Kirsten Krason Interiors + Poppin Giveaway



As someone who spends a lot of time in their home office, I love seeing how other people create work spaces in their homes–especially when they are colorful, fun and inspiring! This creative space belongs to Utah interior designer Kirsten Krason and I love all that's I'm seeing here! Like my own office, she has a neutral backdrop with splashes of fun color and pattern throughout. The curtains may be my favorite thing ever!! She actually got the fabric for $3/yd at a local fabric store and is not sure where it is from or what it is called. Someone out there must know?! I'm dying here!! You can see more great images taken by Jessica Kettle Photography over at Kirsten's blog 6th Street Design School!

Jillian + Katie Pilcher



TGIF! I thought this cheerful room brought to us by Jillian and Katie Pilcher, the mother-daughter duo from Dothan, Alabama, made a perfect ending to the week! What makes this space extra special is the fact that it belongs to Jillian, and she's only 13! She and her mom worked together to create a vibrant, happy space that describes Jillian's personality to the T. It was important to Katie that her daughter have the space to show off her creative abilities (the crafter/writer/artist even has her own blog!), so plenty of her art and crafts are on display. But she's not the only talented one here...Katie made the window coverings and bedskirt herself with all the great fabric Jillian picked out on I especially love the floral fabric with the birds, it's gorgeous! The two did have some help from Tim, Jillian's handy dad who built the tables and the cornice. Team project all around! You can read all about the makeover and see more images, including before shots, over at Katie's blog Bellamia!

The Right Retail Interior Design Will Have Your Store Bustling


When it comes to dressing your shop, you need to ensure that it is a space which people will enjoy. You want people to enjoy their time in your shop so that they will come again and spend money with you. If you don't take the time to dress your shop for the customer then you can expect not to see them again.

The interior of your shop isn't all about the sale displays and ensuring that customers can find what they need, your shop needs to present the right image of the company. If a lingerie shop is dark and dingy then people will associate it with being a place they shouldn't want to be spending their time and so they will avoid the shop. It doesn't matter how fantastic the lingerie is in that store, people will not want to shop there because it doesn't make them feel good.

Your shop should make the people in your store feel good, they should enjoy looking round and they shouldn't feel confused by the layout. In clothes stores it is important to ensure that all rails and displays are spaced out well, you want people to be able to easily walk between them and stop to look at clothes without automatically disrupting someone else. People will need to move for other people within your store but make it much easier for them so that they don't need to move as much, if you leave enough space between rails and displays you will find that people aren't causing disruptions or blocking spaces.

It should be easy for people to find what they are looking for within your store, whether you have big signs saying where separate items are such as shoes and accessories within a clothes store, this means that someone who is looking for a pair of shoes can see the sign and make their way over to the place they want to be. We've all managed to get lost in a big store and usually the one thing that helps us work out where we are in relation to where we need to be is the signs that are dotted around.

One of the most important things about a store is the lighting, customers want to be able to see the items well, and the colour they see in the store should be the colour that it is when they get home. Most stores have a white interior for this reason, white allows the light to reflect and it also enhances the natural light that comes into the store.

Your shop needs to be a place where customers will want to come back, and it is not just customer service which makes them come back. If you offer the same product as another store but your store is dark and people can't see, then they're going to go and buy the product from the other store where they can see the product clearly. A customer wants to be able to see the product that they are buying, they don't want to get it home to find that it looks different to how it did in the store.

Interior design is one of the many things that people can forget about but they don't realise just how important it is to have it right otherwise it can have detrimental effects on the business. If you don't know how the interior design should be for your shop then make sure you hire an expert who has plenty of experience with the interior design of shops, so that yours is the best it can be.Advertise with my Blog

New Home Design

Our new cover is on newsstands today - the beautifully crafted home on it is by Michael O'Sullivan, the photograph is by Emily Andrews, and the shot was styled by Yvette Jay. 

 Inside the issue is an abundance of great stuff, including homes by Wellington's Tennent + Brown Architects, Atelierworkshop, Christchurch's Wilson & Hill and Auckland's Andrew Patterson, as well as our former art director Miranda Dempster's New York apartment and a beautiful cabin built by expat New Zealander Adrian van Schie in New York State's Adirondacks Mountains. 

Also! We present our biannual bathroom design focus, travel to six chic global destinations, design writer Douglas Lloyd Jenkins tells a tale of the rebirth of a sleek mid-century hotel in Putaruru, we feature Kate Sylvester and Douglas + Bec's new furniture range, and much more.

