Photographed by Emily Beetleshack
Welcome to the home of my cousin Bex. Growing up I always admired Bex for her long luscious locks and passion for the Spice Girls. She read 'The Baby Sitters Club' and proudly rehearsed dance routines in the living room whilst everyone watched on with great interest. She's now married with two scrumptious children.
In the early 90's she was exotic and she's still exotic now, she even has the perfect modernist house to prove it.
Styled by my talented Aunty Sandy who also painted many of the art works you can see on the walls!
Thanks for having me Cousin.
Who lives here?
Ben: Vocational Trainer - he teaches the bible at Hillsong College.
Rebekah: Youth Rep for World Vision / Retired Art Teacher / Big Mama.
Arielle (6) Levi (4)
What is your style ethos?
Style ethos? I wish I had one. My only definite opinion on style is that it should be criminal to style a beach home with the use of a life buoy.
I’m sure I could answer this better...
I love natural colours and materials. Nature is magical in its ability to calm and relax us, so bringing these colours and materials inside kind of works in the same way.
I also love classic retro architecture and furniture. Clean lines, gorgeous wood and just plain simple. That coupled with awesome art on the walls is my idea of a dream (Oh to own excellent art.......)
Who/what inspires your style?
I feel like the bones of the house inspire my style! The story that we were told is that our house was architect designed in 1970 as a studio for a composer. It is a flat roof modernist style house with giant windows and plenty of character. It looks over bush and really feels like a private nature retreat. The ceiling is even built with acoustics in mind (so playing music loud works well). There is plenty of mid-century style joinery built in to the various rooms, which we love.
Whenever we made decisions for renovations it was always to fit in with and respect the excellent design and natural materials of the existing house & bush surrounds. It was always to enhance what was there rather than create a new style.
Other than that I just love New Zealand architecture and style. My husband and I lived there for a short time & realised how creative the kiwis are. Raw materials, natural colours and crazy excellent simplistic designs are their thing. There is a magazine there called “HOME”. It kills me with its brilliance.
Where is your favourite place to sit?
Definitely the kitchen bench! When we renovated the kitchen, we gave up what was the space for a dining table in favour of a giant island bench. We asked for storage cupboards underneath (bonus), with enough bench space to fit 8 kitchen stools around it. Hey presto - extra bench space, a dining table and a linen cupboard all in one!
It sits right next to the giant windows that overlook the bush, and is right next to the kettle and fridge - my favourite things. There has been lots of sitting with other mama friends at this bench. We drink tea & ignore the kids.
How does the layout of your home affect the way you live/function within it?
This house is TINY. And the doorways are narrow. This combined with 2 small kids can drive us nuts. But the layout is pretty excellent. The bedrooms and bathroom are squished up one end. They are so small that they are only useful for sleeping in. Then the kitchen and lounge room are both really big. We don’t have much furniture, so we have quite a big floor space in these living areas. We hang out in these two rooms quite happily. For a tiny house – the living space is ultra practical.
There is limited storage – we don’t even have space for wardrobes! So the answer is to own as little as possible. This is hard with two kids – they accumulate so much junk. I give their little used toys/clothes away to other kids without them knowing & chuck their craft when they are in bed! Oh gosh – I sound so evil.
What are your future plans/dreams for your house?
In the dream world, we would get more space by engaging an architect and building upwards onto our crazy cliff like land. We thought about it, but decided not to, as didn’t want to risk a bad addition to a house that we respect. And we also didn’t want to over capitalise.
So we have recently moved! A gorgeous young couple have bought our little place and we couldn’t be happier with it- they love it like we did.
We now live in another 1970’s house with the most hideous features that you could imagine. But it has potential and space galore.
Any tips for someone who might like to emulate your style?
A few of our items are council clean up treasures! Quite a few treasures have been picked up in little homeware stores in Berry. Some are op shop, and the rest is Ikea. There is nothing fancy going on here... Less is more hey!
Our renovations are where we really considered colours. Black, white and grey was our thing, and I’m glad we stuck to it, as it matched the black window frames and beams throughout the house and really kept a consistent look going on. Plus all the neutrals inside makes us appreciate the green bush and gorgeous sunsets coming through the windows even more.
What makes a house a home?
For me, a family living with one another & enjoying each other’s company is the best...and it’s the people that really do make a house a home. Home is a place to retreat to – where everyone feels safe and loved. A full fridge is also wonderful. Bathrooms and clean water are a privilege. Heating in winter is amazing. And clean floors are too good for words.
Nice things are a wonderful, inspiring bonus. Gosh they are a LOVELY bonus. But the rest is far more valuable. I need to remember this more.