Category Archives: for the home

Christchurch Cottage Renovation: Vol. I

Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home

It’s a great pleasure to introduce you all to something REALLY different for Studio Home, but a journey nonetheless that many of us dream of (and do!) undertake.

It was March 2015 when my sister and brother-in-law; Caroline and Simon Curtis, purchased this grungy, damp little cottage on a full size section in Christchurch. Part of me saw the charm, for sure, there were lovely original details and a sweet balance to its front facade. But, the sensible internal voice screamed “the inside is SO GROSS!” and “…how much work will this take??!!”.
Unlike me, they are outrageously hands on, practical people – a real team in that sense.
My sister is freakishly strong (true story!) and innately frugal. She would never buy anything without filtering through Trade Me first OR working out if she could make it herself.  Simon is one of those guys that likes to research, train up, gear up and get making. He is fastly becoming the “can do anything” man in our world, as I am sure, at some stage he has observed and learnt how. Anything! I tell you.

Early on in their relationship they converted a Ute into an amazing, ‘go anywhere’ travelling machine to circumnavigate Australia. They followed this up with the complete renovation and upgrade of a retro caravan which they shipped back to NZ with them in 2014. Before hooking into a full house, they were invited to design and construct something as part of the Rekindle “Whole House Reuse Project” – they chose to make a functioning glass house (which you will see below) .
So the little workers cottage in Addington, Christchurch really did seem like the right progression for them…..

I share this background information with a purpose – the resulting project has been incredibly D.I.Y and hands on. They have done a jaw dropping job on a budget (which you will witness the full outcome in posts to come), but it’s important for anyone considering a major renovation for profit to really digest the dirty, tough, uncomfortable stages and jobs you have to tick off getting there!!

The post below shares the beginning of their renovation, the upgrades they have completed and a pictorial summary of the chaos that ensues. Over the last few years, renovation has been undertaken amid full time jobs,  sports and biking injuries, operations, time on crutches, the homecoming of an old grumpy cat, the acquiring of 2 chooks, a pretty brutal pregnancy and the arrival of their daughter 9 weeks early!
Living in an active renovation wouldn’t be for everyone but Caroline and Simon are a shining example of how this can in fact work. From my point of view it’s down to their shared attitude of “it’s not where you are are, it’s who you’re with” and they most certainly are patient enough to play the long game.

Their story offers some really valuable realities about the whole ‘do-it-yourself’ renovation process in New Zealand. If you take your time to read, you will notice they purchased a whole ton of new, slightly damaged or barely used products from Trade Me. I have marveled at their finds – many of them brand new such as the woollen loop pile carpet and tiles.  It has really refocused me to research more carefully in the future!
While they have undertaken 90% of the work themselves and occasionally with some parents and friends thrown in, they DID call in experts when the job called for it. And these were all done on a referral basis – use your networks!

I hope you enjoy your introduction to this project and the information shared. Standby for more updates to come including their completed interior and then taking on the exterior and landscaping. And thanks to the Curtis’s for being such sharers!

Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
Caroline and Simon with their glasshouse made entirely from parts of a home dismantled following the Christchurch earthquake.
More on this at the Rekindle Whole House Reuse Project.
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Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
The “Before’s”: Addington Workers Cottage constructed between 1880-1890.
2 bedrooms, 1 bath plus sleep out. 80 sq m sitting on 511 sq m section.
North facing and distant view of the Port Hills over the back fence.

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What was it about this little workers cottage that attracted you?

Caroline: It was likely to be cheap as it looked like a wreck, in a location that we were not otherwise able to afford. We were also keen to save it from its inevitable “3 town house” planning consent demise!

Simon:  It felt and looked neglected but with good little spaces (inside & out) in a really convenient location. With no structural issues and mostly all cosmetic adjustments – this is the fun stuff and was appealing. The house being north facing and the fireplace are bonuses in the frigid South Island.

Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
While a MASSIVE job – saving all the wood from the felled trees in the backyard ran the fire for more than a winter and the chip was used across the garden and to trade for plants from friends.
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What motivated you two to take on such a meaty project with the aim of undertaking so much of the work yourselves?

C+S:  We optimistically romanticized about what the house and garden would look like and couldn’t realistically see why it couldn’t be achieved.

Saving money and adding value to the property are our key motivators.

It’s also fun to reinvent the property on a shoestring, it’s a more of an organic process. So you have to be open to other ideas or products and be flexible with your timeline. Lucky for us we’re both problem solvers and enjoy the challenge of learning new skills and techniques.

Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
New back fence built with help of Father in Law
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Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
New bi-fold window (found on Trade Me) going in as well as full re gib, re insulate and replacement of back wall weatherboards.
In laws on the job again!
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20160101_123827 Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
New bath in (from Bunnings) and plumbed with help of Pete the Plumber!
Next was waterproofing…
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Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home

Many an enthusiastic renovator would have been intimidated by this project!
What made you think that you were capable to take it on?

Simon:
  I’ve worked on large commercial and residential developments in Australia in different stages of my working life, so the scale of a two bedroom cottage with sleep out I was comfortable with.

Caroline: … and I love Trade Me.

C + S: Not having a fixed timeline takes the pressure off the budget, and our motivation keeps us ticking along. We can have multiple little jobs going on in different rooms or spaces. Finding materials that suit our style and budget, whenever!

Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
Whipping up a new home (made from an old crate and cupboard door for the opening roof) for the arrival of the chooks; Lil and Riv from Little River.
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Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
Anne was our Dulux Colour Consultant who we found hugely helpful!
She is an interior designer in her own right and having the chance for her to visit us at home for a consult was invaluable.
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Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
Carpet layed…….yes!
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Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home

What are some core lessons learnt so far that you could share with would be renovators?!

Simon: Research the hell out of everything before you start (e.g. services, products & suppliers). We’ve found that in some cases (e.g. plastering) it pays to get a skilled professional with all the right tools for the job. This has saved us so much time and money, and you can see the results in Jesse’s perfect finishing. Something I would not have been able to accomplish, my plastering looks like a cheap rendition of stucco.

Get at least three quotes from three different suppliers/installers or service providers. This then gives you a pretty good idea of a ball-park figure, as well as keeping the tradies competitive on pricing. For plumbing, tree removal and electrical work, the variation in pricing between businesses was astonishing and saved us close to $23,000.

