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This modern country home in Christchurch is filled with colourful style

This home in Rolleston, just outside of Christchurch, has taken a traditional lifestyle block and created a spot perfect for family living in 2017

This modern country home in Christchurch is filled with colourful style

Kate McNamara and her husband Mark moved from Sydney to Christchurch in 2009 when Mark was offered a racing commentator’s position. Mark had always wanted a lifestyle block so it was no surprise to Katie when he made an offer on a piece of land in a rural settlement southwest of Christchurch. “Mark loves horses. He’s always wanted an acreage. When he found this site, I knew that he’d go for it,” she says.

The couple initially considered moving an existing house onto their land and found an ideal one in an abandoned, quake-hit suburb. However, their builder quashed that idea with a dose of financial reality, but the exercise was not a complete waste of time. “Our builder advised us that by the time we’d arranged the relocation and reinstatement, we might as well build from scratch. We loved the design and style of the house we’d picked so that became the basis for our new home,” Katie explains.

Katie, a designer and artist, knew exactly the kind of home she wanted. “I grew up in the bush in Australia. Our home was always bright and sunny and opened to the bush surrounds. I wanted that same open, spacious, light feel.”


The generous 267-square-metre home has living rooms at one end, bedrooms at the other and from the open-plan living and dining room, glass doors open to an outdoor play area. Beyond that, two ponies, a yearling and two brood mares graze in paddocks. Four chickens provide lots of eggs and work is about to start on a vege patch. “We are trying to be a little more self-sustaining,” Katie says. “My husband keeps adding to our menagerie.”

Katie chose to carpet the media room and bedrooms but the rest of the home has polished concrete flooring, selected for its thermal qualities and practicality. “Concrete is a great surface for kids and dogs. It’s so easy to clean.” The kitchen was Katie’s labour of love and she worked closely with fabricator Paul Renwick and his designer Jess Curtis to achieve a kitchen that looks stunning and is ideally suited to the family’s needs. Katie is especially proud of the wooden bench extension. “It’s the best thing I have designed in this home,” she says.

Honesty box

Katie, is there anything you would change?
I would have added an extra skylight in the hallway, and I would have liked slightly higher ceilings (it would have been hard to justify that budget-wise, though).

Did you stay within your budget?
In the end we went about 10 percent over budget.

Biggest stress?
Moving in. Our parents came to help us move but the house was not quite finished. We had six adults and a toddler sharing one bathroom, then Dad got a vomiting bug that spread around all of us. It was awful.

Any disasters?
We had some tiling problems to start off with. It was a stressful time, but when it was finally redone by a great team of Argentinian tilers, it took just two days. I cried. After weeks of heartache, they came to our rescue. It was all put right and it was beautiful.

The best bits?
I love the wooden kitchen bench extension, and the rail in the laundry is just perfect for hanging Mark’s shirts on. There is a door from the laundry to the outside, so it works like a mud room.

Steal their style

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Words by: Ady Shannon. Photography by: Kate Claridge.

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