fabric to put on big lampshades but she couldn't find the right ones.

"So one day Dean made a light fitting that I liked, so he made two more. It's wonderful being able to make your own furnishings. It's so much more personal and it doesn't have to be perfect. Perfection is boring."

In line with the personal touch, most of the art in the house is Devine's own.

"I feel quite strongly that the home is a reflection of the soul, it's a reflection of who the homeowner is. So why not showcase what you love, even if that is a mossy twig or rusted piece of metal?

"When you visit someone's home, there should be something interesting to discover, something original to them and how they see things."

Style tips
Happy mix: Juxtaposing old and new gives an interesting touch to décor.

Neutral expression: Because their home is so sunny and they wanted to display art, the couple chose a neutral-coloured paint so as not to detract from the artworks.

Natural effect: Screen-printed wall art by Devine was inspired by nature.

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