NZ's Architecture van Brandenburg in China

In our current issue, we feature the remarkable story of architect Fred van Brandenburg and his son Damien of Architecture van Brandenburg, who are designing the new Shenzhen headquarters of Marisfrolg, one of China's biggest fashion labels. Below is a shot of the first stage of the building under construction. (It's expected to be completed in three years).

The inspiration for the building's organic forms come from none other than the late Antoni Gaudi, designer of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia cathedral. Fred, who has designed luxury lodges including Huka Lodge and Wharekauhau, decided after seeing Gaudi's buildings that he wanted to make a complete change in the way he designed buildings. "I decided I was going to do sculptural architecture by adapting philosophies [Gaudi] espoused and applying them to contemporary architecture," he says.

Above: An image from a recent advertising campaign by Marisfrolg, using the headquarters' partially completed structure as a backdrop.

The Marisfrolg headquarters job came about after the company's owners visited Fred's office in Lake Hayes, Central Otago, after staying in some of his lodge designs. He told them he was no longer interested in designing that type of building, and they said they would be in touch. About a year and a half later they did so, asking him to come and see their site in Shenzhen in southern China. Fred couldn't remember them, but their seriousness and the scale of the project got his attention: 75,000 square metres, including a catwalk and function area for launching collections, design offices, manufacturing and warehousing and a 50-room boutique hotel for the label's clients. Through their intepreter, Marisfrolg's owners asked for the building to be soaring but unostentatious. "I then realised this was going to be big" said Fred. The final direction was "Design first, budget second."

Above and below: Conceptual models of the Marisfrolg building, inspired by Fred's newfound love of organic forms.
As part of their (very loose) brief, Marisfrolg's owners showed Fred a video of a recent Marisfrolg collection with images of birds in flight and autumnal scenes. "I explained that I was inspired by forms found in nature and it all gelled very quickly," Fred says. Damien had just graduated in architecture from Auckland's Unitec, and moved to Dunedin to work on the project full-time (the duo set up an office there because of its proximity to the "brains trust" of 3D-modelling experts at Otago Polytechnic).

Above: More views of models of the complex in Architecture van Brandenburg's Dunedin office, 
the two colour images photographed by Graham Warman. Damien van Brandenburg is in the shot above.

Fred and Damien have never been told the budget of the project, but nor have their clients ever wavered in their commitment to fulfilling their architect's vision. They're already talking about potential projects with other Chinese developers, but for the moment, Fred says the main focus is on successfully completing the Marisfrolg headquarters. "There are people who are interested in us in China but you can imagine they're reticent and seeing how things pan out [with this project] he says. Once it is, you can easily imagine plenty more attention coming the van Brandenburgs' way.

We like: Wellington's Six Barrel Soda Co.

In our current issue, we visit Six Barrel Soda Co in Wellington's Dixon Street. The cafe was also designed to sell delicious soda made on the spot, in a space masterminded by Matt Smith of Wellington design firm Common. Here's Juliette Wanty's interview with Matt and some more of Russell Kleyn's photographs of one of our favourite new spots in the capital.

Designer Matt Smith of Common

HOME What was the brief for this job?
MATT SMITH We wanted to create a space that could function primarily for the production of soda syrups and secondly as a cafe. The existing space [the former home of Eva Dixon's cafe] had a history of failed cafes and restaurants. We first gutted the space, removing any trace of past ventures, and unified the seating and kitchen areas by removing all internal walls and running the cork-tile floor through the entire space. We also ran a peg rail the length of the space to display items, hold customers' coats and bags, and hang utensils and baskets of fruit in the kitchen. The large central table was positioned so that customers look down the length of the table to the kitchen. A quarter of the table is utilised as the service area, so that customers are engaged with the cocktail-like making and presentation of the sodas.

Customers are able to view the production process in action.

You designed [with Caspian Ievers] the logo and labelling system before embarking on the design of this space. How did you want the space to feel?
Soda bars first conjure up images of Americana, red vinyl, chrome and jukeboxes. We wanted to avoid this and focus on the freshness and quality of the ingredients, and the honesty of the production method. The colours are light and fresh yellow and green. We brought elements of the branding across, most notably Hugo Mathias' illustrations from the labels on the chalkboard wall, while avoiding creating a space that was too branded. The materials are good-quality and durable: cork, american ash and red brick. The almost-primary-school aesthetic of Six Barrel Soda Co - with its cork tiles, chalkboard, peg rail and stamps for labelling - is accidental, but often reminds people of their first encounter with sodas or 'pop'.

Labels are hung on the wooden peg rail that plays both a decorative and functional role in the space.

What has the response been like so far?
People seem to love it. It's been referred to as the most Instagram-able cafe in Wellington!

