My talented friend, Alison, lived an expat life across Auckland, Tokyo and London for 10 years.
Alison transformed an original beachside shack in Australia, through a rebuild over 18 months and completely transformed their house by the sea. The new home is dressed in a palette composed mostly in white, grey and brown with carefully selected touches of colour. There are so many special details in each space - aged brass hardware on the doors and locks so they won't rust (apparently specially treated in a sewer!), Moroccan tiles in the bathrooms, dark grey caesarstone benches and the outdoor fire.
The house is used to entertain family and friends and the kitchen was considered a key area and took up a large portion of the budget. Appliances, zip taps, cool rooms and ice makers were installed with entertaining in mind.
Alison didn't allocate a large portion of her budget on furniture, instead investing in joinery. In order to keep the atmosphere relaxed and simple, she used loose slipcovers on the sofa & choose key accessories to create a big impact.
A slim Aerin photograph disguises a sliding panel with a TV enclosed.
The entertaining deck was widened and incorporated a serving area on the side of the kitchen. This provided a multi purpose for serving and also an alternative spot to eat, favoured by the younger guests. The widened deck was divided between an open air dining area and covered outdoor seating with fireplace.
Alison kindly shared her entertaining tips.
"I am a very relaxed entertainer - I like spontaneous informal occasions so given time is of the essence, I usually pick flowers or herbs from the garden and put them in votives on the table."
"There is always plenty of food - the children always insist on daphenois potatoes but I insist they have to peel the potatoes themselves otherwise no!"
"My favourite recipe for a larger group is a recipe from renowned chef Tetsuya - sear a thick steak on the BBQ, oven cook it slowly for 3 hours at 90 degrees and serve with a chilli butter sauce. I serve with a sweet potato wasabi mash."
A significant portion of the budget was allocated to the bathrooms. She used dark pewter coloured hardware from Brodware to tie in with the Moroccan tiles from US company Popham. Bathrooms were simple and beautiful and each slightly different.
Sisal natural flooring was put on the stairs to provide some texture and warmth amongst the stone and wood floors.