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A retro inspired house is the second Resene Colour Home Awards finalist

A magic moment over a glass of wine gave rise to this retro-styled home that uses moody greens, rich timber and pops of vivid orange to create a calm yet cosy vibe


A love of mid-century design and Mad Men inspired this Katikati new-build, which combines the style of the past with all the convenience of the modern era, a combination that was reached due to a slightly unconventional design process.

“Around two years ago we sat down in a hotel room in Taupo with a glass of wine and decided to play a game called ‘sketch your dream home on the back of a napkin’,” tells Rachel Sawyer, who owns the home with her partner Shane Wright. “The two homes were almost identical. So we decided we’d better build it, just for fun.”


It took a while to find the perfect location for their home, now dubbed ‘the Napkin House’, until the couple came across an overlooked section. “It was proving difficult to sell as the land was complicated to build on and wouldn’t have suited a family. We quickly realised it would be perfect for us,” says Rachel.

With plans in place and the build underway, it was soon time to choose a colour scheme. The Karen Walker Paints for Resene collection provided the perfect palette.

“Inspired by the Bauhaus school of the 1920s it combines colours from an emotional point of view rather than a technical one,” Rachel explains. “The range groups colours together in a way that tells a story rather than simply matching them tonally; perfect for our little retro home.”

Kitchen cupboards in Resene Clockwork Orange create a vivid contrast with Resene Smoky Green on the walls, and in the bathrooms a surprising detail awaits – orange grout in between the white tiles. Colour also reigns outside, with a vivid clementine front door teaming with Resene Half Smalt Blue.

The next big challenge? The landscaping. “With two acres to work with, there’s plenty to keep us busy,” says Rachel. “We want to extend the mid-century theme outdoors with sculptural elements and a formal garden. The rest will feature native planting to encourage birds, bees and anyone else who needs a home.”

More colours to try from the Resene fashion fandeck

Get your entries in by 15th December to be a finalist. Last chance to enter!

Win $5000

You could be one of five finalists to appear in Your Home and Garden and receive a $250 Resene paint voucher. The overall winner will be chosen from the final five, taking the Resene Colour Home Award title and winning $5000 in cash. An extended story on the winning home will feature in our April 2020 issue.

How to enter

Email photos and a 200-word description of your project to yhg@bauermedia.co.nz with your last name and ‘Resene Colour Home’ in the subject line. Please include your name, home address, daytime phone number, the names of the Resene colours used and details of when you painted your home. Please credit anyone who assisted you in choosing the colours.

What we’re looking for

  • Clever interior colour schemes
  • Exciting kids’ rooms
  • Amazing paint projects and features
  • Great use of colour in bedrooms
  • Interesting use of exterior colour

Terms & conditions

Instructions on how to enter are part of the conditions of entry. This competition is open to New Zealand residents, except employees of Bauer Media Group (LP), Resene, and their immediate families and agencies. The five finalists and overall winner will be notified by telephone and/or email. All projects are eligible for consideration for the Resene website. Any non-finalists selected for the Resene website will receive a free gift from Resene. Resene paints and colours are available from Resene ColorShops and resellers nationwide. Visit resene.co.nz or phone 0800 RESENE (737 363).

Words by: Sally Conor. Photography by: Alice Veysey.

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