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a labour of love

From Habitat magazine - issue 32, feature house

Hard work pays off in spades for a charming Waiuku farmhouse.

Happy owners

It was love at first sight for Jane and Pim when they came across a century old villa in 2015. Despite being able to see clear through the weatherboards and into the house in some spots, the couple could also see the potential that the old Waiuku farmhouse held for becoming a beautiful place to call home. The two decided to take the bull by the horns and committed to bringing it back to life through a total restoration.

While there was a considerable amount of work needed to bring the property up to snuff, the pair approached the project with the right attitude: sympathy for the home's original design and a desire to restore its charming authentic features – with the addition of a few important creature comforts, of course, such as insulation and a dishwasher.

Slowly but surely, Jane and Pim spent the better part of the last four and a half years putting in the time, patience and elbow grease needed to bring the diamond out of the rough and return the farmhouse to its full glory. Jane is a visual artist who specialises in painting insects and illustrating children's books while Pim is a draughtsman and surf instructor, which allowed both to work primarily from home and cross tasks off their lengthy to-do list bit by bit.

Entryway in bold colour and stained glass
The walls of Jane and Pim's living room are painted in Resene Cab Sav – a sumptuous red brown evocative of its namesake – to complement the restored stained glass door. It's paired with wide skirting boards in Resene Quarter Villa White.

"We wanted to embrace the age of the house, and we had to do it on a very tight budget," says Jane. "All of the furniture is secondhand apart from the beds, and we decided to leave the rooms as separate areas when others might have converted them to an open plan."

With the intention of staying put for the long haul, the couple decided to be bold with their colour choices to put their stamp on the home and make it their own. Jane says that the annual habitat by Resene calendar definitely influenced a number of her design ideas, inspiring a diverse palette full of character. To unify their colour choices, each room is trimmed in either Resene Quarter Villa White or native wood.

Top tip: Minimise fly spots on ceilings with Resene Fly Deterrent. Designed to discourage flies from sitting on the painted surface, it reduces the appearance of unwanted fly spots and is especially helpful for high ceilings like this.

Lounge with dark cab sav wall
Living room: The incredible living room ceiling features battens, crown moulding and a medallion in Resene Quarter Villa White, providing a lift to the deep and rich Resene Cab Sav walls.  Hallway: The hallway walls and ceiling were kept neutral in warm Resene Half Wheatfield to respect the sight lines between different spaces and provide a neutral backdrop for art.

"I love the character we have created in each separate space," she says. "It feels as if each room has its own personality."

"The only 'room' we wanted to keep somewhat neutral was the massive hallway so that it can also be used to exhibit paintings." It led them to choose Resene Half Wheatfield, a bleached bone white that's both warm and soft – making for the ideal backdrop. This decision also benefitted sight lines when looking in and out of rooms to and from the hallway, as the hue works well with each of their wall colour selections.

Master bedroom
Master bedroom: The walls of the master bedroom are painted in a quarter strength of Resene Nebula and trimmed in Resene Quarter Villa White. The feature wall (left) is in Resene Wallpaper Collection Z4153 (this design is from an older collection; try Resene Wallpaper Collection WM2565 or 36898-5 for a current alternative). Through the doorway, the bathroom walls are in Resene Half Pale Rose with ceiling, panelling and architravesin Resene Quarter Villa White and a tub in Resene Pale Prim.  Guest bedroom: The guest bedroom looks especially restful and relaxing in a half strength of Resene Nebula. Architraves and skirting boards in Resene Quarter Villa White frame sweeping views of the surrounding farmland – a colour which was also used on the ceiling and crown moulding.  Alternative looks - softly does it | a clean slate

Jane says that the design for the living room was inspired by a private men's smoking lounge. It features plenty of rich textures, including a vintage velvet sofa, an ornate rug as well as an antique desk and card cabinet. Their artful antiques are complemented by Resene Cab Sav on the walls, a colour that ties exquisitely into the stunning stained glass door which Pim and Jane rescued from a rubbish heap left behind by previous tenants.

