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A Waiheke workshop becomes an unlikely family home

With some clever thinking, a family home is created from a Waiheke Island workshop

A Waiheke workshop becomes an unlikely family home

Who lives here?
Tony Parker (owner of Tree Essence), Jo Parker (legal secretary and owner of One Button crafts),  Ruby, and Munro, live on the island full-time. Big sisters Claudia, and Paris are part-time residents.

Where do you find inspiration and materials for your projects, Tony?
Partly, it’s necessity. Reusing is cost effective. And living on an island, you make do with what’s available. Pretty much everything we‘ve got here was secondhand or rescued from local businesses.

Jo, how did your business start?
When the children were small, I kept mixing up their Well Child Plunket books, taking Ruby’s book to Munro’s appointment. So I designed covers for the books, so I could tell them apart and that led to other people wanting them. The name One Button came from some canvas art I started when Ruby was a baby.

Top tips for getting the look

  • Stack wooden crates, often found by rummaging round inorganic collections, on top of each other to store shoes.
  • Bolt a wooden seat to an old drop saw base and voila  – a table.
  • Line the skylight with old shutters.
  • Make bedspreads from linen and coffee sacks (the sacks can be rough on your skin so keep them to the foot end of the bed as an embellishment).
  • Store extra mismatched chairs on the wall, where they double as art.
  • Convert old ladders into functional drying or hanging racks.


Words by: Sue Hoffart. Photography by: Helen Bankers.