Habitat for Resene

A run down 1900s villa finds soul and sophistication with a monochrome makeover

Habitat for Resene

Closing the deal on a derelict 100-year-old villa marked the beginning of a long and winding renovation road for New Plymouth’s Gina and Rick. When they bought the neglected villa in 2006, it needed rewiring, repiling and the interior walls needed to be lined. Thankfully it had landed in safe hands: Rick is a builder and Gina an interior designer at Gina Fabish Designs. The home has been transformed over the years into an open and light-filled sanctuary for the couple and their four daughters. Colours like Resene Alabaster and Resene Albescent White from the Karen Walker Paints collection and striking black and white wallpaper set the tone for the family’s slice of inner city glam.

“We knew we wanted a classic, timeless feel emphasising the character of the home. We also wanted spaces that were easy to change and update – I’m always adding new pieces so a fairly neutral backdrop is handy,” says Gina. Keeping things light and bright to accentuate and give the illusion of more space was key. Resene Albescent Whiteemerged as an obvious choice for the hallway, living area and children’s bedrooms, complemented by Resene Alabaster on architraves, trims and ceilings.

Most of the family’s living takes place in their open-plan lounge and kitchen. The brightness of their Resene colour palette means both parents and children (Isabelle, Isla, Ruby and Opal) can happily co-exist in the space without feeling claustrophobic. Resene Wallpaper Collection 3342-13 adds a bold and graphic element above the fireplace to offset vintage pieces and furnishings in the living room.

Gina has been strongly influenced by her collector parents – she grew up going to plenty of garage sales, op shops and auctions and developed a passion for anything vintage as she grew up. “As a seven-year-old I drew imaginary room plans and brought them to fruition, obsessing over little displays in my room pretending it was my homewares store.” Gina says she’s always on the hunt for vintage pieces that inspire a memory or tell a story.

The master bedroom is the home’s most dramatic space, the walls in moody Resene Raven and Resene Enamacryl tinted to Resene Black on the wardrobes and trims. “I love the quality of light it gives, the element of shine and its reflectiveness. It’s lovely to start and finish the days here, it’s dramatic and bold but at the same time calming.” Gina particularly likes the colour on the original architraves. “I actually love that it highlights the age and imperfections and adds that texture and feel to a room, it adds a little bit of understated glamour.”

Resene Gauntlet makes a bold statement in the bathroom behind a clawfoot tub, set off with Resene Alabaster on the ceiling, skirting and architraves. Resene Alabaster was used again in the office across the whole room to keep things fresh and shines a light on original brickwork in the space. The brick is used as an inspiration zone, hung with brown paper to create lists and notes.

“We’re happy with the timeless feel of our home, we always knew it would have to grow with us as a family so a neutral classic backdrop has made the evolution of change easy,” Gina says. A major new renovation project is on the cards this year, the original home will host the family’s bedrooms, bathroom and laundry, while a new extension will be home to the living, dining, kitchen and outdoor space.

“With the new extension not much will change in terms of colour, we’ll continue the same philosophy throughout – classic and timeless with pockets of drama.” Gina and Rick know patience is key, but they also know gut instincts are usually correct. They’ve learned not to overthink things renovation-wise.

“Our home has certainly been a process of evolution, from derelict when we first purchased 16 years ago, to being home and raising four children. It’s definitely seen a lot of change and gained a lot of soul. We’re excited for the next chapter with the extension and continuing our home’s story.”

Top tip: Choose your paint’s gloss level to suit each colour and surface. Soothing neutrals are usually best in lower sheen tones, such as Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen for walls and Resene SpaceCote Flat for ceilings.  Bright colours used in small touches will pop in a higher sheen finish, like Resene Lustacryl (semi-gloss) or Resene Enamacryl (gloss).

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