This family found exactly what they were looking for in a Rangiora new-build, but the only thing missing was their personal style – and a very special new addition
Meet and greet
Lee Sinclair, owner and designer of Cloud Nine Creative, Peter Butcher, painter and plasterer, and Jack, 1, plus Mouse the cat.
This Rangiora new-build is designed so well you could mistake it for a villa
There is a mantra at Cloud Nine Creative: design with honesty, thoughtfulness and a feelgood factor. When entering Cloud Nine designer Lee Sinclair’s home in Rangiora – which she shares with partner Peter Butcher and their baby son, Jack – it is clear this philosophy applies not only to her business but her home, too.
After a year of fruitless searching for the perfect character home, Lee and Peter found a new-build with all the trappings of a villa but without the drawbacks of older homes.
“I was particularly drawn to villas, with their unique character and timeless style,” remembers Lee. “Unfortunately all the ones we viewed were either too small, built the wrong way around, lacked sun or needed major attention. When this one appeared, we were immediately attracted to it.”
Built by Mike Greer Homes, the house has the characteristics of a classic villa while also being a warm, dry and low-maintenance family home. “It gets a ton of sun which is super-important to us. It is beautifully warm in winter and has great indoor-outdoor flow,” says Lee. “The higher ceiling gives it a grand feel, and the beautifully thought-out kitchen, with plenty of hidden storage, is the heart of the home.”
Nestled within the thriving community of Rangiora, the house is a hop and a skip to Lee’s childhood home, and the Sinclair-Butchers are surrounded by family and friends. “There’s a great community feel here,” says Lee.
In September 2015, with keys in hand and all the hard work done by the previous owners, Lee and Peter moved in. Their redecoration plan reflected Lee’s love of natural colours, shapes and textures.
“One thing that has always been a constant is my love of nature,” she says. “Most of my Cloud Nine designs have been inspired by the outdoors. Flowers, birds, feathers and trees all tend to feature heavily in my work.”
The couple set about removing some of the original wallpaper and replaced it with a neutral yet striking colour palette. Warm beige is punctuated by dramatic dark tones in the lounge and master bedroom.
“I love the master bedroom, which has recently been painted in a dark shade of inky navy blue,” says Lee. “The peacock headboard was always going to be a feature and was purchased online, along with a matching chair from Trade Me which I painted white to contrast with the navy. I’ve also added lots of greenery, which really pops against the dark walls, and I collected woven trays and hung them together to create an art feature.”
The home was swiftly transformed thanks to Lee’s confidence with colour and design, and Peter’s handyman skills. Practical elements such as extra storage space and built-in furniture were designed by the couple, and Lee found she had the space to create a home studio, which has proved essential with a new baby.
“I work from my little home studio/converted bedroom,” says Lee. “It is within earshot of Jack’s room when he is napping and is perfect for a quick design or admin session. I’ve kept it light and bright, and Pete painted the entire wall with magnetic paint so I can pin up current collections, inspiration or anything I please.”
The studio is full to the brim with evidence of Lee’s magpie instincts, with collections of jewels, beads and craft supplies adorning the walls and shelves. Folding doors can be opened during the day to take full advantage of the sun. “It’s the sunniest spot in the house; it’s my special place,” says Lee.
Inspired by art
One of Lee’s favourite pieces in the house is a large, framed protea artwork, which takes pride of place in the entranceway. This image originates from a photograph taken by Lee and is part of her Cloud Nine collection of art prints. “It’s big, bold and the first thing people see when they enter the house,” she says.
Another of her artworks will provide inspiration when it comes to redecorating the guest room. “I’m basing it around my latest Cloud Nine print of a floral wreath, which I intend to reproduce on a grand scale,” Lee says. The print’s tones of sage green and soft pink will be used in the scheme, complemented by rattan furniture.
The design of Jack’s room took on special significance for Lee and Peter as his homecoming from hospital in June last year was a cherished moment that will always be linked to their new home. Jack’s room has a pared-back aesthetic but is far from stark, with soft greys punctuated by woodland-themed decor.
“We knew we were having a little boy but I wanted to make it a really neutral room that we could update as he got older,” says Lee. “My vision was to stick with a natural, woodland theme, which was originally inspired by a pack of hand-painted illustrations by talented artist Nathalie Lété, which I purchased some years ago.”
Against a backdrop of Resene ‘Thorndon Cream’ Lee added furniture basics from Mocka, vintage finds and handmade trinkets. Personal touches include a hand-illustrated artwork by Lee and her own hand-knitted baby blanket. “The room is peaceful and calming and a nice cosy area to play and read books in,” she says.
Finding a home in near perfect condition meant that Lee and Peter were free to simply redecorate it to suit themselves. The house is evidence that with some great styling, a clever eye and a few creative ideas, you can create a personalised family home without the expense of a full renovation.
Words by: Tina Stephen. Photography by: Kate Claridge.