The dining room and kitchen are Jane and Pim's main socialising areas and the couple wanted them to feel cosy and relaxed while embracing the original farmhouse character.

"We must have tested out about fifty shades of green on the walls before we decided on Resene Norway for both rooms," laughs Jane.

Resene Norway was the green for the dining room
After testing out a range of Resene greens, Jane and Pim decided on Resene Norway for the walls of their dining room. The ceiling and trims are in Resene Quarter Villa White.
Green dining room
Green kitchen
Resene Norway was carried from the dining area into the farmhouse kitchen, which is complemented with trims, ceilings and cabinetry in warm Resene Quarter Villa White.

The master bedroom has a feature wall in Resene Wallpaper Collection Z4153 (this design is from an older wallpaper collection; for a current alternative, try Resene Wallpaper Collection WM2565 or 36898-5) alongside a quarter strength of Resene Nebula, a hue which was also used in half strength in the guest bedroom, while the laundry and second bathroom have been almost entirely collaged in old newspaper articles and advertisements the pair have collected over the years. Jane's art studio is in Resene Quarter Villa White with panelling in Resene Pale Prim, creating a bright and sunny atmosphere for her to paint in.

On the outside of the house, Jane and Pim chose Resene Jet Stream for their weatherboards, which has since become their favourite colour.

"Being surrounded by broad skies up on a hill, it felt like a seamless colour to fit in with the area," Jane explains.

In keeping with the classic villa style, the cladding is complemented by the front door and accents in Resene Destiny and trims, lacework, railings and flashings in aptly named Resene Quarter Villa White.

Home exterior: Looking at it now, it's hard to believe that Jane and Pim's Waiuku farmhouse villa is a century old. Resene Jet Stream was used on the weatherboards while the door and the vertical boards that surround the base of the house are in Resene Destiny. The trims, lacework, flashing and railings are all in Resene Quarter Villa White. Lounge: Jane and Pim share their gorgeously restored home with Darcy the cat, and Sully and Danny the rescue dogs. Inside, the walls are painted Resene Cab Sav. Outside, the weatherboards are painted Resene Jet Stream. Both are trimmed with Resene Quarter Villa White.

Despite uncovering a number of surprises along their journey, Jane found being without a kitchen for several months, after the discovery of asbestos in the linoleum, was the toughest challenge they faced during their impressive renovation. But in the long run, she's glad it's been sorted. The countless hours she and Pim spent sanding to peel back the aged finishes throughout the home, while exhausting, were also worth it to get the perfect paint finish.

For Pim, the hardest part was making a start with only a little building experience under his belt and becoming aware of the increasing size of the project as new jobs piled up each time they opened a new 'Pandora's box'. Waiuku's tightly knit community were an important part of getting the job done. "We were lucky to learn many skills, such as plastering and replacing weatherboards, from local builders and handy people," he says.

For others embarking on a renovation, Jane suggests doing what you love and having fun with it. "Don't worry about what other people think," she says – and we couldn't agree more.

images: Jessica Gerna

Paint it right

Choose the right Resene colours and paints for the job.

Prep it properly: Just like Jane said, putting in the work to prepare surfaces prior to painting is well worth the effort to get a quality finish. Once old paint and wallpaper have been removed and holes have been repaired, seal any old stained plasterboard with Resene Sureseal.


Dresser detail

Style tip: Many of Jane and Pim's colour choices were inspired by their beautiful surroundings. Try bringing the outside in with these earthy hues .

A velvety finish: Dark coloured walls look particularly impressive in Resene SpaceCote Flat, which reflects less light and creates a soft, velvety finish on interior walls. Remember to check your lighting as it may also need to be adjusted or redirected for your dramatic colour to work its magic. For a more cocooning effect, continue your wall colour onto your ceiling.

