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Downsizing to a charming cottage in Mount Maunganui

With lashings of pink and a certain je ne sais quoi, this perfectly petite Mt Maunganui home reflects its owner’s new ‘girl power’ chapter 

Who lives here?

Julie Duncan, owner of floristry and antiques store Myrrh.

Learning to live small

Learning to live in a small space is a bit like remembering how to ride a bike, thinks Julie Duncan. In both cases there have been a few wobbles and a little discomfort. Then some necessary adjustments, followed by a rapidly growing, gleeful sense of freedom.

The pharmacy owner-turned-florist bought an old-fashioned bike immediately after acquiring her tiny house on a back section two streets from Mt Maunganui’s coastal playground. The cottage was supposed to be an occasional bolthole, a practical stopping-off point closer to youngest son Liam’s boarding school in Cambridge and an escape from multiple business and social commitments in Opotiki. But Julie became smitten with the lifestyle, discovering cafes and shops, movie theatres and a glorious beach within walking or cycling distance. Following an amicable marriage break-up, the holiday home became her permanent abode and the bike her favourite transport mode.

Style secrets

The first rule is declutter, declutter, declutter.

Live simply – shop less and only buy if it is useful or it is absolutely beautiful.

Buy food often, in small quantities. And buy it fresh.

Live alone!

Words by: Sue Hoffart. Photography by: Rachel Dobbs.