Although it isn't fair to call Anna Desbonnets a gunslinger, she is certainly well armed for creativity. The Waiheke Island interior designer is so fiercely attached to her hot glue gun, it featured prominently in her home renovation plans.
"My one wish was to have the hot glue gun plugged in permanently," she says. "To have a space here for it."
So chez Desbonnets now sports a purpose-built bench and adjacent power outlet for her favoured craft weapon. Not to mention providing a family home for Anna's winemaker husband Luc and the couple's children Olive, 11, Charlie, nine, and Alfie, four, as well as display space for the results of Anna's diverse artistic endeavours.
Aside from her framed paintings, decorative mosaic balls and hand-painted shoe lasts, that's her tapestry atop the ottoman. The button-strung lampshade in Olive's room is Anna's work too. She designed and made most of the cushions in the house and found scarves to frame and hang at the end of the hallway. In Anna's hands, an old handkerchief from the Good Hope charity store will become a miniature dress for one of the exquisitely detailed, leggy dolls she sells or gives away. Each tiny woman is decked in snippets of vintage fabric and flowers, then named, photographed and assigned a biography.
"I can stay up till midnight doing them," the Whitecliffe art school graduate says of her dolls. "I'm a craft-aholic. In our last house, I used to have the dining table covered with lace and paint and broken bits of china."
Her current dwelling now has dedicated storage and workspace for baskets and boxes of ribbons and buttons, fabrics, paints, thread and feathers.
Despite its "charmless, basic layout - a three-bedroom rectangle" when Anna and Luc bought it seven years ago, Luc could see potential in the north-facing slopes that spread out below the house and Anna knew she could turn the house into something lovely. The horse paddocks and bare land have given way to neat rows of grapes and a grove of 300 olive trees. A wetland area at the foot of their 5ha Frenchman's Hill Estate property has been cleared and laced with walkways.
These days, the Desbonnets' kitchen is stocked with home-produced honey and olive oil and this autumn there were figs and apples from their orchard.For the full story pick up a copy of the August issue, on sale June 17.