Having limited space to work with meant this Auckland couple had to be creative when renovating. Get inspired by their clever interior style
A creative couple transform their Avondale home with clever, eclectic style
Yuka is Japanese and came to New Zealand in 2003 to study fashion. She met Tristan O’Shannessy later that same year and the rest, as they say, is history. In 2010, looking for a larger home for their young family, the couple found a do-up in West Auckland which ticked plenty of boxes.
“We were instantly captivated by the garden which is surrounded by a variety of mature native trees,” explains Yuka. “It’s very private and tranquil, despite living so close to the city, and the well-established glass house was a wonderful bonus.”
The home is located on a quiet cul-de-sac in Avondale, just west of the city centre. With two young daughters, the peaceful street was a huge drawcard. “We immediately knew it would be a great environment for our girls to grow up in,” Yuka says. The house wasn’t in complete disrepair but certain areas were calling out for some serious TLC. Nothing substantial had been done to the interior since the house was built in 1969 – the laundry was dated and the small kitchen was anything but functional.
Tristan’s brother Nye, a builder by trade, project-managed the entire renovation and completed most of the structural work himself. Tristan was also very involved in the build, even as far as hand-crafting the concrete kitchen benchtops on site. Yuka was more involved in the interior design. With her strong creative streak and eye for detail, the end result is an eclectic mix of styles and eras cleverly tied together.
Yuka’s style secrets:
+ Keep it real (where you can) and don’t settle for faux materials.
+ Combine old with new. Fill your house with quality not quantity; that way it might just survive for generations.
+ Take your time when purchasing your furnishings – often less is more.
+ Put your back into it. Tristan made our concrete benchtops and they are always the first thing people comment on when they visit.
+ Use wood to create warmth.
Q&A with Yuka
Where have you saved money?
Making our own concrete benchtops saved us a truckload, and they look great.
The bathroom was the first thing we renovated and we kind of went to town on it.
From a bargain point of view, the Italian shower fittings we got at a small distribution warehouse sale were a great buy. But, although it’s not interior, we feel the best buy was the garden. We’re very lucky that it was so well considered long before we bought the house, with beautiful mature planting around the perimeter. It adds a lot to the house and gives us privacy. We think this is our house’s best attribute, and it would take 30 years to achieve if you were to do it yourself.
There were no real disasters, but lots of hard work and lack of sleep!
Best lesson learned?
You don’t need to spend a fortune to create a house you love being in.
$15,000 – Bathroom
$75,000 – Kitchen / Lounge /furniture
$10,000 – Garden / deck
$8,000 – Garage
$2,000 – Kids’ room
Words by: Annick Larkin. Photography by: Todd Eyre.