Six Barrel Soda Co Factory Cafe
Level 1, 33-35 Dixon Street, Wellington

See more of Matt Smith's work at

Prints work by Karen Walker

Fashion designer Karen Walker's latest move is into homeware, specifically a collaboration with the Australian department store Myer to produce a new range of homeware using popular prints. Here's our Q+A with Karen from our current issue, along with some extra images from her homeware range. A word of warning before you get too purchase-ready - while the towels are available in Karen Walker stores, the rest of the range is available only in Myer's Australian stores (and they don't sell online at the moment). 

Karen Walker

HOME You've already developed Karen Walker paint, jewellery and eyewear. Why homeware?
KAREN WALKER We've been interested in developing homeware for some time, and the opportunity came along to create a line in partnership with the right people [Australian department store Myer] at the right time. We've been working with Myer for years, and they approached us to bring our look into homeware.

The images on these mugs also feature in Karen Walker's jewellery collection

How did you choose which prints to use? 
After showing internationally for 20 seasons, we've built up quite an extensive archive of prints, which is where we looked first when creating graphics for bed linen, towels and so on. We made a selection of prints for each category and played around with color and sizing, then sampled what we liked and narrowed it down from there. There are many prints in our archive that we're constantly reworking and reissuing in different ways, whether it be fabric print, fine jewellery or eyewear. Much within our archive has become iconic for us and is reinvented again and again. Homeware gave us another area in which to explore this. We'll be creating new homeware ranges every six months, and they'll always have print and colour as their starting point.

 This range of beach towels will be available in Karen Walker's New Zealand boutiques from spring

When will New Zealand shoppers be able to get their hands on the goods?
The beach towels will be in Karen Walker stores here in spring. The rest of the range can be purchased at Myer's Australian stores from August.

The homeware range also includes these bed linens

Under threat: The Lomas house, Hamilton

Hamiltonians, contact your city councillors! TVNZ is reporting that a 1955 Hamilton home designed by Peter Middleton (that we featured in our October/November 2010 issue) is under threat of demolition.

Paul McCredie did a beautiful job of photographing the building for us (Linda Tyler wrote about the house). It's in a lush garden that the late Heather Lomas, the home's owner, spent decades creating. 

The home won an Enduring Architecture Award from the New Zealand Institute of Architects earlier this year. Middleton was commissioned to design the house by Heather Lomas and her husband Alan. Heather (below) lived in the house until her death in March. The house was later sold to a neighbour by members of Heather's family.

According to the TVNZ report, Waikato heritage consultant Ann McEwan "has called for the Lomas house on Lake Cres to be saved, and wants the Hamilton City Council to bend its district plan to save the 1950s building from demolition." You can read the TVNZ story here 

It's a vexed issue, this. The new owner of the house is, legally, perfectly entitled to demolish it. The Lomas house, like many great modernist buildings, falls into an unprotected grey zone, where these structures are often not considered worthy of heritage protection until it's too late. 

Apart from the fact that we really like it, the Lomas house has genuine historical merit.  It is believed to be Hamilton's first architecturally designed house, and represented a brave early experiment in open-plan living. 

In its citation for the home's Enduring Architecture award, the NZ Institute of Architects said: 

The Lomas House is a fine building and also an inspiring architectural story. Designed for a young family in the 1950s, at a time when materials were rationed but optimism was far more plentiful, the house has gracefully kept pace with that family’s life for more than half a century. Frugal, but never mean with its spatial allocation, the house on its well-positioned site is cleverly and subtly arranged around the framework of a simple grid. Over the years, it has settled into a companionate relationship with the relaxed and unfussy garden. Inhabited beautifully, altered little, and maintained with care, the house is a case study in the lasting benefits of a sympathetic relationship between clients and Architect. 

Much of this inventiveness is evident in the home's careful planning, with level changes and sliding walls creating a greater sense of space in the living area.

In the TVNZ story, Ann McEwan suggests the Hamilton City Council should break its district plan rules to ensure the preservation of the house. The council says it hasn't received any demolition order for the building as yet. 

Outtakes: The Onemana Bach by SGA Architects and Unitec students

Our current issue features a short Q+A with architect Dave Strachan of SGA Architects, talking to him about his work with students at Unitec to design and build social housing in collaboration with Auckland's VisionWest.
This isn't the first time Dave and his students have worked together to build something remarkable - last year he and his team designed and built a thrifty bach at Onemana Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula that was a finalist in our 2012 Home of the Year award. (These photographs are by Simon Devitt).

