A light, bright home and office with a retro edge

Work and play come together effortlessly in this 1970s inspired renovation of a Freemans Bay villa home/office space 

Who lives here?

Andrew Barron (managing director and owner of The Timber Barron, a global timber exporter).

Experts Q&A with interior designer James Peters of Interior Solutions

James, how did you interpret the client’s brief?

The client’s wish was for a light, bright space. He’s a progressive thinker and a successful businessman with a contemporary outlook. I sensed he wanted an understated home, not flashy but imaginative, without being extreme. Not a bland, colourless, safe environment.

I chose feature colours of Resene ‘Fire’ (a burnt brick orange), Resene ‘Moroccan Spice’ (a rich bitter brown) and Resene ‘Himalaya’ (a spicy green-bronze) along with Resene ‘Mongoose’ (a warm pale brown).

I hope the colours depict his personality and vision in both his personal and business life. He was the perfect client who wanted me to push the boundaries a little and ultimately trusted my judgment.

I suggested he also invest in some mid-century furniture – both old and new – for his upstairs domain. Going back some months later to help place some art was a joy as I realised the client was exceptionally happy about what we had achieved together.

What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The upper floor was a challenge as the rooms had different windows at different heights and it was quite a plain space. I removed windows and awkward structures and installed a new kitchen. Luckily,

I work with a great painter (Peter Witton) and builder (David Hansen of Earlswood Builders), who are highly professional and have great input.

Problems & solutions

  • Problem The upstairs kitchen and bathrooms were very basic and needed modernising.
  • Solution Upstairs, Andrew installed a contemporary kitchen as well as a luxurious new bathroom.
  • Problem The downstairs office space had a lot of interior windows that were completely redundant. The kitchenette was tiny and the old-school fluorescent tube lighting was far from easy on the eye.
  • Solution The downstairs interior windows were removed to create an open-plan office space. Contemporary and functional lighting was fitted throughout and a new kitchen installed.
  • Problem The upstairs interior windows failed to provide privacy from the downstairs office space.
  • Solution The interior windows were removed and replaced with walls.

Words by: Annick Larkin. Photography by: Emma MacDonald.