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Serial renovators settle on this Kapiti Coast retreat

It only took six renovations in Auckland and Wellington before this family settled on a home on the Kapiti Coast. But are they getting itchy feet again?

With an interior designer in the house, you can be guaranteed of some quirky details, such as the pink painted triangle in Annabelle’s room.

 Serial renovators settle on this Kapiti Coast retreat

Moving house is almost second nature to Vanessa and Matt Webb. Not only have the Wellington couple never lived in the same home for more than two years, they’ve also successfully completed six renovations in both Auckland and Wellington.

But after moving back to the capital three years ago, they were faced with a dilemma. Should they live in the city or settle on the Kapiti Coast, close to Vanessa’s family? Their fate was sealed when, after a year of looking, they found this four-bedroom home a surfboard’s throw from Paraparaumu Beach.

There’s plenty of room for a seating area plus a gorgeous black swinging egg chair (from Freedom Furniture) when you need some alone time with a good book.

“We wanted somewhere we could stay for the next 10 years, so the girls wouldn’t have to move schools,” says Vanessa, an interior designer and mum to Pippa, 7, and Annabelle, 5. Also on their wishlist was a sunny, northwest-facing home which was sheltered from the wind and had sea views. “We didn’t have an outlook at our place in Sandringham, in central Auckland, but this house has wraparound decks that provide fantastic views of the ocean.”

The living area is flooded with natural light, so Vanessa opted for a deep shade on the walls to offset some of the brightness. Visitors always ask what colour it is because it seems to change from black to charcoal to navy, depending on the light.

Thankfully, the home’s previous owner, a builder, had done the bulk of the renovation work, but the 200-square-metre house was still light years away from the couple’s ideal. “It was fine functionally, but there was no character or personality,” says Vanessa.

Neither had anything been done to the 900-square-metre section. So the first thing the couple did was to call in the landscapers, who spent six weeks carting away trailer loads of soil and weeds. The result is a terraced backyard built around a massive Norfolk pine and two pohutukawas, the trees being one of the reasons the pair fell in love with the property.

Vanessa, who worked in fashion and advertising before moving into interior design, was in her element when it came to turning the blank canvas into a home. A great believer in first impressions, she opted for a vibrant butterfly wallpaper for the entrance and hallway.

The enclosed deck off the upper storey’s master suite is sheltered from the wind, making it a pleasant spot to be at any time of day.

“The girls chose it and even though it’s quite busy, it works really well. But it would have been too overpowering on both sides of the hall, so we papered only one.”

Having sold most of their furniture before moving south, Vanessa splashed out on new sofas from BoConcept which contrast well with the living room’s charcoal-navy walls. The dining-room table is also new, custom-made to fit the space by Thonet in Wellington, where Vanessa also found the bentwood dining chairs. She had the pendant lightshades in the living room made from some Florence Broadhurst fabric she picked up on a job.

Vanessa’s love of colour is evident throughout the house, especially in the playroom where pink wallpaper sourced from the States features fine line drawings of famous buildings such as the Eiffel Tower and Colosseum – an endless source of entertainment for Pippa and Annabelle.

Pink also makes an appearance in Pippa’s room, where Vanessa spent two full days sticking the pink and gold heart decals to the wall.“I used a spirit level to ensure they were exactly 15cm apart. By the end of two days I was over it!”

Having almost achieved their dream home (the kitchen still needs to be rejigged, says Vanessa), this hard-working couple are happy to stay put – for now. “We love the ‘beach house’ feel, and the fact that every day feels like you’re on holiday. But we enjoy renovating houses, so who knows what could happen next?”

Words by: Sharon Stephenson. Photography by: Elizabeth Goodall.

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