I’m not sure if there are many guys out there who could curate and put together their bachelor pad like Ben Crawford can. Yes, we saw him prove his renovating and decorating ability with sister Libby on last years The Block NZ (and of course saw them win!) but when faced with a brand new, clean, white and compact 1 bedroom rented apartment he has managed to fill it to the brim with art, books, photos and all the things that make a proper home. All this minus the clutter and cramped result he so easily could have ended up with. Instead, the northern HQ for the “Ben arm” of the new Libby + Ben creative advertising agency is exactly that. Super considered and super creative. It’s the perfect spot for the sibling team (via Skype and frequent visits) to nurture and develop their business that had been in the pipeline for the last 2 years.
There is a fantastic balance of collected finds and family treasures that mingle with strong simple pieces of furniture that definitely lean toward the industrial, retro and raw. If I had to pick – my favourite pieces would have to be the Halo table lamp from Freedom (which Ben put a fantastic huge industrial bulb into) and the huge photograph of the Earnslaw sailing through a stormy squall on Lake Wakatipu.
All images by Studio Home
WHO: Me, myself and I. I’ve lived here for about 18 months and it’s now also the Auckland base for our creative advertising agency Libby & Ben. We build brands through bloody good ideas, top-notch creative and clever marketing communications. Things are growing quickly so we’ll be looking for some office space shortly, but I really love working from here. It’s such a great space to foster creativity.
WHAT: She’s a very well proportioned but compact 1 bedroom ground floor apartment. It was brand new when I moved in and it’s a high quality build with only 20 apartments in the whole complex. Everything runs off the living room which opens out onto a massive deck that gets all day sun and looks across to loads of trees and greenery.
WHERE: Kingsland, next to the train station, over the road from Eden Park (literally) and on the opposite corner to Papas Pizza. I love the fact that I can just walk up the road to the Kingsland café’s and restaurants. For someone who isn’t a massive cook, this is awesome! Kingsland has a cool vibe too, the little sister to Ponsonby, but it oozes personality and there are some hidden gems like The Boiler Room and Mixt. There’s also a cool community feel in my immediate area. Just around the corner is Crave Café which is a not-for-profit venture all about supporting the local community. I always pop in there and the guys are so friendly. And for a batchelor pad, you can’t get much better than literally walking out the front door, over the road and through the turnstiles of Eden Park.
DESCRIPTION: I’d recently turned 30 and found myself back flatting. While my flatmates were awesome, I just wanted my own space and figured I deserved it! It took me ages to find this place though and it was still being built when I looked through. I loved it immediately. The double doors opening onto the deck were the deal maker. It is a pretty small space, but this feature doubles or triples the feel of the apartment. I live with the doors wide open for most of the year. I love the fact that as I sit in my living room, or at the breakfast bar, or on the deck, you wouldn’t know you were in the heart of Auckland. It’s so private and quiet, plus the outlook is to trees and vegetation. You can hardly see another house which is great.
I’ve loved decorating it. For the first time everything is about me and my style and not just my room in a communal flat. It’s taken me a while but I finally feel I’m getting close to being ‘finished’ if that’s possible as I’m like a magpie and always buy new things to squeeze in somewhere. I must admit I have a thing for lights, especially angle poise lamps. I have 3 original Superlux lamps I found on Trademe as well as a modern version from Bo Concept. It’s been enjoyable creating artwork from my own photography too. My favourite photo of the Earnslaw chugging up Lake Wakatipu takes pride of place over my sofa. I have a series of road signs I took while traveling through the USA hanging above my desk and I made my Instragram real recently by printing off 70 of my favorites and then gridded them up on a wall in my bedroom.
I only wish I’d bought it when I moved in given what’s happened to the market recently. But on the positive side, if the time comes that I no longer need a bachelor pad, I’m super flexi and can easily up-sticks.
WHAT I LEARNT FROM BEN:
Sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns and give your plans and ideas a chance to seed. Grit your teeth and go for it.