How to

The Block NZ Ben & Quinn: Modern French Cottage cover challenge

Chalky colours and old world charm with a modern twist were the brief for this couple.


Starting point: We supplied them with a pressed tin metal-front cabinet from General Eclectic (back left) and a Lena Larsson ‘Bohem’ rocking chair from Mr Bigglesworthy, plus the walls were painted in Dulux Colours of NZ ‘Ice Lake’. The couple sourced the other items from Freedom and Junk & Disorderly.

Alex’s top tips to get the look:

Don’t be fooled into thinking this look is ‘French country’ – those days are numbered. For this look, we are going for less distressed and more block colours on furniture, walls and floors.

Take the colour palette down a notch or two. Even though we are talking ‘block colours’, they are not primary colours. Think about a few tones up from pastel shades – we still want softness but without being wishy-washy.

This look is pretty deconstructed, with a lived-in feel. It needs to have a homely, welcoming element that is less formal and is very comfortable. There is a fine line between lived in and messy so make sure you have organisational options to help keep your space orderly.

Upcycle. Have a good look around junk shops for pieces of furniture that you can re-love with a decent sand and a repaint.  Not everything has to be new and by scoring a secondhand object, you are giving something that was once treasured some new life – good for the environment and your pocket.

Mix stripes and spots. These two patterns are design classics and will never date. Use both designs in subtle ways and in monochromatic colour tones such as black, grey, white and light colours.

Words by: Alex Fulton
Photography by: Melanie Jenkins
Interior Design by: Ben and Quinn Alexandre