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A new Mt Maunganui home celebrates this family’s playful interior style

Close to Mt Maunganui’s beaches and bustle, this family’s newly built home is filled with an intriguing mix of op-shop finds and high-end pieces

Meet and greet

Jake Pyne, managing director of clothing company You Know We Ain’t Ltd, Stacey Pyne, full-time mum, Milla, 13, Hayes, 11, and Ari, 9, plus Mickey the puppy.

A new Mt Maunganui home celebrates this family’s playful interior style

When visitors arrive at the home of Stacey and Jake Pyne and their three children, they are presented not with a doorbell but a mini xylophone upon which to announce their arrival. This is the first hint that the household within thinks and acts a little differently to the norm, and this certainly includes their way with interior design.

“I love all sorts of different bits and pieces – I’m not sure exactly what my style is!” says Stacey. “I’m an avid collector and love to op-shop, though I’m trying not to do as much any more. I also enjoy Kmart. Jake loves fishing, so we have a lot of fishing-related stuff, too.” The result is an eclectic home, with almost the feel of a modern museum; one can’t help but be drawn to each intriguing piece, and charmed by the overall effect.

Snap decision 

It was in fact Stacey’s bowerbird tendencies which led the family to this home three years ago – just when they’d finished a large renovation of their previous home and had absolutely no intention of moving. Sometimes, though, the path to the perfect home is not what we expect. In this case, the Pynes instantly fell in love with the new house, snapping it up and moving in within a matter of weeks.

Now living closer to downtown Mount Maunganui than before, the Pynes’ lifestyle revolves around the bustling village and the beach. Daughter Milla, 13, takes new puppy Mickey on daily walks, and her brothers – Hayes, 11, and Ari, 9 – meet up with friends after school on their bikes or go down to the beach for a surf. “We love the location. Being able to walk into town for coffee or dinner and to the beach is so good,” says Stacey.

Just right

The house was a year old when the Pynes bought it, but it seems fortuitously designed with them in mind. The living area opens onto a sprawling backyard fringed with pohutukawa and perfect for hut building and hide and seek – all it needed was a half-pipe (one has now been installed) for neighbourhood skate sessions. The inside has plenty of room for a family of five and there’s even a cleverly converted garage – concealed behind a cavity slider at the end of the living room – where the kids can escape to watch TV and Jake can display and store his fishing paraphernalia.

There are no windows in there either, so it’s like a mini theatre for the kids. They turn the TV and heat pump on and love it!” says Stacey. “The house works really well for our family, and it’s great not having a TV in the main space.”

Make it quirk

The ground level is immediately welcoming with high ceilings, wall-to-wall glazing, honey-toned wooden flooring and a central flight of stairs leading to the upper level. With the kitchen cleverly set back from the main living space, the view extends all the way from here, past the dining room and out to the garden. “This is my favourite space in the house,” says Stacey. “The view of the backyard is lovely to look at while cooking dinner.”

Above the dining table hangs an impressive pendant: a giant, Dr Seuss-like, black-and-white-striped knot, snapped up in Amsterdam on a recent family trip and shipped home. It is certainly a conversation piece and typifies the Pynes’ delight in the unusual.

Other quirky objects, including a pink piggy lamp, can be found in the kitchen, which lends itself to display. Here, industrial-sized floating shelves are laden with plants and treasures, while everyday clutter is tucked away in an adjacent butler’s pantry.

Bedrooms

The cosy second storey contains five bedrooms, with the kids’ and parents’ spaces separated by a landing. The master bedroom opens to the north via huge floor-to-ceiling windows, the view literally floating above the back garden. “It’s beautiful upstairs, surrounded by trees. It feels a bit like being in a treehouse,” says Stacey.

Crisp white linen and bespoke ply furniture create a light, pared-back aesthetic that extends to a simple black and white ensuite complete with industrial mirror and windows which peek at the sky.

In the kid’s rooms, each personality shines through: Milla’s love of vintage patterns and colours, Hayes’ giant surf posters (repurposed from surf-shop displays) and Ari’s penchant for collecting trinkets and toys.

New direction

Faced with the clean canvas of an almost brand-new house, the Pynes have created a home where every element has been added with care, each piece with a story to tell. Stacey admits that this new home has inspired her to look at interiors differently.

“I am a collector by nature, but when I moved here I was determined to embrace a calmer and less cluttered lifestyle.” For a life-long magpie, quashing these instincts may have proved difficult for Stacey, but the home doesn’t feel contrived or controlled, just the opposite. While the interior is very grown up, there is a sense of playfulness where objects are not treated as mere possessions, but as memory keepers and storytellers.

In the pipeline

Although the house and garden are only a few years old, there is still room for improvement, and plans are under way to develop the outdoor living area so it can be used all year round. This will open up even more entertainment possibilities for the sociable Pynes. Last year the family hosted a wonderful gathering which was part house-warming, part send-off. “We had a big house party before taking the kids overseas for five months. It was so fun,” recalls Stacey. “Our house works well with a lot of people and we had dancing in the TV room. It was great!”

Text and styling by: Tina Stephen. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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