Dave and his students at Auckland’s Unitec School of Architecture were assisted on this project by architect Marshall Cook and builder John Cocks. As a result, all of these students can claim they will leave university with real-world architectural experience: as well as collaborating on the design of the bach, they built it at the Unitec campus before it was trucked to its site on the Coromandel Peninsula.

This is a good point at which to add contdxt to Dave’s remark in our original article accompanying the Home of the Year issue. In it, we quoted Dave as making an unflattering remark about architects in general, but what he was really trying to say was that there is a perception that architects are regarded this way, and that the way students work with tradespeople in this exercise helps to close the gap between architects and the professionals they collaborate with. Our apologies to Dave for allowing this remark to run in the magazine in a way that made it seem like he was slagging off his own profession, when in reality he holds architects and architecture in the highest esteem. 

Above: Andrew Morrison relaxes on the deck in a cane-swing chair while Shiree and their daughters Rubie and Billie hang 
out in the kitchen. Morgan Cronin from Cronin Kitchens advised the students on building the cabinetry.

Above: The living room opens out to decks on both sides. Former Unitec student 
Tim Webber designed the table to match the Morrisons' Ikea chairs.
Part of Dave’s mission in leading this project at Unitec is to encourage productive working relationships and good communication between these students when they graduate and the tradespeople they will work with on future architectural projects. Building the bach was a vital part of this process. The students, Dave says, might say, “oh, we just want a nice flat floor to go through there – well that’s wonderful, but how the hell do you do that, to document it and then build it? That makes it a useful part of architectural education”.

Dave was a builder before he became an architect and has the deepest of respect for both professions, as well as a keen awareness of how poor detailing and communication can compromise a project. “Design is what [students] are taught to do,” Dave says. “It’s what most schools of architecture focus on. But a lot of design decisions are made during documentation – everyone thinks it’s the boring bit, but really it’s very much about trying to keep the integrity of the design idea you had at the start.”

Above: The ultimate in indoor/outdoor flow: a floor that continues almost seamlessly from the kitchen out to the deck. 
The deck chairs, covered by Shiree, are from Nest.

Above: A view of the dining area opening onto the second deck. In the background, the barbecue from 
The BBQ Factory echoes the strobe-like effect from the slatted roof.

Above: The barbecue deck is also the perfect place to relax in front of a little fire and watch the starry sky after sunset.

Above: Billie and Rubie playing in the living area with the windows panels drawn back to enjoy the sun. 
Below: Dave and some of the members of Studio 19, his student design team.

Richard Gardiner's Small Houses

In our current issue, Christchurch art teacher and model maker Richard Gardiner tells us how he helps people remember their earthquake-damaged homes by building beautiful models of them. Photographer Stephen Goodenough visited Richard's studio to see some of his work under construction, so we wanted to share some unpublished shots here, along with our Q+A with Richard.

Richard Gardiner in his studio

HOME How did your Scaled Down project began?
RICHARD GARDINER Having taught art for a number of years, with design as my specialist subject, I've always had a keen interest in design and architecture, particularly domestic architecture in New Zealand. A few years ago, I made a model of our house, a 1927 one-and-a-half storey bungalow, and once friends and colleagues had seen it, a number wanted one of their own. as retirement loomed and demand increased, I set up Scaled down and left teaching for model-making.

Lyttelton Police Station model

Have you been busier since the Christchurch earthquakes? 
Soon after the major quake in February, I met someone whose house - a lovely Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired design in Cranner Square - was ruined beyond repair, and he ordered a model to be made before demolition took place. Since then, there's been a fairly steady stream of people wanting something tangible as a memory of the place in which they invested so much of their lives.

 A model of a home in Cashmere, now under repair.

How do you thinks it helps people to have a model of a home they might have lost?
Nothing can replace a home lost suddenly and violently like that. Our homes reflect us and the lives we live in them - they carry our stamp on them and they contain memories, accumulated over decades. but if anything, a model, with the features we knew well, like the downpipes, the front door, the gas bottles and the cat flap, does provide a tangible reminder. It's something we can touch and relate to. a well-made model is also a piece of fine craftsmanship, which can be appreciated on another level too.

What's it like living in Christchurch now? do you lament the loss of so many heritage buildings?
I was in the city today and to be honest, it's increasingly difficult to find your way in some areas because the gaps outnumber the buildings. The earthquakes were sudden, unannounced and deadly, but the loss of buildings seems to be a more staggered and gradual affair. The machines 'nibble' their way more deeply into the city each week, so despite the sad loss of many architectural icons, we are perhaps becoming dulled by it all.

You can see more images of Richard's work and contact him through his website at the link here

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