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dynamic duo

From habitat magazine - issue 35, kitchens

The creative duo behind Bye Bye Love creates beautiful furniture together, but their home kitchen styles couldn’t be more different.

Fake it until you make it

One half of the Bye Bye Love duo, Jeanine Oxenius, has created a kitchen with an industrial feel, featuring ‘concrete’ walls and a kitchen counter painted by her own hand.

After building a house with poured concrete exterior walls, only one décor decision made sense to Jeanine Oxenius – matching concrete interior walls. She knew the materials to reach for, but they had very little to do with solid concrete. Jeanine found an outer cladding material – 9mm-thick fibre cement board, which has the texture of concrete – and set about creating a similar effect for her internal walls.

A modern concrete kitchen

Jeanine’s concrete creativity on the walls and kitchen bench was achieved with a basecoat of Resene Truffle, followed by Resene Stack, Resene Double Stack, Resene All Black and Resene Haystack.

“I’m an artist, so I know how to fake stuff – how to make it look a certain way. I set up a painting area in my studio, which is where Heike and I run our furniture upcycling business, Bye Bye Love, and I hand-painted sheets of the cladding to mimic concrete. We then fixed them to the walls instead of the usual plasterboard. Nearly all the interior walls in my house are now ‘concrete’.”

Jeanine began by rolling on a base colour of Resene Truffle. She then experimented with various colours to find a combination that most looked like concrete, settling on Resene Stack, Resene Double Stack, Resene All Black and Resene Haystack. Even the kitchen counter got a splash of the concrete treatment, as did her deck outside. (The earthy colours are a far cry from Jeanine’s favourite colour, Resene Scrumptious.)

“I did have a lot of fun doing it – at least in the beginning. It was a big job, but I love it. I basically treated my house as a huge work of art – it’s certainly the biggest I’ve ever done,” says Jeanine.

An artistic sideboard

Bye Bye Love founders

Sideboard: Jeanine Oxenius’ artistic prowess extends to the art on the walls and the furniture. The sideboard is a Bye Bye Love original – co-created with her business partner, Heike Rzehulek-Schmitt – featuring their Riverbed design. The piece is painted in Resene Gunmetal on its body. The Riverbed design is in Resene Gunmetal, Resene Grey Friars, Resene Atomic, Resene Stack, Resene Tana and Resene Rice Cake. The faux concrete walls are Resene Truffle, followed by Resene Stack, Resene Double Stack, Resene All Black and Resene Haystack.  Founding duo: Bye Bye Love founders Heike Rzehulek-Schmitt (left) and Jeanine Oxenius (right).

Beside the seaside

Making up the other half of Bye Bye Love, Heike Rzehulek-Schmitt’s own kitchen is cool yet cosy, awash in her favourite colour – Resene Sea Nymph.

Heike Rzehulek-Schmitt’s kitchen has 25 cabinet doors. She knows because she’s sanded back and painted every single one of them. When she moved into her new home, the kitchen-living room area was the darkest room in the house. “It’s not the sunny side, so I knew it would be the first thing we renovated,” Heike says.

Her main task was to add colour – in particular, Heike’s favourite, Resene Sea Nymph. “I love colours that reflect nature, and I have always loved light blue, so I removed all the doors to paint them.” That’s not as easy as it sounds, as each door had to be sanded to a perfectly smooth surface before painting.

A kitchen with a utensils mural

Heike painted the lower cupboards in Resene Sea Nymph and the upper in Resene Mako, hand-painting on utensils in Resene Sea Nymph. The walls are in Resene Half Sea Fog and Resene Aquaclear protects the timber floor.

Top tip: The Resene Kitchen & Bathroom range is ideal for kitchens and wet areas as it has enamel-style toughness, anti-bacterial silver and MoulDefender for added protection and is easy to clean.

“At Bye Bye Love, we say 150 per cent of what we do is preparation. For each door, I used a wood filler to smooth out the gaps in the Melamine and repair the damage to the edges after years of use. Then I spent ages sanding, especially the edges, to get it all perfectly smooth. I applied Resene Quick Dry primer undercoat to both sides of the door and then painted a layer of Resene Sea Nymph. Using very fine sandpaper, I sanded the paint carefully to make it perfectly smooth before applying a final layer. It’s deliciously smooth – like soap.”

To complement the Resene Sea Nymph, Heike applied Resene Mako to the upper cupboards. She then painted in kitchen utensils freehand using Resene Sea Nymph. “It’s the first thing visitors notice. It’s fun, and I love how it’s turned out.”

A dining room with a whitewashed table

The dining room table was constructed from old beams discovered under the house and painted in watered-down Resene Sea Fog to create a whitewashed effect. Heike and her husband, Harald, painted the artworks, although Heike points out she did the champagne – her favourite drink. The walls are Resene Half Sea Fog and the loom chairs are painted in Resene Sea Nymph and Resene Rice Cake to match the kitchen.

Once dry, Heike refixed the cupboard handles, as they’re comfortable to use and very similar to what she would have picked. It also aligns with Bye Bye Love’s ethos of reusing items.

After a coat of Resene Quick Dry primer undercoat, the loom chairs in the dining room were also painted – two in Resene Sea Nymph and two in Resene Rice Cake – with no sanding necessary, thankfully.

DIY concrete

Jeanine began by rolling a basecoat of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom tinted to Resene Truffle over fibre cement boards, which already had a concrete texture to create the look. To other surfaces, such as her MDF doors, she applied texture to create the feel of concrete before the base colour. Then, after various experiments, she used sponges, her fingers and a metal pot scrubber to flick, dot and dab Resene Stack, Resene Double Stack, Resene All Black and Resene Haystack over the base colour.

Upcycling queens

German-born Jeanine Oxenius and Heike Rzehulek-Schmitt met in 2015 and the two quickly became friends and then business partners, combining their various artistic skills to restore furniture that’s seen better days – or ‘sleeping beauties’ in Bye Bye Love-speak – into different and beautiful pieces. Their kitchens illustrate their very different aesthetics. “I’m all about clean lines and bold, contrasting colours where design overrides function,” says Jeanine. “Whereas I like colours that reflect nature and am generally more restrained,” adds Heike.

Find Bye Bye Love at

Words: Lee-Anne Duncan
Images: Bye Bye Love


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