Architect Eva Nash took on the project of renovating her once damp and musty Auckland home and has given it a new lease of life
Renovation inspiration from a 1930s bungalow
As an architect, Eva Nash’s approach to designing her own family home was no different to the way she approaches her other projects. “The most important question was: ‘How does this family want to live and what is important to them?’ The only difference was I got to answer the question!” explains Eva. “My husband, David, has complete faith in my abilities so he left every design decision up to me. This was both a blessing and a curse as it is often easier to work with more design constraints.”
The couple purchased their 1930s bungalow two years ago, and although it was damp and musty, they fell in love with its high ceilings and traditional bungalow details. Unfortunately, that was all the building had going for it. Previous owners had butchered the house in the early 2000s with an extension to the rear and had rearranged the interior layout so the living areas faced southeast. The bathroom was internal (none of its walls were exterior ones) and the master bedroom was the only space that flowed out onto the back lawn. However, the true selling point for Eva and David was the fact that they could see so much potential to transform the house as it sat on a large sunny site.
Once the home was theirs, Eva came up with a design which required the interior to be completely gutted and then reconfigured around an open-plan living/dining/kitchen area. Double glazing was also added throughout.
The bathroom and ensuite were relocated and, with clever planning, the old laundry was transformed into a playroom for her three-year-old son Nico.
The living area now flows seamlessly out onto a brand-new deck, connecting directly with the back lawn. “When we started, we expected to sand and polish the old timber floors, but when we pulled up the coverings we discovered large areas of the floorboards had been cut up and patched with plywood. So instead we laid a new French oak overlay floor (overlay is thinner than a standard timber floor) throughout the house, and it’s now one of my favourite features,” says Eva.
In Nico’s bedroom Eva wished to create something striking and didn’t want it to feel like a predictable boy’s room. The vibrant, graphic wallpaper (from the Paper Room) is printed in France by Minakani Lab and has lots of fantastic colours which are perfect for using as accents. A small David Trubridge pendant light adds interest and is a wonderful contrast to the punchy hues scattered around the room. Eva chose to leave the bed and its linen neutral, bringing in colour with accessories such as an orange Tolix bedside table and red Componibili side table from Kartell.
The timber-look panelling in the family bathroom is a nod to the home’s heritage, albeit in a more contemporary way. “I wanted the walls to be interesting but our budget couldn’t stretch to tiling the walls,” says Eva. “Instead, we lined the room with HardieGroove, which is a grooved fibre cement board that looks like timber. It is often used outside on soffits or inside as a ceiling so it’s a great choice for a wet area.”
Eva has a love for mid-century modern design but she prefers to live in a more relaxed, contemporary style. “I’m not precious with my furniture or my house – I believe it is there to be used and there to be lived in,” she says. “My furniture must look great, function well and be practical for my three-year-old to climb over.”
An industrial-look, blackened brass pendant light (from Weekend Traders) in the entryway pays homage to Eva’s favourite period of furniture design. It not only makes a bold statement but illuminates the gallery wall of family portraits next to the front door. “I am a big fan of family photos. It’s really important to me to understand my family history and for my children to have an understanding of that, too.”
The vibe of this house is relaxed, unpretentious and peaceful, the flow is perfect and, most importantly, Eva has created a beautiful home that is personal and unique to her family and her family’s needs. The answer to that all-important question – how does this family want to live and what is important to them? – has well and truly come to life.
Words by: Annick Larkin. Photos by: Emma MacDonald.