Alternative solution – softly does it

A nursery that grows with your child

Designers Emma Adkins and Georgia Hay suggest this alternative scheme:


Our key design tip to transform a spare bedroom into a timeless nursery is to retain a subtle classic influence with a pared-back colour palette as a base accented with saturated colours through easily replaced décor and accessories. Rather than creating a stereotypical 'feature wall', we have introduced a dado line and selected a youthful yet sophisticated wallpaper, Resene Wallpaper Collection SMIL69819001, combined with the subtle tone of Resene Blanched Pink and accessorised with burnt orange. Running curtain fabric from floor to ceiling is a commonly-used designer secret to visually increase window heights and create the illusion of a bigger space. By staining the floor in Resene Colorwood Touch Wood, we have created harmony between the warm oak furnishings and the cool grey tones found within the wallpaper design. To finalise the space, we have softened it by adding texture and tactility through a chunky woollen rug and a unique handmade felt pendant lamp.

Phone: 09 869 8048  Web:

Childrens nursery
Emma and Georgia's design combines the beauty of simplicity with plenty of attention to details like texture and colour for a restful looking nursery full of warmth. Upper walls in Resene Blanched Pink, ceiling, trims, dado and skirting boards in Resene White Linen, lower walls in Resene Wallpaper Collection SMIL69819001 and floor in Resene Colorwood Touch Wood timber stain. Rocking chair from Freedom Furniture, cot from Nature Baby, rug and sheepskin from Furtex, changing table/dresser from Global Baby, throw, cushion, cot bedding and fox toy from Città. illustration: Malcolm White.

Top tip: Remember most wallpaper designs are only available for sale for 2-3 years, sometimes shorter, so if you are planning to use the same wallpaper in multiple places or on a big project always make sure you have enough when you start the project. It often pays to buy an extra roll, in case you need a little more later.

Chester Linen Cushion
Chester Linen Cushion Cover, from Città.
Evie Rocking Chair
Evie Rocking Chair, from Freedom Furniture.
MacKenzie Rug
MacKenzie Rug in White Straw, from Furtex.
Muskhane Lamp Shade
Muskhane Lamp Shade, from Tea Pea Home.
Kalon Caravan Cot
Kalon Caravan Cot, from Nature Baby.

Alternative solution – a clean slate

Dark slate blue redefines a home office space

Designer Deanna Hills suggests this alternative scheme:


I created this modern, mid-century style office as somewhere to reflect and let creativity flow. A full wall of shelving has been designed around the gorgeous heritage windows, which are the room's key feature. There is also a ceiling-mounted sheer curtain, which can be pulled across to soften the room and hide belongings. The deep, rich tone of Resene Dark Slate for the wall and shelving, mixed with oak timber textures in the desk and chair, gives this room a modern and sophisticated look. The walls and concrete floor, both painted in Resene Sea Fog, soften and offset the rest of the room nicely.

Phone: 027 845 3149  Web:

Deanna used Resene Dark Slate to bring character to this home office, taking the colour on to the window frames and shelves to make them a part of this striking feature. The rest of the trims and ceiling are in Resene Alabaster, the right wall and floor are in Resene Sea Fog and the desk top is stained in Resene Colorwood Limed Oak timber stain. Pendant lamp, marble dish and pencil cups from Città, artwork by Maiko Nagao, candle holders from Tim Webber Design, bulb vase, bookends and top from Capricho and glass jewellery box from Kmart.  illustration: Malcolm White.

Top tip: Different gloss levels will affect how your paint colour looks. Flat or matt finishes, like Resene SpaceCote Flat, absorb light and make the colour look darker and earthier, whereas semi-gloss or gloss finishes reflect the light and make the colour appear brighter and lighter.

Elbow Chair
Elbow Chair in Natural Oak, from Furniture by Design.
Studio Roller in White
Studio Roller in White, from George & Willy.
Laconia Air Silver Curtains
Laconia Air Silver Curtains, from James Dunlop Textiles.
Large Martinique Baskets
Large Martinique Baskets, from Early Settler.
AB Pendant Light
AB Pendant Light in Frosted Clear, from Citta.

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