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A serene west-Auckland home with calming sea views


A family of former city dwellers has found tranquil respite in a bush retreat with lovely sea views

In a nutshell

Who lives here?
Sarah Cutler (architect), Declan Ryan (architectural draughtsman), Nat, Finn, and Bonnie the labrador.

What do you love most about your home? Sarah:
“We love the view, the privacy and living close to nature.”

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s renovating?
Always expect something to go wrong and that it will cost more than you anticipate. With this in mind, be prepared for a stressful but rewarding experience.

How helpful was having you and your husband’s architectural backgrounds?
Very helpful but, of course, very different to completing work for a client as you are more emotionally involved in the project.

Style Tips

  • In keeping. By respecting the design integrity of your home – a pared-back modernist style in this case – you can create a cohesive renovation and interior that holds its place in the present.
  • Investment piece. With kitchens being central to contemporary living and connected to other areas of the home, it’s worth investing in quality finishings for key pieces, such as the stone-clad kitchen island.
  • Colour code. If you are reluctant to introduce colour to the walls, which are predominantly cement plaster in this home, it can be used to great effect in soft furnishings, lighting, stand-out decor pieces and art.

Words by Catherine Steel. Photography by Helen Bankers.

A family of former city dwellers has found tranquil respite in a bush retreat with lovely sea views

In a nutshell

Who lives here?
Sarah Cutler (architect), Declan Ryan (architectural draughtsman), Nat, Finn, and Bonnie the labrador.

What do you love most about your home? Sarah:
“We love the view, the privacy and living close to nature.”

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s renovating?
Always expect something to go wrong and that it will cost more than you anticipate. With this in mind, be prepared for a stressful but rewarding experience.

How helpful was having you and your husband’s architectural backgrounds?
Very helpful but, of course, very different to completing work for a client as you are more emotionally involved in the project.

Style Tips

  • In keeping. By respecting the design integrity of your home – a pared-back modernist style in this case – you can create a cohesive renovation and interior that holds its place in the present.
  • Investment piece. With kitchens being central to contemporary living and connected to other areas of the home, it’s worth investing in quality finishings for key pieces, such as the stone-clad kitchen island.
  • Colour code. If you are reluctant to introduce colour to the walls, which are predominantly cement plaster in this home, it can be used to great effect in soft furnishings, lighting, stand-out decor pieces and art.

Words by Catherine Steel. Photography by Helen Bankers.

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