From the outside, this renovated Auckland villa is indistinguish able from countless others. A small single bay house built in 1870, it presents a pleasant but unexceptional face to the street. As soon as you step inside though, any expectations of finding a typical villa interior disappear. With the help of interior designer Paula McIntosh, the owners have created a traditional look without any use of "villa style." There is no coloured glass, no expanses of natural kauri, no outcroppings of sand-blasted brick. "The changes to the house suit our needs perfectly," say the owners.
"Although it still has a traditional look, in some ways it now resembles a modern town house more than a villa. But it still gives us things we value, such as a proper garden." Having lived in a villa and an inner-city town house, the owners wanted their latest home to have a more contemporary look. Since a former owner had re-piled, re-wired and re moved internal walls in the 1970s, they were able to focus on giving the house a new character.
They began by removing the most obvious aspects of "villa style". The 1970s wallpaper and original scrim linings were stripped off and replaced by new plastered walls. This gives the interior a smooth, modern look. The extensive areas of natural kauri timber were painted over. The floors were given a light paint wash finish and the doors, skirting boards and cornices were painted white. Panes of 1970s-style cultured glass in the kauri doors were removed and replaced by clear beveled glass. A freestanding bare brick fireplace in the living room was plastered over and given a lime wash finish. Other changes included turning a small rear bedroom into a study. To enhance the feeling of space, a win¬dow was pushed out 1m and a win¬dow seat added.
The cramped 2m x 1.5m bath¬room off the hallway was gutted, given a more space-efficient design and finished with a crisp scheme of black and white tiles. The new colour scheme by Paula McIntosh plays an important role in creating the villa's new look. The living room walls, painted in Country Colours' Leura, set off a collection of antique furniture and kilim rugs. In the hallway, Country Colours' Hay gives visitors a feeling of welcome and warmth. "This renovation shows how you can create a traditional effect with¬out using a traditional style," says Paula McIntosh. "The changes respect the age of the house but are not over¬awed by it. The modern atmosphere they produce also complements the owners' lifestyle and tastes. "At the same time, the changes are really quite conservative. Most have been created with plaster and paint. When the owners decide to renovate again, they'll find it easy to create another new look."
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