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An outdoor bar, barbecue and studio space is the ultimate hangout

Once solitary bush, Hawke’s Bay artist Tony Harrington’s backyard is now a hub of creativity with a unique gallery space, functioning bar and outdoor bath 

House snapshot

Who lives here? Tony Harrington (artist), Lisa Harrington (social worker), Ella, 10, and Lily, 7, plus Puss Puss the cat.

The story

Tony graduated from the Eastern Institute of Technology in 2004 with a degree in visual art and design, majoring in 3D and furniture design. He puts his talents to good use not only in his artwork but also in his workspace and the unique home he shares with his young family. Together with his good friend builder Mark Kopu, he transformed the tiny sleep-out at the back of the house into The View Room. After extending the roof, they lined the room with plywood and clad the exterior in black-stained ply and Zincalume.

The deck came next and his much-talked-about ‘koru fence’. Nothing escapes Tony’s creative eye – what began as a simple barbecue bench is now a functional outdoor bar complete with built-in ice bucket, workbench and thatched roof. “The View Room and deck have been a welcome addition and a revelation to the backyard,” says Tony. “I can sit here, enjoy a quiet ale and the artistic inspirations just flow!”

The backyard has come a long way since their arrival nine years ago when a solitary bush was all there was to be found. One of the latest additions to this space, and a favourite of daughters Lily and Ella, is the outdoor bath behind the studio.

Words by: Vic Bibby. Photography by: Florence Charvin.