The sauna-esque quality of an all-wood interior has disappeared under layers of fresh white, turning a dated, dark home into a ravishing abode. Story by Debbie Harrison
Who lives here?
Ben Teagle, 34 (real estate agent), and Sammi Teagle, 27 (producer).
The original home
The original two-bedroom Lockwood was built in the 1970s, with extensions added in the mid 1990s. Previous owners had built onto the front to create a generously sized master bedroom with ensuite and a living room with a cute Kent-style fireplace. Later on, a large two-car garage (with a fish filleting station – an essential for any home near the beach) was also added.
The interior was dated and darkwith timber absolutely everywhere
“The interior was dated and dark with timber absolutely everywhere – on the floors, the walls and the ceiling!” recalls Sammi. “It reminded us of one of those school-camp cabins we stayed in as kids.” The varnished timber had darkened over the years, giving the house a very lifeless and dreary appearance, she adds.
But Sammi and Ben were too taken with the scene-stealing coastal view which stretched from the northern end of Orewa Beach all the way to the Mahurangi Peninsula to pay too much attention to the interior details. It was the stunning view and the beach-suburb location which gave them their decor direction: a light, bright, character-filled Hamptons-style beach house with a contemporary twist. Here’s how they did it.
1 White out
Painting the entire inside of a 175-square-metre house was no small feat, so the Teagles decided to get stuck in straight away, before moving in a single piece of furniture.
It was a massive undertaking. First they had to apply a sealer to the walls, then fill and sand the knot holes before applying an undercoat. The coat of sealer was an integral part of the job as it stopped the varnish from bleeding through the white paint – but the smell was overpowering. Ben reckons the fumes were so potent you could smell them while walking up the driveway.
The Teagles’ advice if you’re considering doing the same thing? Hire professionals. “It’s completely worth it as the prep and coats required to do a good job make for a very large task,” says Ben. A daunting job but a worthy one: the white makeover made the home feel fresh, brighter and much larger.
2 The pros of using pros
Ben and Sammi did many of the smaller jobs themselves but they left the important tasks to the professionals, to make sure the work was done to a high standard. “If there was one thing we quickly discovered, it was that some things are best left to the professionals,” says Ben. “Our builder saved us, quite frankly. He was just outstanding and we are so grateful for everything he did to help us throughout the entire project.”
3 Kitchen conquest
The original kitchen was small, poky and dark. Ben and Sammi spent hours pondering how to transform it into a functional, yet exquisite, designer space. Their solution was to knock out walls and cupboards, add a wide island and open up the kitchen to the rest of the living area, creating a very usable space which has changed the flow of the entire home. The kitchen is now a major feature of the house and most dinner parties end with everyone congregating in it.
The couple had the original tongue-and-groove wooden flooring sanded and polished and are rapt with the results. “It was such a triumph and really adds to the traditional character of the home,” Sammi says. Choosing a light-coloured wool carpet for the bedrooms and living room has added a cosy and welcoming touch.
5 Plan of attack
In short, there wasn’t one. “Looking back, as renovation rookies we did so many things completely out of order,” laughs Sammi. “It seems so obvious now, but at the time our excitement and Kiwi gung-ho attitude led us to rush in without thinking. For example, had we actually planned to fully renovate the house from the outset, we would never have had the carpet laid so early on. We had to cover it with sheets and plastic as tradesmen went back and forth over it. So silly!”
We looked at each other and thought‘What are we doing?’
Their zeal also led them to knock out the kitchen a bit early, a move which had them arriving on Sammi’s parents’ doorstep. “Right in the middle of the renovation, we looked at each other and thought, ‘What are we doing?’” says Sammi. “If we ever do this again, we would definitely come in with a very detailed plan. We could have saved ourselves a lot of stress.” The couple report that things improved once they had engaged their builder, who used his experience and knowledge to give them some practical advice.
6 Feathering the nest
“We like to be surrounded with things that evoke nostalgia and also have meaning and memories attached to them,” explains Sammi. They’ve started a tradition of saving for coveted items of furniture which they buy to mark their wedding anniversaries and special occasions, ensuring their home is filled with things that mean something to them.
“Life today is busy and demanding and, for us, ‘home’ is that feeling you get when you walk in the door, let out a breath and release your day,” says Sammi. “There’s just something about being in a place that’s secure, familiar and enhanced by a number of gorgeous objects.”
7 Out of joint
Most of us think we’re stuck with the coloured aluminium window joinery the house was built with (unless you replace it all). Not so, as the Teagles discovered. The couple found that getting the old, dark joinery recoloured white meant it complemented the new exterior colour and instantly modernised their home. It also opened up the views, letting them take centre-stage. The paint technique is also used on boats, so it is very durable.
8 Decked out
“Living in New Zealand, you can never have too many decks,” say the couple, who now own 70 square metres of decking. They added a deck at the back of the house, which provides a sunny and sheltered extra living area perfect for barbecues and lazy afternoons. The decks are Ben’s favourite feature of the home: “The front deck faces the view and is fantastic for entertaining and watching the boats and jet skis race across the water.”
Words by: Debbie Harrison; Photography by: Helen Bankers.