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A stylist’s colourful family abode

This quirky, colour-drenched home is the perfect backdrop for a fabulously festive Christmas

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From the street this home is fairly unremarkable. The pretty, turn-of-the-century villa painted in Resene ‘Half Villa White’ isn’t too dissimilar to many other homes on the street. However, it’s the front door, painted bright pink (Porter’s Paints ‘Carnevale’) and bearing a colourful wreath, that suggests the interior might be anything but.

I love white, don’t get me wrong, it’s just I can’t live with it

This colourful family abode is home to Annick Larkin, stylist and self-confessed colour junkie, her husband, Tim, and their three children, Lottie, Esther and Tom. The couple purchased their home in Auckland’s Remuera six years ago, having returned to New Zealand after a decade living and working overseas.

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“We had just started our family so we were looking for a home that was able to grow with us. This house was a fortuitous find as we’d been focusing our search in the suburbs of Point Chevalier and Grey Lynn. We just happened to drive past the ‘Open Home’ sign one afternoon, walked in, loved what we saw and put an offer in that very same day,” says Annick.

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Having three young children makes Christmas a magical time for the Larkin family, filled with excitement, wonder and new family traditions. “For the last few years Lottie, Esther and Tom have hosted a Christmas party for their friends at our house,” says Annick. “The children make invitations, plan the menu, decorate the house and generally get excited weeks before the event. It’s a wonderful start to the festive season and a lovely way to catch up with close friends before everyone disperses for the holidays.”

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Since moving into their home, Tim and Annick have made mostly cosmetic alterations with the rear garden being their most recent improvement. “Tim and I don’t know one end of a spade from the other so the wonderful people at Team Sports Surfaces levelled the ground and installed turf for us,” says Annick. “What was once an ugly and under-utilised paved courtyard has been transformed into a wonderful garden that we are really proud of.”

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As for the cosmetic changes, the house didn’t come with its current bold interior. That has been Annick’s labour of love over the past few years. “The house had been recently renovated when we bought it and every wall was painted white. I love white, don’t get me wrong, it’s just I can’t live with it.” Wasting little time, Annick slowly began transforming the walls, doors, furniture and shelving from white to bright, doing all the painting herself.

It’s clear that Annick’s children share their mother’s colour confidence as they each chose the daring wall colours for their own bedrooms. Wallpapers make an appearance too, but this isn’t reserved for walls, with Esther’s room featuring a bold Florence Broadhurst design on the ceiling.

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On a rare white wall, a pop-art mural is a custom creation by talented Auckland artist Maree Robinson. “Maree’s design is a clever play on our home’s history. In the early 1960s our house was used as an illicit beer house, as it was illegal in New Zealand for pubs to serve alcohol after 6pm,” says Annick. “Unfortunately, given the shady nature of the enterprise, the walls saw some Chicago-style brutality. Tim and I aren’t bothered about the home’s history and we absolutely love what Maree came up with. Her artwork is probably one of my favourite things in our home.”

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Given the unconventional colour in this home, it is unsurprising to find a Christmas tree as untraditional as the decor. The tree stands two metres tall and its beautiful magenta hue creates a striking contrast against the blue walls (Porter’s Paints ‘Avalon’) of the kids’ rumpus room. It’s delightfully and unpretentiously decorated in a mishmash of baubles, beads and ornaments that have been created by Lottie, Esther and Tom over the years.

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The pink front door is painted yellow on the inside (Porter’s Paints ‘Sweet Lime’) and the fireplace has been decorated with a colourful custom ‘Merry & Bright’ decal from KM2 Creative, baubles, candles and a gold kokedama plant. Yes, this fun, family home is anything but unremarkable.

Words by: Louise Lett. Photography by: Emma MacDonald.

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