Somewhere special – Wainui Beach

Sometimes, no matter how much you love home, you just have to get away. So today let’s go somewhere very special; Wainui beach, Gisborne, New Zealand. We spent a long weekend there recently. It’s about 3 1/2 hours from where we live. Gisborne is on the east cost of the North Island of New Zealand (just below the pointy right hand corner of the island) and Wainui beach is about 10 minutes drive out of town. It’s a popular surfing spot and also great horse riding (something I’ve always wanted to do). Sometimes you can even have the whole beach to yourself!

Wainui 1 Wainui 3

Wainui 2 Wainui 7

Sometimes people build little driftwood huts on the beach. Mostly there’re small and simple like the one above but sometimes they can be quite elaborate. Someone had the genius idea of building one for a party!

Wainui 5.jpg Wainui 6.jpg

As places to escape to go, this one is hard to beat! If you ever get the chance to visit New Zealand (or you’re a kiwi – hi!) Wainui beach is absolutely worth visiting. I promise!

p.s. I actually picked up some driftwood and made a little beach inspired DIY which I’ll try to post soon.


The dark side – dark walls done right

Having complained about how gloomy our living room was when it was painted dark red, I actually think that dark walls can be fabulous- done right that is! Maybe because they’re brave and glamorous, whereas white is often playing it safe. One of my favorite blogs Yellow Brick Home just posted photos of their bedroom with dark walls. I’d definitely recommend checking them out. Any doubts you have about going dark will vanish, I’m sure.


Yellow Brick Home

Although I’ve heard of people using dark paint in naturally dark rooms, I personally prefer dark walls in rooms with plenty of natural light. The light brings out the subtle tones in the paint.

One of the best things about dark walls, is how they bring out the colours in art and textiles. Someone I know recently painted a dark wall in her house and every picture we held up against it looked fantastic.

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Left – source and right – source

Dark walls can also bring out texture and pattern in monochrome schemes. Here it brings out the pattern in these wonderful bathroom floor tiles and this bedding. Both these rooms are more than the sum of their parts thanks to dark walls.

dark walls 8 dark walls 6

Left – souce and right – source

I would like to find a wall or two to paint dark in our house. I’ll let you know how I get on with that.

So what do you think? Have you gone over to the dark side yet?



Living room before and after

Here’s what the living room looked like when we bought the house (not our stuff). You had to have the lights on in the living room all day or it was too dark for anything except TV watching. That became a real problem when the light fitting broke on moving day!


I can see where the previous owners were going with this colour scheme. The red paint definitely gave the room a moody victorian feel and look at those ceilings! What you can’t see in any of the shots is that the sash windows are so large I can stand upright on the deep windowsill and have plenty of headroom. They really are magnificent.

We painted the room white (Wattyl classic white to be exact) and sanded the floors. Professional floor sanding seemed pretty expensive so we did it ourselves. By the end of that weekend the quote was looking very cheap indeed!


Look at that! No lights on! The only thing left to do is put a trim around the hearth stone, oh and move that picture up a few inches.

Here’s the other side of the living room. Unfortunately there’s no before shot of that but picture the same paint plus brass and peach glass wall sconces.


The sofa is from Nood, the rug is from Spotlight and the lights are all Ikea. There’s a lamp DIY I intend to make for the far corner and I’m still deciding on art. I think I need something bigger. So there’ll be more “afters” but for now I couldn’t be happier.


Love letter to a 1912 villa

In 2012 two 25 year olds bought a 100 year old house in New Zealand. It had no working shower, a leaking roof, a smoking fireplace and a weird smell. But it also had a beautiful garden, a great neighbourhood and bags of character.

This is the house in 1985, just before it was moved to its’ current address.

Our house

And here’s how it looked when we bought it.

House 2

Cute right? Inside was another story. There were character features we loved (hello ceilings!) and character features we didn’t (leaking chimney flashings) but we could see the potential.

So this is the story of our adventures in renovation and DIY (and a few other things I think are awesome besides). There’ll be befores and afters and a whole lot of inbetweens but that’s what you get when you fall in love with an old house right?