A lifetime of travel, laughter and love was channelled into this new home, which was the realisation of a lifelong dream for a busy city dweller
When chartered accountant Cherise Barrie decided to build herself a weekend home in Matakana, north of Auckland, she knew exactly what she wanted – a home that would reflect her life, her experiences and her exacting tastes.
“Having a place in a rural area was my dream,” she says. “Living in a city apartment throughout the week, I wanted grass and space but not lots of maintenance so that I could just walk in on Friday night with the groceries and relax. I wanted it to have everything in it that I could want in a house and to be reflective of me – I have never built a house before so I had a blank canvas.”
When it came to deciding exactly what she would paint on that blank canvas, Cherise was inspired by her favourite destinations – the glorious landscapes of Tuscany, the stylish loft apartments of New York and the wide-open spaces and coastal chic of the Hamptons in New York state – to come up with a vision she presented to her architects.
“I was sitting on a plane coming back from Sydney the day before I was due to meet the architects,” tells Cherise. “And I thought to myself, ‘What am I going to say I want my house to be?’ I arrived at the architect’s office with a pile of house magazines and lots of pages tagged and said, ‘This needs to look like that, and the kitchen like this’ – and they got my vision straight away.”
Cherise had purchased her site after falling in love with its elevation and view of rolling hills that reminded her of Tuscany in Italy. But inside, the house is all New York style, with recycled bricks lining the hallway for that loft look, and black fittings everywhere else, from the appliances to the entryway chandelier. Cherise even wanted the exterior to be black, something her builders, The House Company, advised would be best achieved using Linea Weatherboard by James Hardie.
“Black is my favourite colour, and I think it looks amazing on a house – striking and classy,” she says. “The main material on the outside is Linea Weatherboard, which I chose due to it being very low maintenance. I really wanted something that wasn’t going to need a lot of care and regular painting. It also looks great paired with the brick, which we painted black to complement the weatherboards.”
The home’s exterior also features copper corner soakers, a design detail suggested by Cherise’s builders, which contrast beautifully with the chic black Linea Weatherboard. “I think it adds a really nice finishing to the corners,” Cherise says.
By the time the build commenced, Cherise had already made the majority of her decor decisions. She says taking her time at the planning stage made the process largely stress free. “I started with getting the plans in place,” she says. “And then I worked through all of the details. By the time the builders started, all of the decisions were made and most of the fittings were purchased.”
Decorating her home was easy because Cherise knew exactly the look she wanted and fate brought the perfect pieces into her life at the right time.
“I carried the picture of the dining table around in my phone for over 12 months; I knew the specific Kartell stools I wanted before the house was built, and the heights of the kitchen bench were made to accommodate them,” she says. “I stumbled upon the couch and it just happened to be perfect in terms of size and colour. When it came to chairs for the table, I saw exactly what I wanted when driving through Parnell one day. I always wanted a Kartell ghost lamp and then I fell in love with a Kartell table which I envisaged it sitting on. One small piece of wall in the lounge was just wide enough for it, so it was meant to be.”
Cherise is thrilled with the result and particularly enjoys the New York feel she’s created in the middle of rural Matakana. “I love everything in my house,” she says, “and you can see the influence of New York throughout – indeed, there are pieces specifically bought in New York for the house.”
The final result
Cherise’s careful planning and unified vision for her home has paid off in a big way – she adores every aspect of it and says she “wouldn’t change a thing”.
“I love the look of the house as I drive up the road, and then when I walk in, I just feel so relaxed and comfortable,” she continues. “The layout is amazing and it’s so wonderful having some friends over, hanging out around the kitchen area with the doors open and having the music going.”
This house is not only her retreat from busy city life, but it also represents a huge achievement and the fulfilment of a long-held dream. “I did this on my own so it’s a very big achievement for me,” Cherise says. “It is a treat to be able to come here and be away from the city.”
Cherise’s top five tips
1 Have a clear vision of what you want.
2 Get a fabulous builder who buys into your vision and dream.
3 Take your time to get your details right – it is hard to change once it is done.
4 Build it for you, don’t worry about what others say…. you might only ever do this once!
5 Don’t scrimp on the details.
For more information visit: www.jameshardie.co.nz
Words by: Sally Conor. Photography by: Simon Wilson.