With its relaxed, tropical vibe, this apartment feels a world away from its inner-city Auckland location. Take a tour and use these expert tips to make your own indoor jungle
Meet and greet
Ron Goh, digital designer, and Matthew O’Brien, customer care manager, plus Ninny the chihuahua and Teddy the miniature schnauzer.
This cool loft apartment will make you want to fill your home with plants
Best lessons learned when it comes to decorating?
Ron: Don’t rush to buy your furniture. Wait for something you really want. It takes time. When we first moved in, we went out to buy a house lot of furniture all at once. After it was all in place, I realised we could have used less money to buy better quality, used pieces with more character than going for brand new.
Any DIY disasters?
So far, we haven’t done any DIY here that has turned out to be a disaster.
One thing you would change about your home if you could?
Increase the number of rooms!
What have you changed in the apartment?
The only things we have changed are the gas hob and oven as the previous ones weren’t working very well. We’ve also polished up the stainless-steel benchtop. At the moment we are on a budget and saving up to do something big.
How have you divided up the space in the apartment?
Our living and dining area is open-plan. I’ve tried to divide these two spaces using furniture and plants in order to give each area a different feel. I love how spacious and sunny our living area is.
What plans do you have for your home?
We have two balconies but one is more of a rooftop terrace. We use the small balcony sometimes but hardly ever use the terrace because it’s too cold and windy, especially during winter. We are thinking about how we could enhance these outdoor areas by putting in some protection from the elements; that way, we could have our friends and family over more easily.
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Ron’s plant tips
- Know the light and dark spots of your place. Is it filtered or direct light? For how many hours a day? Different plants do better with different types and lengths of sunlight exposure. Read the little cards that come with the plants – they are actually really important!
- Unless you know your plants like it, keep them out of direct sunlight. Most indoor plants only like filtered sun. Strong light can burn the leaves, especially new growth.
- When the air is dry during winter, misting is important. Humidity is another variable which changes throughout the year, and can either help or harm your plants. Make sure you take note of what conditions your plant enjoys. If it needs a more humid environment, fill the saucer underneath the pot with pebbles, top it up with water and then place the pot back on top. Rinse and change the water often.
- Don’t overwater your plants. I only water my plants once a week unless it’s hot and dry. Keep the potting mix moist but not wet. Again, different plants like different amounts of water – read up! Some plants enjoy frequent watering but hate wet roots. Ensure water can drain out of the pots.
- Dust your plants every one or two months, or when you notice the leaves aren’t glossy. Dust will block the sunlight and slow down photosynthesis. Plants also don’t look healthy or cared for if they’re grubby. Leaf shine spray is a good investment if you want them looking great.
- Try to keep your plants out of reach of kids. This limits damage, of course, but the most important thing to be aware of is that many houseplants are poisonous. Look it up if you’re unsure.
Words and styling by: Tina Stephen. Photography by: Helen Bankers.