Initially we thought selecting a colour palette for our house would be a breeze, strangely it was a lot harder than expected. We had to consider natural light coming into the rooms at different times of day, how they look all together (it’ a small 80 sqm cottage) & consistency of features (e.g. architraves throughout, linking to the period features on the external walls).
We engaged a Dulux Colour Consultant; Anne who helped us narrow down our ideas and what we liked into a collection of colours that suited the cottage’s feel, décor and eclectic knick-knacks we’ve collected on our travels.

Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home

The cottage is packed with personality and is certainly transforming into a warm, inviting and lovely place to call home. Are you worried that your “investment property” might be turning into your dream home?! Leaving will be tough!

C + S: We have been discussing this recently as finding a slightly better property in a similar area is well and truly out of our current (and near future) financial reach. As the NZ property markets prices increase, it becomes less of a ‘win-win’ and more of a ‘win-lose’ situation. Our plan was to buy a house with fewer renovations, more bedrooms and bathrooms, climbing the property ladder so to speak. This is with the aim to eventually own our home outright, and then build a brand new ‘dream’ house.
We may just have to jump to building the ‘dream’ house next.

Personalising a house definitely turns it into a home, which pulls at the heart strings more than the purse strings. Especially when you’re looking at the work that you’ve put into it every day and can reminisce about the weird old times together as a growing family and with friends. Getting to know the families in the street, the local business owners and trouble makers adds to the nostalgia of the cottage.

We were looking at moving on from the cottage within approximately 3 years, but that only leaves just over 6 months to finish the rest of the renovations and then sell, without much time to enjoy the fruits of our labour. It is said by property investors that houses are a long term investment….

Ultimately the number of bedrooms will push us out, if we decide to further expand our family, which will make the decision easier when the time comes.

Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home
The BIG push to complete painting the living room. Their daughter Ada has just been born at 31 weeks and was in residence (and doing very well) in the neo natal ward just down the road at Christchurch Womens. Caroline seen here helping between visits.
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Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home

The realities of “live in” renovations is that progress happens in surges. What were the spaces that you tackled first to get this cottage livable and what materials/projects were required in each?

Simon: We brought the house in March 2015 and it needed a lot of the initial work make the it weather tight prior to the onset of winter (enter the catch phase, spoken by John Snow: ‘Winter is Coming!)

Order of improvements we have undertaken to date:

Felling of trees and backyard clean up: We did this straight away as were concerned about access in the future. With a professional crew we felled 4 large trees which shaded the yard, took up a lot of space and were approaching the age when they could become a danger. But we kept ALL of them to slowly work through for fire wood and chip as garden mulch. We even traded this mulch with friends in exchange for plants. Big job but definitely worth it. During this time we also built a new back fence and a year into the project built new, secure front gates for the street access.

Full house re-wiring: for insurance requirements and resale.

Under-floor insulation and damp-proofing membrane: for warmth and preservation of timber flooring.

New Fireplace: for warmth and resale.

Bathroom : On moving in we were faced with very low water pressure, a hot water cylinder that needed to be removed from the kitchen for space (have upgraded to a new instant gas hot water system installed) and the shower head was so low that it just showered my belly button.
This was also our first serious interior upgrade. We installed almost everything ourselves as well as gleaning tiling advice from builder friends and learning as we went.
We did paint this space but have repainted after learning some valuable lessons on white paints not all being “white” (eg. purple tinge) !!

Products and Places : 
Replacement Shower & Floor Tiles: from Trade Me
Bath & Fittings (e.g. shower head and mixer tap for sink): from Bunnings
Floating Vanity & Sink: Trade Me (slightly damaged stock from earthquake )
Bathroom Vanity Bench Top: Custom made and built of recycled Rimu by us (from a demolished earthquake home)
Paint: Dulux Wash’n’Wear  – Colour: Mt Aspiring
Custom Mirror: Made by Commercial Mirror & Glass
Floor Tiles : Trade Me

Kitchen: As you can see we were dealing with a tiny bench space and no storage. We had a window of public holidays to get it done before the really beautiful sister-in-law can to house sit for us while and we went away on to my younger bro’s wedding in Bali.
Large bi fold window, cabinetry work, tiling, floor finishing and painting have now finally been completed!
We hardly know ourselves! We also knew when to call in the experts or ask advice from builder friends and this led us to use a pro tiler complete the floor and back wall tiles.

Products and Places :
Kitchen Cabinetry & Pantry: Kaboodle Brand (Bunnings)
Cabinet Handles: re purposed and sanded from original cupboards.
Shelving (incl. hardware): Bunnings
New Fridge: Trade Me
Dishwasher & Oven: Second hand from Appliance Works
Rangehood: Bunnings
Kitchen Benchtop: Custom made and built of recycled Rimu by us (out of a family friend’s old roof)
Replacement Bi-Fold Double Glazed Window: Trade Me
Replacement Wall Tiles: Bunnings
New LED Light Fittings (over benchtop): Supplied & Installed by Christchurch Electrical
Plumbing: contracted professional
Paint: Dulux Wash’n’Wear – Colour: Mt Aspiring
Wall Tiles: The Flooring Centre
Tiling: contracted professional

Master Bedroom : Was the easiest room to complete, as it had the least amount of work required. I built a wall to wall bank of cabinetry and wardrobe space and we are now just about ready to complete it with doors and finish with a lick of paint.

Products and Places :
Built-in Wardrobe: Custom made and hand built by us, materials from Bunnings.
Wool Looped Pile Carpet: Brought off Trade Me
Curtains: Made by Caroline and her mother. Fabric brought at Femme de Brocante and sewn over top of heavy, lined, good quality second hand curtains found at an op shop in Ashburton.
Curtain Rails: Trade Me
Bed: The Warehouse
Paint: Dulux Wash’n’Wear Low Sheen – Colour: Puhoi

Second Bedroom (Ada’s / Spare room): with a baby on the way, it made sense to put it next on the list. We had to completely re-gib over the old lath and plaster walls before painting and finishing with carpet. We’ve also designed and built a floor to ceiling wardrobe with narrow bi-fold doors we found on Trade Me and adapted to fit.

