Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"If you build it, they will come": My House Tour

I have been a frustrated Interior Designer for many years now. It all started when I was searching for ideas on how to build a window seat for our house in Australia. I stumbled across a little website called Apartment Therapy and I was hooked.

I visit AT nearly every day. I especially love looking at the house tours and seeing how people put their houses together with such creativity and style.

I have always wanted my house featured on Apartment Therapy, and one of the first things I put on my Life List was #13: "Have my home appear on Apartment Therapy or similar".

So this post is my Field of Dreams moment: "If you build it, they will come".

These are the original plans to the house which I found in the Wellington City Archives... I would love to know more about Lily Coombe, the original owner of the house

Our Dream House
When we lived in Australia we owned a town house that was quite new. We loved decorating it, but I always dreamt of owning a house that had much more character and wasn't so 'un-original'.

We moved from Australia to New Zealand because my husband was offered an amazing job which we couldn't pass up. We somehow went from renting a little 1970's Town House to owning our very own Bungalow in a matter of months. It really is the Dream House we could NEVER have afforded back in Sydney.

We have been living in our 'Dream House' house here in Wellington for just over 1 year now. It is a bungalow that was built in 1930. A lot of the architectural features have been kept, like the original stain glass windows and Carrara ceilings that are very typical to houses here in Wellington.

Although the bungalow had been renovated before we bought it, the previous owners seemed to have taken the 'easy' option on a few of the updates.They didn't bother updating what we feel are important things like the electrics (a lot of the house still had the original 1930 wiring) or having the house insulated. The poor tenants who lived in this house before we bought it must have been very very cold during the cold New Zealand winters.

The house still needs some work and I need to learn how to take better photos, but here is my very own House Tour.

The Living Area

In the plans you can see that originally the Living Room was separated into 2 separate rooms. We assume that you could close the doors and stay in the room with the Fireplace and keep warm. However by opening up the rooms it created a much bigger living area.

I have a love/hate relationship with the fireplace. From what we can tell, it is the original fireplace to the house. But I just don't like it. I don't like the poo brown tiles or the gold tiles they used to 'bling' it up (an original feature). I have always wanted a fireplace similar to Anna's at Door 16. But I am learning to love this one.

Prints from Society 6 and She Hit Pause
At the moment the TV area needs a bit more love. The TV unit is not exactly what we want and it needs some more art above the TV so the TV doesn't dominate the area so much, but it will do for now.
I love my print from James Jean - it has always reminded me of Windy Wellington
When we were viewing the house the real estate agent described the house as being 'Light Challenged".

The lack of light was really an issue and we had to think long and hard if this would be a deal breaker. But we decided that we hopefully could install skylights and fix the issue.

So the week we moved in, we installed some really amazing Sky Tunnels. We had originally only wanted to install two of these above the Fireplace, which was the darkest part of the house. However the skylight man recommended we add another one in the main lounge area and we never have regretted the decision to do so.

Although we don't get the abundance of light that we would like, you wouldn't describe the house as necessarily 'light challenged' anymore.

We only recently moved the 'study' from the dining room area to near the fireplace. We love this new little nook.

These are my Jam Fancy prints. I think of them as portraits of 'husband', my sister and I.
The burglar is husband, I am Rose Red and my sister is Snow White.

My DIY Piano Stool
I very proud of my DIY piano stool. I found it for $30 at a second hand store in Wellington. I reupholstered it myself using material I found at Spotlight for $10. Hey presto we have a new laptop stool.

The Master Bedroom

Our bedroom is probably my most favourite place in our home.

I love waking up in the mornings, opening up the curtains and looking at the mountains and seeing the boats and ferries sail by.

Our new 'walk in wardrobe'
When we bought the house, the main bedroom for some reason had no wardrobe and had a hole in the gap where the previous owners had something hanging to hide the clothes from view. So the first night we moved we went to Bunnings (for not the last time) and bought a new wardrobe system and installed it that very night.

This is how the bed head originally looked
However the gaping hole was still there. We solved this by installing some tongue and groove boards and creating a mini walk-in wardrobe behind it. 

We have really struggled with finding the right art work for this house. Given this house may not be our forever house and we probably will move back to Australia eventually we don't want to buy more art work to add to the works we have already stored in Australia.

Instead of buying more art work for the bedroom to put above our bed we decided to use Origrami  and print my Instagram photos out. These are the photos of our past year of living here in Wellington. It is a cheap and easily changeable solution. We love it.

The Kitchen

The kitchen was renovated when we moved in. But it had no range hood and the tiles and splash back was just plain old ugly.

So using the advice from Door 16 and Manhattan Nest we tackled our very own Subway Tile kitchen renovation.

The ugly tiles and no range hood in the kitchen when we bought it
 We are quite happy with the transformation.

This wallpaper is another part of the house that I have a love/hate relationship with.
I don't know whether to rip it down or leave it?

We put these shelves up ourselves, as this house has a BIG problem with storage. So the more spaces we can put our things on or in (especially in the kitchen) the better.

The Dining Room

In the original house plans this room was called the Breakfast Room and it was closed off from the 'Kitchenette'. However when the house was renovated the kitchen and dining room was opened up into one big space. This is such a great space especially in the mornings, when the morning light steams in. I am so happy that we moved the smaller sofa in this room. It has also become Ziggy's favourite part of the hose.

Ziggy has taken up ownership

 What the house looked like before
How the house looked in the real estate sales brochure... it was very brown

I hope you liked our House Tour?

All images by Zahara Dessert
Except for the before photos of the house - they were from our Real Estate agency


  1. Wow, amazing transformation. Beautiful house and I'm loving your new lights in the kitchen! Ooh la la...


Thanks for visiting. Comments are very much appreciated!