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A family of six hit the jackpot with this Hawke’s Bay home

A family of six needing to upsize create an enviable lifestyle in a peaceful Hawke’s Bay settlement


Who lives here?

Asha Payton (upholsterer and founder of Little and Fox), Joe Payton (Hawke’s Bay rugby player development manager), Otis, 6, Teddy, 5, Pepe and Fox, both 2, plus Biddi the dog.

The story behind this Hawke’s Bay home

When Joe and Asha Payton discovered three years ago that they were expecting twins, it was clear they would be needing a bigger house. At the time, they were living in an 80-square-metre home in Te Awanga, a tiny seaside settlement in Hawke’s Bay, with their two small sons, Otis and Teddy. When a house just around the corner came on the market as a private sale, the couple snapped it up. “It worked out perfectly,” Asha says. “A lot of the design had been done for us. The previous owners had such great style and were both very creative.”

Why it was meant to be

“Le Cube” (nicknamed by the previous French owners) was two storeys with a large backyard – perfect for a growing family. Having been recently repainted in Resene Karen Walker colours, the house was already looking good, which suited Asha and Joe down to the ground. The only serious renovating they needed to tackle was the very dated upstairs bathroom. They allowed a $10,000 budget, which was certainly not extravagant considering the size of the bathroom.

But they struck gold when they pulled off the walls – or copper, to be precise. Metres and metres of original copper piping was salvaged and Asha set about exploring Pinterest for ideas on how to use it. With their designs in hand, they commissioned their plumber to make the shower and tapware. “It was really simple and saved us heaps,” says Asha.


The owners repurposed where possible

Asha and Joe are both big believers in recycling and re-purposing where possible, so a store-bought bathroom vanity was never on the cards. Working with a local metal product manufacturer, they had a frame built to fit the space, and raised it up on castors for effect. Joe sourced some recycled wood from the Hastings Showgrounds – stadium seating in another life – which he cut and glued to the frame, and the basin was found on Trade Me. The finished bathroom with its handmade features is a true representation of this creative couple and adds real character to the home.


Adding personal touches

As owner of the design and upholstery business Little and Fox, Asha has created many of the soft furnishings in the home. Her very first project, a beautiful turquoise floral chair, takes pride of place in the living room, and her cushions are scattered throughout. She has come a long way since her first piece and now works alongside Hawke’s Bay’s most established and sought-after upholsterer. “I am a hunter and seeker. I love giving old pieces a second chance,” Asha says.

A major influence on her style was her grandmother Maddie. She was fashionable, almost before her time, and her love of colour and beautiful fabric was an inspiration. A lot of Maddie’s belongings have found a place in Asha’s home as well as her heart, and it’s that mix of old and new, found and created, that has turned this house into a very special home.


Creating awesome outdoor living spaces

Another new addition was Joe’s outdoor pizza oven, which took him several months to build, working on it in the evenings all through last winter. He wanted it to fit perfectly in their sunken outdoor area so, after lots of research, he bought the fire bricks and flue and did it himself. Being a great place for family and friends to gather on long, balmy Hawke’s Bay nights, it’s in constant use over the summer.

Words by: Vic Bibby. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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