Products and Places :
GIB: Placemakers and installed with bro-in-law
Plasterers: contracted professional
Timber Framing for custom built-in wardrobe & Skirting: Bunnings
Bi-fold Door for wardrobe: Trade Me – adapted
Paint: Dulux Wash’n’Wear – Colour: Kakahi
Curtains: Made by Caroline and her mother. Fabric brought at Femme de Brocante and sewn over top of heavy, lined, good quality second hand curtains found at an op shop in Ashburton.
Curtain Rails: Trade Me
Wool Looped Pile Carpet: Brought off Trade Me

Laundry: next busiest place for a new family member! It has been a relief to create a tidy space that we can close a door on! We built the shelving, framed up and hung bifold doors here – this also acts as a transitional space to our back door and toilet.

Products and Places :
Paint: Dulux Wash’n’Wear – Colour: Mt Aspiring
Timber framing for custom built-in wardrobe, Skirting & Bench: Bunnings
Bi-fold Internal Doors: Trade Me
Washing machine: Brought second hand from a friend
Plasterers: contracted professional
Taps and laundry sink: second hand items from Op Shop
Floor Tiles: Trade Me
Tiling : contracted professional

Toilet: We did this at the same time as the laundry. Moved and reduced the door frame to also create right space for a cavity slider. Replaced the existing vanity and sink with cool original from bathroom, plumbed into a re purposed chest of drawers. Also removed the old pink toilet for a new loo, much to the delight of Caroline.

Products and Places :
Toilet: Trade Me
Vanity: old solid wood chest of drawers found on Trade Me
Sink & Tapware: Re-purposed from the original bathroom
Sliding Rail Door: Trade Me
Plasterers: contracted professional
Paint: Dulux Wash’n’Wear – Colour Waitiki Landing
Floor Tiles: contracted professional

Lounge/Dining Room: We’d carpeted this room quite early on (once we found carpet we liked AND the right quantity) to increase the thermal qualities of this large space, as we spend most of our time here. Plastering (including skimming the ceiling) was completed by a great contractor who impressed us with his record breaking completion times!
Then, with the help of my mother in law we did a massive effort to get it sanded and painted before the arrival home of our tiny daughter Ada. Caroline was working with us post cesarean and daily visits to Ada who was still in hospital growing as she was born at 31 weeks!

Products and Places:
Wool Looped Pile Carpet: Brought off Trade Me
Paint: Dulux Wash’n’Wear – Colour: Mt Aspiring
Plasterers: contracted professional
Curtains: Made by Caroline and her mother. Fabric brought at Femme de Brocante and sewn over top of heavy, lined, good quality second hand curtains found at an op shop in Ashburton.
Paint: Dulux Wash’n’Wear Low Sheen – Colour Mt Aspiring. Door frames and window architraves in gloss, Mt Aspiring Quarter and accent above original wall panels in Pukaki Half.

What is next on the list to tackle and move toward a state of completion?

The outside! We are so lucky to have such a big section and want to do the house and space justice.

– External painting, including roof
– Lay and landscape front patio area for next summer’s entertaining.
– Restoring the sleep out to become a third bedroom with ensuite AND provide storage.
– Large rear back deck that will link the back door to the sleep out
– Landscaping around the old cattle trough raised vegetable garden beds
– Installing brick edging around garden beds and driveway, shingle the driveway
– Installing carport

Christchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio HomeChristchurch Cottage Renovation #christchurchcottagerenovation - The Curtis's transform a workers cottage in New Zealand // as featured on Studio Home

Coming soon from Christchurch Cottage Renovation we will have Vol. II
“The Interior Completed!”
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You can follow Caroline and Simon’s progress in real time via Instagram
@binkerbinkerbinker
#christchurchcottagerenovation

 

 

*** The Curtis’s were also thrilled to work with Dulux NZ in the supply of their paint.
Rest assured their colour and product choices are very much their own ***

Posted in for the home, home making, new zealand, renovation, Studio Home Interview | 2 Comments

Getting to know Kip + Co.

Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home

I loved looking through the campaign imagery for Kip & Co’s AW’17 collection – as it, once again, reminded me that this is a brand to be bent around any personality.

Below you will see some disco-ey glitz followed by some decadent “at home time” (if only all our homes were as gorgeous…) plus kids of all ages mingling with popcorn duvets and
crazy donut sheets. My head would have blown off had I been able to snuggle into something so vibrant and cool in my youth!
Their designs can explode in vibrancy as they are layered, or when singled out, can seamlessly slide into any type of home. Seriously – it’s actually a bit of a wonder?

The Kip Queens – Hayley Pannekoeke, Kate Heppell and Alex van der Sluys have been at this game for a while now. They entered a market bare of personality and have reigned from above, even during some years where it felt like everyone was jumping on their bandwagon. And what they HAVE proven is that there is one mighty big well of ideas that together they have fed, and season after season of fresh products, pattern and design proves that.
With one eye on the USA and the other on their families and homes, this team continue to be an inspiring brand and business growing from our own corner of the world.

Hayley, Kate and Alex took time to answer some nosy questions I had for them. Its a great read!

Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio HomeFrom left: Alex van der Sluys, Kate Heppell  and Hayley Pannekoecke.
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Sometimes I try to remember what homes were like pre the Kip + Co led revolution of attitude packed bedlinen. There was nothing…. then there was YOU!

Can you share with use what each of you were doing prior to the 2012 launch?

HAYLEY : Prior to our launch in 2012 … (apart from drinking cups of tea and plotting to role out colourful bedding world wide), I was busy having babies (3) and running an organic grocery store and cafe outside of Melbourne with my sister Kate.   I studied as a Naturopath during University and had spent many hours working in-store, helping people with their health needs. I loved it so much I opened my own store (with Kate).  This was our first business together!
In my spare time (huh!) my husband (James a builder) and I were busy building and renovating our first few homes on the Victorian coast.  I have always loved interior design, colour, home bits and fashion so enjoyed every minute decking out our own places.

KATE: For the 2 years prior to Kip & Co, I worked as the business manager of Melbourne fashion label Obus. For the 5 years before that, I owned a health food store and yoga studio with Hayley. Both feel like a lifetime ago, as since starting Kip&Co I have also had 2 bugs and another on the way.

ALEX: In 2012 I was busily working away in communications in Melbourne, having recently had a career change after slogging it out as a lawyer for a while.
I was keen for a creative outlet from corporate life, and the idea of starting a business with two of your best mates seemed like the most sensible plan in the world!

Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home

For those out there keen to live beyond a white duvet, your collections offer the chance to reflect our personalities in our own spaces.
Aside from Kip + Co. product; what are your most treasured items at home that really ping your heart strings!

HAYLEY: James and I recently completed another home on the coast, in which we plan to stay! We have gathered bits and pieces over the years and really created a place we can live amongst our favourite things.
My bathroom has pink and lilac sandstone, pink Moroccan floor tiles and French gold taps… I love it! A couple of my favourite things include a quirky painting of a bird I purchased in Williamsburg a couple of years back. I carried it back, frame and all in my cabin luggage and it looks even more vintage now than it did before…
I have a bit of a thing for Morocco and the treasures I bought home many years ago – they are dotted around our home and draw me back to some really amazing times in my 20’s with friends and family.

KATE: I have a bunch of art that my husband and I purchased together in the first 5 years of our relationship.  It was all we wanted to spend our money on.  We got a Minnie Pwerle, which will forever be one of our most prized possessions and two Rhys Lee paintings which I will never ever get tired of.
Hayley and I also own matching Buddha lamps that were our parents and even though mine was completely smashed accidentally by one of our kids and has now been painstakingly re-glued together (badly), it will forever sit in our home as one of my most unique and cool treasures.

ALEX: I’ve just been moving into my place post renovations this weekend and it has been so fun to unwrap all these little treasures from different periods in my life.
We commissioned a huge Fred Fowler painting for our living room that makes me swoon. I’ve also got a bunch of paper mache painted pots that my boyfriend and I found in India last year in the huge ramshackle shop in Jodhpur that I love. And there is a sweet little initial chest that was my great grandfather’s medicine box when he was a doctor.

Honestly I could go on forever!
What I love is that everything has a memory, its pretty much all pieces we’ve collected on beautiful holidays or gifts from great friends and family.

Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home

Who or what is popping up on your radar at the moment?

HAYLEY: Ok! A random bunch of my loves at the moment and things that are always on my radar …

We have been busy planning our launch in the US so my radar has been way over the Atlantic for the past 6 months.  Some cool US brands and designers have come our way and one of those I am loving is The Jungalow … the creative outlet for plant loving interior designer Justina Blakeney.  This woman is a style powerhouse and has an aesthetic that Aussies adore.

Also in love with boutique Aussie sunglass label; Pared.  My eyes have been shaded in their original cool colours and designs for the past couple of Summers.  I love the cool simplicity of the brand but also their lack of fear around using colour… right up our alley! I love throwing on a pair of sunnies to suit the way I am feeling or what I am wearing.

I love vintage clothes markets and finding sparkly treasures and cool old jackets

I am also a real foodie in a simple, nonchalant kind of way.  I was in Mykonos last year and my absolute favourite restaurant had no electricity and cooked everything on the fire … no fuss and real tastes are my thing.
I love getting out and about on my days in Melbourne and finding new places to eat and drink.  I am a huge oyster fan so always looking for the freshest shucked plate of oysters too!

Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home

KATE: I’m always loving Gucci! Haaa! But closer to home I love Lucy Folk for jewels and sunnies, Third Drawer Down and Takeawei for ceramics and cool homewares and Obus for clothing – always. And I am taking a breather from art, so nothing even on my radar there.

ALEX: I am a huge fan of Mignon Steele, a very talented artist from New South Wales.
I am reading Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey which is keeping my up late at night!

I’m planning a trip to Europe in July, my first time in many many moons, am thinking of exploring Mallorca (hoping to stay at Cap Rocat) and Corsica which sound very exotic and the perfect break from Melbourne’s brutal winter. I am also chatting with my architect; McManus Lew and builders Ardlie Projects about another exciting build hopefully in the next year down on the Mornington Peninsula.

Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home

So many designers choose to work alone (and prefer it that way!)
What is it about the dynamic between the three of you that is rewarding and are there ever times when it gets difficult/awkward/tricky?

HAYLEY: Never! We are really great mates and each bring something different to the table in terms of design but also skills in managing a business and keeping things fresh and exciting at Kip.  We all really love what we do and enjoy our time together, especially when we get to travel together.

KATE: In a surprising way, this trio never gets old for us. I think it is because we all have such respect for each others style, experience and work ethic – so even though we don’t always agree with one another on every design or project, I know “if she likes it, even though I don’t, it must be cool/smart/a good idea”.
I’m kinda laughing at this comment, but I think it really is what keeps us all pretty mellow on everything we do. We intrinsically trust each other. And the most rewarding bit about this trio (and in fact the web of amazing people around us) is that we have our best friends alongside to enjoy this adventure with us.

ALEX: It’s really worked amazing well, we all bring different skills and experience but our common bond is that we are all creative souls and respect and love each other.
Plus we are all very hilarious so end up in hysterics most of the time.

Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home Kip & Co AW'17 // Australia to the world - available online // interview by Studio Home

What I learnt from Hayley, Kate and Alex: 
“There is an unrivaled power in a cohesive team. It is something to strive for!
And just as I suspected – humour is the best glue”

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Drop further into the Kip + Co world via:
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Posted in australia, creative business, for the home, product design, Studio Home Interview | Comments Off on Getting to know Kip + Co.

Fazeek – ‘Hold Up / Hands Off’

Products by Fazeek // Australia - available online // as featured by Studio Home

I’m so glad that I’ve moved onto to this Q+A format as it’s not just YOU gaining a deeper insight into the brands and work featured here!
At face value, I truly do love Fazeek; an Australian brand sporting punchy graphics but in tones that don’t blow your socks off. I love the fact that I could have a table cloth to go with my cushion or mix and match with reverse coloured napkins. The baskets are quirky and cool in their slightly muddy tones …totally up my ally.

But it has been the email conversations and answers to my questions below that has reallllly taught me about where Fazeek is coming from. The zigzagging journey of creative determination leading designer/stylist; Jackie Fazekas to step out from assisting others to pursuing her own brand and career is totally inspiring.

Enjoy!

Products by Fazeek // Australia - available online // as featured by Studio Home

Can you tell us a little about the path that led you to design and run your own creative enterprise?

