As the son of an award-winning furniture maker, it comes as no surprise that the fit-out of Brodie McDonald’s new cafe is nothing short of stunning
A café with an impressive design heritage opens in suburban Auckland
Brodie McDonald – along with brother Matthew Carroll and sister-in-law Christine Donnelly – opened Seabreeze in Westmere late last year. The son of award-winning furniture maker Bob McDonald, Brodie obsessed over the interior of the new café. “I guess growing up in a house full of beautifully designed and made furniture had a big part in forming my interest in design,” he says.
How did Bob’s work influence the fitout of Seabreeze? All of the wooden joinery was done by Peter Young, who did a lot of the work for Dad’s furniture. We used hemlock, a wood Dad used for a beautiful couch that he never managed to release. I’ve also used trestle legs that Dad designed but didn’t get around to releasing.
You worked on the fitout for 13 months. What took so long? A big part was how long it took to get resource consent for the change of use of the hairdresser next door, which we took over to extend the seating. Then there was a lot of work to smash through the load-bearing brick wall between the two.
How did you come to open on this site? I grew up here. My mum still lives in the family home around the corner and my daughter is at Westmere School. I made my first link to the Seabreeze site as a dishwasher when it was Meola Kitchen – I actually gave it a good go and thought that hospo wasn’t my thing and quit. The same week, I found out my daughter was on the way, ran back and asked for my job back. I worked for Jan [Gardner] at Meola Kitchen for about five years and became manager. I then went on to start Johnny Feedback.
Isn’t there a motel in nearby Herne Bay called Sea Breeze? There was. I loved how it was called the Sea Breeze Boutique Motel, while not straying from the classic 80s accommodation motif.
184 Garnet Rd, Westmere, Auckland
Photography by: Sam Hartnett.