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This Auckland villa expertly mixes French style with modern family living

Fate played its hand when an Auckland couple chanced upon the home of their dreams while out walking one Sunday. Discover how they’ve brought modern family living to French provincial style 

Meet and greet 

Reuben Lamont, Fiona Lamont, Harriet, 4, and Teddy, 2.

This Auckland villa expertly mixes French style with modern family living

How do you view the investment you’ve made in your home?
Fiona: We feel we have made a great investment. Our realtor friend, Roy Champtaloup, came over before we even started. We ran our ideas past him and he agreed that if we went ahead, we’d be fine. We think we have increased the house’s value, not that we are planning to sell any time soon – we have renovated this house to suit our current wants and needs.

How does what you actually spent on the house compare to your budget?
We went over budget by 5 percent, which we think is fairly good; we had a very comprehensive spreadsheet. Unfortunately the overspend did eat into my decorating budget but we will still do the things we want with furnishings etc, just at a later date.

Do you tend to purchase high-end homeware or seek out a bargain?
High-end homeware.

What are your top style tips?
As a family we always gravitate to the kitchen island so we wanted the benchtop to be deep enough to sit at comfortably – we like a 40cm overhang for us tall folk. We also made sure the island was as long as possible (three metres) so we could easily fit six people there.

Never be afraid to give a DIY job like painting a go. If you have a bedhead or bedside cabinet you’re not sure about any more, try painting it. You’re not going to hate it any more than before and you may end up with a piece you really love!

I love creating vignettes: little ornamental designs that reveal something about the personality and life stories of the people who live here.

Christmas quiz

What is on the Lamont family Christmas Day menu this year?
Brekky will be croissants and coffee. Lunch will be light as dinner is always a traditional Christmas dinner, one of those where no one’s top buttons are left done up at the end! We’ll have glazed ham, roast turkey, roast potatoes and kumara, Mum’s famous potato salad, homemade coleslaw and all the trimmings and condiments you can imagine. Dessert is pavlova, Christmas pudding and custard and my grandmother’s special dessert (we call it “kushcafluff”) that my sister makes.

How will your family be spending Christmas Day this year?
Early morning will involve opening and playing with presents, breakfast with family and opening of more presents, home for a nap if we are lucky, then off to my sister’s place for the traditional dinner (my sister Michaela and I are taking turns to host now that Mum has hesitantly handed over the tradition, so it will be at our place next year).

Words by: Annick Larkin. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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