After over a decade working in the hospitality and fashion retail industry it felt like a pretty natural progression to fuse my love of design, colour and textiles with an insiders understanding of the practicalities and quality required from linens.

I worked as a design assistant (fashion) initially in Melbourne in the early 2000’s and moved to Berlin in 2004 where I continued to work for prominent, independent German design houses.

Having returned home to Melbourne and ready to “go out on my own” I started “made by name”, a jewellery and accessories label where I had the opportunity to explore 3D printing and also work with some of my favourite natural products; wood and leather.

I had such an incredibly collaborative time working within fashion, but I soon realised that what I wanted creatively,… needed to be a bit dirtier 😉  I didn’t even know how much I missed being elbows deep in paint and gunk until fashion felt all too clean.

Both my grandmothers were creatives.  My paternal Grandmother was a fashion designer, and post World War 2 moved to Australia and became the head designer of Bromley.  My maternal Grandma was multi-disciplined artist, her tapestries although not my personal taste were incredibly inspiring.

Around 2 years ago, to further hone my skills in interior design and styling I approached Simone Haag to see if I could assist her on shoots.  From there I’ve worked with some incredible Australian interior stylists including Bree Leech, Heather Nette King and Tamara Maynes.  I’ve been lucky to work with these successful, creative women I hold in such high esteem and have learnt a lot from watching their process from initial vision to the reality of the set build, to the finished product.

I feel, with Fazeek I’ve finally started to bring together all of my influences: past and present, knowledge and aesthetic values, particularly in the latest collection ‘Hold Up/Hands Off’.

 

Products by Fazeek // Australia - available online // as featured by Studio Home Products by Fazeek // Australia - available online // as featured by Studio Home

You manage such a delicious balance between texture, graphic detail and a neutral palette. Does the overall vibe of the Fazeek collections reflect your personal style in your home?

Being a small business owner, my homes have been somewhat transient over recent years and I spend most of time in the studio.  But my personal style is pretty apparent both in person and the spaces I enjoy being in.  I love texture and have an equal appreciation for both organic and man made, “modernised” materials.  I wear a lot of black, but always mix up it up texturally.
My favourite go to piece is my knee length black leather circle skirt – clean, classic and easy to build upon.  I love simple but bold print in fashion and furnishings, you can’t go wrong with stripes. My original 1960’s scandanavian sideboard that I inherited from my late grandmother is still one of my favourite pieces and epitomises my approach to clean, simple, timeless shape and lines.

My new range resonates on a much more personal level: although all of my ranges have been my style, the ‘Holds Up/Hands Off’ collection is the truest reflection of my aesthetic thus far.

Products by Fazeek // Australia - available online // as featured by Studio Home Products by Fazeek // Australia - available online // as featured by Studio Home

We are so lucky to be exposed to SO many sources of inspiration these days! What places or people do you check in with to get your brain whirring?

Instagram – broad range from photographers to interior stylists.

* My incredible, supportive friends and colleagues to bounce new range ideas off.

* Having followed Julia Green across all platforms it’s amazing to have recently signed to Greenhouse Interiors.

* Favourite websites: The Selby, The Design Files, Trendland, Aren’t & Pike, **Studio Home.

* I always try and keep up to date with what Life Interiors and Alex Fulton are doing – they have such a great eye and I am so lucky to be stocked in their beautiful stores.

Pinterest for both  storage and inspiration.

* Keeping tabs on a broad range of local and international designers allows me to see what’s already out there – as it’s so important Fazeek has it’s own unique point of view in what is often a saturated market place.

It’s incredible having SO much at our fingertips but also overwhelming and sometimes I have to stop myself getting sucked down the endless black hole of the internet!

Products by Fazeek // Australia - available online // as featured by Studio Home Products by Fazeek // Australia - available online // as featured by Studio Home

A lot of your products centre around entertaining – table runners, napkins, table cloths, aprons etc.
What do you like to whip up for visitors at home?

Being of Hungarian/Austrian/Romanian decent there is nothing I love more than planning a delicious menu and having my mates over for a delicious feast-a-thon.  Although I love Asian cuisine, if entertaining at home I tend to go to robust, European home cooking.  Signature dishes that have been passed down generationally include Grandma’s Goulash (although my Mum will claim it’s hers!) and Austrian 7 hour roast duck – it’s worth every minute!

Other than feeling as at home in the kitchen as I do in the studio, obviously designing the table setting itself is part of the joy in bringing a group of inspiring people together to share a meal … and several glasses of wine!
I’m looking forward to an upcoming dinner party that will of course feature the linens from the new collection. Hmmm, what to cook?

Products by Fazeek // Australia - available online // as featured by Studio Home

What I learnt from Jackie Fazekas: 
We should always seek to create opportunities for ourselves. This stuff doesn’t happen on its own….
Prioritise learning, collaboration and don’t fear trial and error.
Seek originality – listen to your personal aesthetic for the best results.

You can explore Fazeek to its fullest via:
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Bolt of Cloth Textile Design Award: Nellie Ryan

Nellie Ryan - winner of annual Bolt of Cloth Textile Design competition // photography as featured in Homestyle mag // Studio Home

Last year I slotted in on the judging panel for the annual Bolt of Cloth Textile Design Award. Just like the year before, it was thrilling to see the short lists and degree of talent in the locally submitted work (bodes well New Zealand!!). While Bolt of Cloth provide a version of heaven for fabric loving makers and decorators; I tip my hat to their committed effort at spotlighting domestic design talent with this ongoing project.

Of course, there was one entry that rose to the top for all three of us (Bolt of Cloth founder; Suzannah Tonascia, Homestyle Editor; Alice Lines and moi) and that was the work of Nellie Ryan. 

The resulting collection between Nellie and Bolt of Cloth is both bold and fluid. The colourways and playful graphics would slide into a really broad spectrum of homes of different aesthetics and its damn exciting that you can also buy this quality fabric by the meter!

These images are part of a terrific feature on the collection in the latest Homestyle magazine and you can explore the winning range in its total here online or at any of the Bolt of Cloth stores.

I thought I would take the opportunity to learn more about Nellie in her own right as a very experienced and diverse creative professional. We talked about inspiration, working from home and her personal direction when decorating her own spaces.

