From the Editor - November 2011
|Sally wears a vintage embroidered jacket.
Photographed by Jane Ussher; hair by Michael Kent; make-up by Kaitlin Chapman
My husband nick and I do a bit of tramping. Our photo albums are full of mist-filled ravines, filmy kidney ferns, swing bridges, rosy peaks at sunset. When I look at them I can’t help but feel proud of New Zealand.
But we’ve got other tramping pictures too. One of a drying rack, draped with woollen socks; several of mattresses scattered on ply sleeping platforms. Nick and I take these pictures of the domestic details in tramping huts because we’re entranced with the huts’ pared-down style – the way they distil the essence of a home (shelter, warmth, a place to sleep) in a few simple rooms. We dream that one day we might build a place of our own that echoes that simple elegance.
And that’s the difference between us and the Maunsell family. Because Bruce Maunsell and Melanie Barton didn’t just dream about building a hut-inspired home, they did it. They hired architects Mitchell & Stout, bought 22ha of rugged King Country land and created a simply stunning little place that has all the rustic charm of a back-country hut – plus lights, warmth and a good coffee machine. See it on page 52 of the magazine or click here
But the Maunsell family didn’t just build their house, they committed to it. They took the pared-down aesthetics on board and pared down the way they live: doing without curtains and carpets; minimising mod cons and ornamentation. “We try hard to remain true to the philosophy of the place,” says Bruce.
This sort of no-holds-barred commitment to a design philosophy is a common thread among the owners of the beautiful Kiwi homes in NZ House & Garden. Our owners decide on a look, carry it out brilliantly and keep working at it. Former Kiwi Alison Henry, whose dazzling London home (page 62 or click here
) is at the furthest end of the design spectrum from Bruce and Melanie’s place, is another example. Alison’s Chelsea Square townhouse is pale on pale, multi-layered, lavish. It glitters; it is glamorous. And it has white carpet despite the fact that there are four girls in the family who are prone to sloshing make-up around. That’s commitment.
Together, these six very different homes create an impressive line-up of Kiwi style, talent and commitment. When I look at them I can’t help but feel proud of New Zealand.
You’ll feel the same.
Story: Sally Duggan