After living in 10 houses within the past nine years, the Adding family are thrilled to celebrate a big, colourful Christmas in their new Riverhead home
Meet and greet
Christmas style reaches colourful new levels in this Riverhead home
You may be familiar with interior design studio Miss Lolo, where handcrafted furniture pieces produced here in New Zealand blur the line between function and art. However, you will be less familiar with the face behind the brand: Tamzyn Adding, an astute businesswoman who is also a mother to five youngsters.
Tamzyn isn’t the only craftsperson in her house. She’s married to builder Ben who owns a construction company, so it’s no surprise that the pair are serial renovators. In fact, they are so used to moving and renovating that December 2017 marks the first time they will have spent two consecutive Christmases in the same home.
A long journey
Tamzyn and Ben have lived in a whopping 10 different homes in the past nine years, the eighth of which was their first home purchase three years ago. They bought, renovated and sold homes eight and nine in the hopes of making enough money to buy in an area where they really wanted to live. The last property the couple renovated was in Matakana, an hour’s drive north of Auckland.
To minimise disruption, the kids remained at their school in Coatesville and Tamzyn drove them an hour to school in the mornings, worked on building her business during school hours (sometimes while sitting in the school car park), then drove everyone home in the afternoons. When the family’s property in Matakana was sold, the Addings were finally able to cash in on all their hard work.
Within a matter of weeks they had bought their current home, a new-build in Riverhead in the upper Waitemata Harbour with views across farmland and water. Even better for Tamzyn is the fact it is now only a five-minute drive to school and 20 minutes to the Miss Lolo showroom in Herne Bay.
Bright and fun
Tamzyn’s love of art and colour and her flair for design is everywhere in her home. From oversized artwork by graffiti artists Charles and Janine Williams in the entryway to the striped hallway and bold geometric-painted walls, this is a welcoming home brimming with interesting objects, statement pieces of furniture and a collection of contemporary art.
“Our house is quirky, colourful and eclectic,” says Tamzyn. “As we’d always renovated houses to sell and make a profit, none of them had any of our personality. We’d done what all developers do and kept the palette neutral. This time around I wanted it to be ‘me’ – bright colours, bold design, fun and not too serious.” Everything is from Miss Lolo – her own wallpapers, furniture, drapes and accessories – so her home is very much an extension of her brand. Tamzyn believes strongly that Miss Lolo shouldn’t stock anything she wouldn’t use in her own home.
Although it was fresh and modern, the new home was initially devoid of personality. Its generic beige walls, lack of curtains or blinds, lonely yucca plants in the garden and white picket fence were the antithesis of the bold, bright aesthetic Miss Lolo is known for.
Tamzyn had hoped that buying a new-build would mean no structural work was needed, but within a few weeks Ben had removed the existing decking and added a pergola, and internal walls had been removed to make better use of the interior spaces. “We’ve added a home office, repurposed one garage to create a new bedroom for Poutu, created a large wraparound deck and added extensive retaining at the front of the property to give us a level front lawn,” says Tamzyn.
Tears and cheers
After the big move, Miss Lolo continued to grow to include its own brand of homeware and wallpaper and life seemed sweet. Then Tamzyn and Ben were thrown a curve ball. Twelve months ago Tamzyn was diagnosed with breast cancer. After extensive surgery and ongoing treatment she is now grateful to be cancer free and enjoying her life again.
An added joy has been the addition of Poutu to the family after the couple were approached to whangai (become customary foster parents to) the 12-year-old. “Poutu adds a wonderful richness to our family,” says Tamzyn. So far, Poutu’s room has been her favourite to decorate. “I had loads of fun doing his room, which surprised me,” says Tamzyn. “Having four daughters, I thought I’d struggle with a boy’s room. But once I’d selected the navy splatter-paint wallpaper, the rest fell into place, including an oversized velvet headboard and some fun cushions.”
Tamzyn’s favourite space in her home is the open-plan kitchen, dining and casual lounge area. The Addings love to entertain and every Christmas they host a large Christmas Eve party for all the family. “We all love cooking and everyone brings a plate, from completely over-the-top cheese platters, shrimp cocktails and Vietnamese rice-paper rolls to mouth-watering barbecued eye fillet and garlic butter. There is always plenty of bubbles for the adults and grape juice (also referred to as ‘kids’ wine’) for the children,” says Tamzyn.
It’s been a long journey for this large modern family, but finally they’ve found a place to land – at least for now. After a year of highs and lows, a joyous Kiwi Christmas is just what the doctor ordered and, Tamzyn, we wish you a very good one.
Words by: Annick Larkin. Photography by: Tom Hollows.