Nellie Ryan - winner of annual Bolt of Cloth Textile Design competition // photography as featured in Homestyle mag // Studio Home

Working from home can be a double edged sword when it comes to productivity! What is your experience with this and how do you combat the distractions?

Time restraints with deadlines means I can’t always wait until I’m ‘feeling creative’. Sometimes I just have to turn it on and make it happen. Trying to stay focused at the job at hand can be really hard at times when working from home… I’m terrible at getting sidetracked checking out social media, the ‘just for 5 mins’ usually turns into half an hour, down the instagram rabbit hole. I have to remind myself when I’m looking at gorgeous images I’m not actually creating anything myself (that’s usually enough to snap me out of my trance).
Generally when I’m procrastinating my house looks a lot tidier, which is one bonus! You’ll find me sorting or organising things, I think by doing that it relaxes part of my brain and gives me time to think about the job I’m about to start working on. Once I’ve been briefed on a new job I try to start on it soon after the briefing, as that’s when the ideas are most fresh and I’m feeling most enthusiastic about it, really good to get pen on paper then, rather than wait a week, and come back to it. When that happens I can lose the momentum. Also I break the job down into bite size chunks, so it’s less overwhelming and feels more do-able.

Nellie Ryan - winner of annual Bolt of Cloth Textile Design competition // photography as featured in Homestyle mag // Studio Home

Despite your huge body of illustrative work for books, brands and commissioned jobs – it’s obvious you are concentrating on more and more textiles and products aimed squarely at the “home”.
How would you describe your personal interior style and aesthetic when it comes to your home spaces?

I’ve always been bit obsessed with interiors and have a passion designing textiles for the home. My personal style is relaxed, yet I like to think it’s little sophisticated with some quirky touches.

I love having lots of books and art around me and live in a light filled house. There’s a blend of old and new pieces together, mixing midcentury lamps and sideboard with cleanline modern pieces. Most of the objects I surround myself with were collected from my travels or from vintage markets and carboot sales. I’m attracted to slightly offbeat or beautiful objects and always love finding out the back story of where these pieces came from. Though I don’t like unnecessary clutter and do love to edit my space from time to time.
My style now is more about simplicity, natural fabrics, texture and interesting print combinations. The older I get I really appreciate quality and design longevity over the ‘sugar rush’ of cheap, fast, mass produced fashion looks which require people to buy and dispose of pieces seasonally which is unsustainable and generally doesn’t inspire the same sentimentality and nostalgia as a good quality piece does. I always try and carry that through into my own designs, as it’s important for me that my designs stand the test of time.

Nellie Ryan - winner of annual Bolt of Cloth Textile Design competition // photography as featured in Homestyle mag // Studio Home

Your career has exposed you to some major local and international names in design (Kate Sylvester and Jasper Conran to name just a few!)
Who out there in the creative world provides you with inspiration?

Currently I’m listening to some great podcasts and reading about some really inspiring females, their extraordinary stories and their ability to sustain successful careers over their lifetime. I’m resonating more with hearing stories of artists who have faced challenges or just hearing about their creative evolution over time.

One of my favourite artists is Louise Bourgeois. Her career peaked at 70, which is wonderful to think maybe the best is still to come. I’m really inspired by designers Elsa Shaperelli, Celia Birtwell, Barbara Hepworth, Bridget Riley, Florence Broadhurst, Corita Ken ( an amazing graphic designing Nun!), Lucienne Day ( so many more!) and what they were able to achieve.
I am also constantly inspired by my creative friends who take risks to be doing what they doing and always give great advice. I listen to Kathryn Ryan, on the RNZ Morning Show and BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour online, both radio show have a wonderful line up of interesting guests. Great books I’d mention would be Elsa Schiaparelli ‘Shocking Life’ and Peggy Guggenheim, ‘Out of this century’.

Nellie Ryan - winner of annual Bolt of Cloth Textile Design competition // photography as featured in Homestyle mag // Studio Home

You had 10 amazing years based in London before returning back to the homeland. Do you think being based back in New Zealand has influenced your work?

The pace of life and laid back, ‘can do’ attitude of New Zealanders has influenced me by finding more life/work balance and helped me nurture my creative side a bit more.

If you were only allowed to hang the work of ONE artist on your walls….who would it be?

Hard question! Hmm I’m going to say David Hockey, I’ve loved his work and it’s so diverse from his pool scenes in LA from the 1960’s through to his most recent oversized hyper colour paintings of the Yorkshire landscape.

Where are your favourite haunts in Auckland ?

I spend a lot of time with my partner and son locally around Point Chevalier, where we live. It has a great community vibe, lovely beach, lots of parks and a few interesting places to eat. I also love a good forage in charity shops, looking at old books and hunting for treasures to then sneak back into the house. And always love popping into beautifully curated shops, like Flotsam and Jetsam, Tessuti and Simon James plus some of the wonderful independent books shops like the Women’s Book Shop and Novel Bookstore. Browsing art galleries on K Road happens too!
Our favourite dinner haunt would be Coco’s Cantina on K Road. Damaris and Renee are so hospitable and it always has a great atmosphere. A Friday night drink or two at Golden Dawn is always fun (especially as I’m out less these days),  I can usually bump into a few old friends.

Nellie Ryan - winner of annual Bolt of Cloth Textile Design competition // photography as featured in Homestyle mag // Studio Home

Photography  by Wendy Fenwick for Homestyle
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Learn more here:
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Posted in art, collaborations, emerging designer, for the home, interior design, new zealand, Studio Home Interview | 1 Comment

Formantics

Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home
I had followed the instagram account of Formantics for a good 5 months before artist/designer/maker/over achiever; Susan Christie and I started trading emails. In total honesty, I had been SO taken by the brands witchy way with colour and shape that I hadn’t cast much thought into “where” or rather; “who” it was coming from, definitely stopping short of my usual stalkerish ways.

Lucky for me I didn’t need to investigate further because one email from Susan saved me from my own ignorance and re-framed Formantics as a very personal creative venture, based on a love of making and resisting any moves to be pigeonholed. As a master of colour she hasn’t stopped short at her painted originals and print release, but instead followed up with abstract hand formed ceramics and even a collection of totally unique shelves!

For any person gravitating toward a creative career, Susan’s story is encouraging.

