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Inside Augustine designer Kelly Coe’s St Heliers home

As a queen of colour and pattern, it’s only natural that Kelly Coe would stamp her new home with her signature style. Take a closer look at the luxurious makeover that made the Coe house feel like home


Meet and greet

Kelly Coe, clothing designer for Augustine, Nathan Coe, director of Augustine,  Indiana, 7, Demi, 5, and Havana, 10 months, plus moggy Stella Bear.

Inside Augustine designer Kelly Coe’s Herne Bay home

In November 2015, Nathan and Kelly Coe began a seven-month search for their next family home. Kelly was pregnant and they wanted to find a house that had enough space – inside and out – to cope with the needs of their growing family.

They extended their net far and wide in the hope of finding a home with four bedrooms all on one level, and a garden large enough for a playhouse. “We were looking all over Auckland,” explains Kelly. “Nathan and I are both self-employed, our eldest girl had only just started school, so we could have lived anywhere.”


The couple made offers on houses in Herne Bay, Whitford, Takapuna and St Heliers but none proved successful. Despite these setbacks, their search continued and, in mid-2016, the couple were shown through their current home before it went on the market.

“When we saw this house, we were instantly sold,” recalls Kelly. In fact, she was sold before walking through the door. “I’ve always loved black houses,” she says. “I was instantly drawn to the crisp, dark exterior.” But it was the four upstairs bedrooms, which would allow the whole family to sleep on the same level, and a flat backyard that really sealed the deal.


A dose of signature style

Kelly is the designer for her own fashion label, Augustine, and if you’re a fan of her beautiful clothing you’ll be familiar with her fondness for colour. She isn’t afraid of bold hues and patterns so it’s hardly surprising to see colour and texture feature heavily in her home. The couple took possession of their St Heliers house in June last year but decided to give it a makeover before moving in.


“The house was only eight years old when we purchased it so it was perfect in many ways, but unfortunately the decor was dated and not to our tastes, so we gave it a fresh new look inside,” explains Kelly.

Although the couple made no structural changes, a team of contractors spent six weeks repainting every wall, installing new fireplaces, re-staining timber floors and laying carpet upstairs, hanging wallpaper, replacing lights and fitting new kitchen cabinetry and benchtops.

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“It was a very tight timeframe as I was 38 weeks pregnant when we moved in,” says Kelly. “Pretty much every wall and ceiling was repainted as we didn’t like the paint colours that were there. But the layout was absolutely perfect for us.” The couple also made a few changes outside, adding new decking and several playground features – including a fabulous flying fox – for the kids.


Behind the finer details 

Kelly would describe their colourful home as eclectic, modern and fun. “I love having the house look a certain way with certain design elements, but we never wanted that to be at the cost of having a liveable and practical home for our daughters,” she says.

Our house needs to be enjoyed,

so we’re not precious about anything

Kelly chose couches that can be jumped on, accessories that won’t break at the slightest touch, and wall colours that cleverly disguise little fingerprints or the odd pen mark or scratch. “Our house needs to be enjoyed,” explains Kelly, “so we’re not precious about anything in the house at all.”


Owning and working in a creative business means both Nathan (who takes care of the financial side of the operation) and Kelly have a great eye for detail. Nathan chose all the paint colours and floor coverings, and also designed the amazing brass kitchen island. Kelly selected the furniture, wallpaper, art and accessories.


The formal lounge was Kelly’s favourite room to decorate. “It’s an open-plan layout which connects to the dining room so we had a lot of space to play with,” she explains. The golden fire surround backed by a feature wall in Resene ‘Blue Night’ was chosen as the focal point. The teal and metallic tones cleverly complement the playful, geometric wallpaper in the dining space. “I love the ink-coloured backdrop in the lounge as it allowed me to add colour to the rest of the room,” Kelly says. “And the feature walls in the dining area add a wonderful element of fun.”


Child’s play in the bedrooms

Feminine feature wallpapers have been hung in each of the girls’ bedrooms, infusing the spaces with life and personality. Despite the bold, embellished walls, the rooms feel light and airy, an effect achieved by simply dressing windows with plantation shutters which allow natural light to flood the rooms.

With her signature style of combining colour, pattern and texture, Kelly has created dreamy bedrooms for her daughters, reinforcing the fun and eclectic mood of this home.


Lots to love with the layout

The spacious, open-plan Coe house flows seamlessly out to the deck and garden, providing an ideal set-up for family living. Nathan and Kelly’s unconventional touches and dashes of eccentricity not only inject joie de vivre and a sense of humour into the interior but also serve to bind spaces together.

But beyond its creative and colourful rooms, this house is first and foremost a home filled with fun, photographs, noise and practical design ideas which make it the perfect place for a growing family.



Words by: Annick Larkin. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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