Marianne Falconer, her husband Sean, and family friends Holly and Rico Brooker bought a plot of land on Lake Taupō to build their dream vacation home. How can four strong-willed adults manage to design a space that they are all happy to share?
Marianne Falconer: We all felt a bit stuck in our suburban lifestyles, and the two-hectare space promised freedom in spades.
The decision was quick, the four of us fell in love with the land and were able to pull the trigger – we made an offer the same day.
This is how the Crib Collective was formed: two families together building a sustainable vacation home in Kuratau on Lake Taupō.
Have you ever heard that a camel is a horse designed by a committee? Building a house with another couple has its perks, sharing the bills, sharing the mahi, and sharing an evening beer together after the kids are in bed. Dream situation.
* Building a house with friends? Make sure your friendship survives
* The pros and cons of building our own Lake Taupo vacation home
* How we went from living in a landfill to building the vacation home of our dreams
* Is it possible to build a designer house on a limited budget?
But when it comes to the design of our vacation home, we wanted to make sure we didn’t end up with a camel.
The decision-making for the exterior was simple: we had a clear vision and there are fewer options available. We also had the advice of our architect.
But when it comes to interiors, we have developed decision fatigue. There are so many choices. It’s not a bad thing, but the options are limitless (oh so many shades of white).
One thing that really helped us streamline the design process was creating a shared moodboard (thanks Pinterest!) And an overall color palette to guide us.
Choosing tiles was fun. We had an incredible selection of samples and played with them for weeks; see what they looked like with our color scheme, what they looked like in different lights and layer them with our chosen copper faucet and the macrocarpa that is featured throughout the house.
As each family had their own bathroom, we had the freedom to choose our own tiles and our own vanity design. In the end, we both landed on the same range of tiles, but in a different color. Bold and fun, yet consistent.
When it came to choosing the colors for the walls, we knew we wanted to choose dark but subdued tones to reflect the tones of Lake Taupō. We started here and selected Resene trial pots of our favorite blues / greens / grays and neutrals.
We painted large A3 flaps, placed them next to macrocarpa tiles that would also be used inside to cover some walls and made a shortlist. We put the colors on our social media audience and ignored their opinions.
I won’t lie, we were going in circles… The choice in committee slowed us down. Until our painter gave us a deadline: we had a day to choose paint colors. The pressure was on.
We now love Rolling Stone, a mossy gray we chose for the media room, Inside Back, a masculine gray green for the main living room, and Concrete, a lovely neutral gray for the hallways. Holly opted for Soothe, a dusty neutral pink, for her bathroom, and it pairs beautifully with our copper faucet.
Having an overall color scheme really helped with these decisions and in the end we were able to create a cohesive look. The space has a calming feel, absolutely what we wanted for our home away from home.
And he doesn’t look like a camel at all. Phew.
Our tips for simplifying interior design when there is more than one person with an opinion:
Pick a color scheme up front and stick to it. This will help guide decisions and reduce the overwhelming feeling of being given a myriad of color options for the sofa or curtains.
Take a holistic view. For the non-professionals among us, creating a moodboard can really help identify what you like and what you don’t like. Pick your top five visual references and let them guide your decision making.
Always get material samples, layer them, and play, play, play. How does this tile go with this paint color, with this faucet, etc.? Play and trust your intuition.
Delegate, whether you are a couple or a committee of four like us, delegate the decisions so that the decision-making is shared. Because we’re both busy moms, we decided to Divide and Conquer – Holly chose the rug and I chose the curtains.
As a couple, my husband usually consults me on hard furniture but has the last word, and I consult him on soft furniture, but I have the last word. This saves a lot of back and forth.
Trust your intuition rather than trends. What are the colors that really appeal to you? These will stand the test of time.
Budget. When in doubt, let the money do the talking. If you’re hesitating between two options, the price can often help dictate which one you land on.