“My back story is pretty hectic!
I was a Navy Officer, then Psychologist,
then mother, then business consultant,
then visual arts graduate
and finally a creative business owner.”

I find it incredibly inspiring to read about people that push their life in the direction they want it to go in…even when their past experience, current responsibilities and even age might not match up to others expectations!

In the interview below with Susan she reveals so much about way she created Formantics, the road she took, challenges and even some advice for those wanting to scratch that creative itch!

Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home

Despite dipping your toe into a really diverse set of industries – you mentioned that you loved “.. nothing more than creating art and design”.

What did this feel like to you and how did you know that was your calling?

If I had a tail it would be wagging while I’m making!  For me, the process of making and creating is part of my DNA.  My parents were both very creative people and loved the simple pleasure of making with their hands. From making and designing clothes to furniture, my parents made everything for the pure pleasure …..and the added bonus of saving money!  I would have to create even if I didn’t sell my work, although I have to say my heart does a little leap every time someone buys or gets excited about my work.

When I look back, it’s like that creative DNA was always there, I just didn’t recognise it.  At age 23, when I finished my registration as a psychologist, I immediately began doing creative night classes at the local high school.  I did everything from ceramics, lingerie making, landscape gardening to interior design.  Also as a child, I have very specific ‘happy memories’ of creating.  I would spend hours digging up clay in the back garden and making little pinch pots.

Having kids was also a real opportunity for me indulge my creative side.  I was not that sporty mum that kicked a ball around in the garden.  I was inside making play dough and getting all the craft stuff out and getting messy!!  I used the time when they were at Kindy to redecorate the house.  Painting walls, making cushions…..   I was the happy homemaker!  So, I guess the creative signs were all there. They just seem so much more obvious now when I look back.

Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home

You studied Fine Art at AUT as a mother AND student in her forties.  How did you find this ?

As soon as my youngest child went to school, I started doing painting classes through Matthew Browne School of Art.  After a few years with Matthew, he recommended that I complete a degree at AUT.  So, (I’m in my forties by this stage!!!)…. I decided to go for it.
It was scary going back to university as an adult student but I desperately wanted to take my art to the next level.  I did worry about how I would fit in being an “old girl.”  Whether I would be edgy enough, AND how on earth I would juggle the kids and all their after-school activities!   As it turns out I had nothing to worry about.  I loved every minute of it ( oh …accept the essay writing that is) and because we mothers learn to juggle so many things, I could complete assignments in half the time the school leavers could. The highlights of the experience were getting the AUT painting award in my first year and being selected for the Eden Art Awards in my last year. Yay, felt so good!

 

Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home

Susan – you belong to a special club of people that can combine unexpected colour, pattern and shape together like a wizard! 
Where does this come from? What process (or lightening strike!) happens as you create your abstract work?

Thank you, Ju. I get very excited about colour!  I liken colour to musical notes and if one of my paintings was a song it might be “Chained to the Rhythm” by Katy Perry.  I really like the idea of blurring traditional boundaries between craft, décor, fashion, design, and art. If I’m honest I hate that term “Fine Art”. It is so loaded with hierarchical connotations!  I take inspiration from my domestic world and keep a keen eye on what is happening in all the creative industries.

In terms of my creative process each painting arises quite organically. I start with a plan but it quickly goes out the window as the process unfolds.  Rather than beginning with a fixed idea, I will pick a shape and colour, create the first form and build the image intuitively from there.  My ceramics are made in the same sort of way.  I cut out a form and then begin creating from there.  Each one is completely original and I never know what they are going to look like until the end ….. which is what keeps things interesting!

The shelves were designed out of a desire to curate the objects and paintings together on the wall.  I am so proud of the shelves as they took a lot of work to get just right. I wanted them to be able to be hung anywhere on the wall.  I don’t like to be restricted by having to hang art into a stud. My shelves can be hung anywhere and take some hefty weight. The beautiful lines on the ply and the round geometric shape work in perfectly with my obsession with lines.

Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home

I love that you have let yourself “wander” from painting to hand formed ceramics and even to product design. Do you envisage Formantics to grow further in this direction as an all encompassing design and art brand? Or is this you just letting yourself explore all the mediums that feel right at this stage?

The thing that sets Formantics apart, is that ability to walk the line between art and design, while producing quality, handcrafted items of distinction.  Our brand is all about curating bold, vibrant elements for the home which have a playful edge.
The name of the business, (after far too much of brain storming!!!) came about by combining the words form with antics. These are two vital ingredients for all the work I produce.  I chose not to use my name for the business because in the future we will expand our range by collaborating with other creatives who relate to the feel and vibe of the brand.  I am positive really exciting, innovative ideas will come about by collaborating with talented creatives from all sorts of backgrounds!

Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home

You have the opportunity to offer some nuggets of wisdom to parents or people of a similar age looking to re enter study and chase after their passion….what can you give us?

I really believe in the cliché that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.  We spend far too much time at work not to LOVE it!   I would encourage people to make the change but recognise it may not come about overnight.  For many of us we have to juggle families and working a job to pay the bills, while at the same time pursuing the thing that makes our tail wag!  Make a start!

 

Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home

Last one for fun.When asking my boyfriend some questions to ask you, his first one was;  “What do you have against circles?”

Ha Ha. I guess you have noticed that most of my paintings and ceramics are a little “off kilter” I like my artwork to be slightly imperfect and have a slippage of unexpected angles and colours.  I think it makes them a little more interesting.  However, when it comes to our shelves they are absolutely perfectly round!

Formantics - original paintings, prints, ceramics and products created by Susan Christie // New Zealand - available online // interview by Studio Home

Imagery supplied by Formantics with styled product shots by Tash Hopkins.
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Explore the Formantics world here:

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George + Willy’s World

George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

As a design brand; George and Willy are fine ambassadors of everyday, simplistic and functional products. But as people, they are an inspiring, modern representation of what the NZ “can-do” attitude looks like in 2000’s. They design things that they need and that their friends need. Things that are detailed only to the degree that allows them to do the best job. There is no fussiness, over design or frivolity – just items that help make our everyday life better.

I have followed Will McCallum and George Wilkins from the very get go. Interviewing them, collecting their products and, to be totally honest, presenting them as shining example of brands “doing it right” to my small business workshops. There is an honest integrity to what they design but also to how they share it. They literally live and breath the lifestyle that their products are made for and it shows.
Big brands pay big bucks in an effort to communicate the same to a much lesser effect….that stuff is just not for sale.

Above you’ll spot their latest offering – the Hanging Drying Rack. The genius of putting their own spin on this traditional product and releasing it to “us” is awesome. A massively functional item, I have only ever seen them in back country huts or the homes of ski friends who have peer pressured someone else to make one!
Remember – heat rises!

The rack falls into long line of products and furniture that are recognisable but fully rejuvenated by the GW team. Their now iconic release of the Studio Roller (followed by the Daily Roller) went so insane on Pinterest that link followers from the USA were ending up at MY site (following my post) and requesting I send over 8!! The viral success of the rollers pushed them to offer international shipping from the get go.

I’m proud that we get to call these guys our own and I’m excited for their future.
I took a little time to check in and spin a few curly questions their way to see what else we might learn about them as designers, business owners and Kiwi’s.

Read on below.

George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

From left: George Wilkins and Will McCallum
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In an alternate universe where you met, made a few fun things together while at Uni then graduated with no inkling to continue this particular “making” business, where and what do you guys think you would be doing?

Will: If I didn’t do G&W, I imagine I would still be making something – possibly small batch chilli sauce? Or something like that. I get my satisfaction from producing physical things which people buy and get stoked on. I also would love to do a building apprenticeship and have always been keen on architecture as well.
I don’t think I could be working on something you can’t touch.

George: When I was 10 or so I had to write this thing at school saying what I would want to do. I wrote that I would live on a high country farm in the South Island with an airstrip a helicopter, an aeroplane, a jet boat and a big engineering workshop. When I was younger my grandfather had jet boats and I was obsessed with them, I made remote control jet boats and read everything I could about the Hamilton Jet, which was invented on a high country farm in the South Island, so I think that is where the idea came from.
In an alternate universe I would be doing that.

George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

Paint a picture of what a visitor might be greeted with on entering
the G+W HQ?

Will: The George & Willy headquarters is a big blue shed in a dead end. We have no sign but tell people to look out for the basketball hoop outside. George, Will, Alice, Sam, Sam Jarred & Louie will be here from 7:30 til 4:30 week days, pumping out product and working on new projects. Everything in the workshop has a place – it’s not fun when you have to look for things.
The office is upstairs – insulated with carpet to try and reduce the blare of the saws (didn’t work at all). We realised we will spend more time here than anywhere else so we decided to make it as fun as possible – it’s a bit like a making playground for us – studio upstairs and steel and wood workshop downstairs.

George: Yesterday a guy called Paddy turned up at the workshop. I met him at an engagement party a few weeks ago and told him roughly where the workshop was and that he should turn up one day. He turned up in the middle of the day and was given a tour of the workshop, met everyone and then left with a pair of merino socks for himself. Everyone who turns up gets a pair of socks. They would think it was a bit of a joke to be honest, most people do.
That is what we are going for though…. flag having a serious work environment!
Everyone knows what they are up to and gets it done. Its pretty funny because there is a scaffolding company down the road from us and they all walk past at smoko to go to the bakery and look in seriously confused as to what goes on in our place.

George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

To your followers it’s refreshingly obvious that you and the team live and breath the lifestyle that your products support (anyone in doubt need to check out their Instagram AND Journal
Clean, strong, no frills design that you can hang your wetsuits on after a dive/surf, that allow you to easily light a fire at that backcountry hut, that you can set up to eat at/study at/ sleep on/display with/ write on/ retrieve the toast with/ WEAR!

Can you each name 3 favourite NZ locations and the activities that you love to do there.



Will:

  • Great Barrier Island is a cool place – we sailed over there in January for a week on my mates yacht. Absolutely loved it.
  • We have heard great things about Big Bay so would be cool to get there at some stage soon – cool hike in and good waves – would be pretty chilly though!
  • Wanaka is awesome – both in summer and in winter, always had the best times there.

George:

  • The DOC Great Walks . My Mum always got us kids out tramping every summer and I think that the NZ great walks are great. Just the fact that they can be walked by anyone. Your uncle, cousin, sister etc.
  • The Cook Straight Ferry – how beautiful are the Sounds!
    I love the ferry, you are always heading somewhere when you are on the Ferry which is generally exciting.
  • As cliche as it is – walking up Mount Maunganui will never get old. It’s so close for us to do it on a daily basis and every time it reminds me how great the country/place we live in is.
  • We were all actually mean’t to be in the Wairarapa this weekend as I am sitting here answering these questions. My Aunt and Uncle are from Riversdale and I think it is a hidden gem in NZ. No one from work has been there before so I was keen as to take them down to stay in the woolshed on the coast, but the weather was looking horrible so we are going to do it in a few weekends time.


George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

I see that you guys have recently renovated a house in the Mount.
It looks bloody GREAT….I am sure you will be increasing sales in Lawson Pine as a wall cladding!
It’s certainly inspiring to see a brand freely move to undertake projects that interest you and are beyond simply adding to your “product range”… 

What would be some ultimate projects you’d love to sink your teeth into in the future? 

Will: I have always wanted to publish a book – I have never been good at writing so I think it will be a picture book of sorts – a coffee table kinda book I think.

Boats are also cool and love being on the water so it would be cool to do something along the lines of that. Pretty keen to sail to Fiji on a yacht at some stage.

George & Willy has naturally become quite computer and design based, so it’s always refreshing to use your hands again for a long period of time – would be cool to spend a couple years making heirloom furniture pieces – massive dining tables from beautiful timber and not just plywood haha.

George: I’ve got a bet with my brother that I will sail a yacht home from Europe by the time I am 30… not sure if it will happen, but I would be keen to do that.

I would be keen one day to build a replica of the first ever Hamilton Jet boats. I think it is just such a good NZ story and I would love to spend time on it.

I’d be keen to build a hut up a river somewhere that you had to fly/ boat all the materials into. Half the fun for me is definitely in the process and so if you can make the process include a bit of a mission that would be fun.

I have found these old forestry huts that are such a cool shape. I am keen as to restore one of them and make it a nice little cabin. My brother loves forestry, so hopefully he will get a forest I can put it in.

George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home George and Willy - simple, functional, timeless objects // New Zealand to the world // interview by Studio Home

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