Chris McKeen / Stuff
This quaint little villa in Gray Lynn, Auckland has been transformed by two designers who have turned it into a home and showroom.
There’s a little white villa on one of the busiest streets in Gray Lynn, Auckland that’s turning heads.
And that’s because it’s undergone a makeover, inside and out, as two designers turn it into a showpiece.
Rare Birds’ Kelly Gammie and Sean Monk have joined the small but growing number of designers who believe ‘home’ is the best place to showcase new products, whether it’s fabrics, rugs, tiles or bench materials.
The villa houses Gammie – his bedroom is upstairs, but all the other rooms are essentially open to view. And every piece is eye-catching. The duo painted, wallpapered and hung curtains with various materials and colors to present a variety of “looks” that could inspire customers.
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And for customers, of course, it’s like walking into someone’s house, because it’s someone’s house. “It’s very calming for customers,” says Gammie. “They feel more relaxed. We have coffee, and sometimes bubbles if it’s later in the day.
“We’re keen to make it an industry hub – a place where traders and suppliers can come and socialize on Thursday or Friday afternoons. We wanted to create a really dynamic space where people would feel welcome.
“We once had a builder who used our show to meet customers. And another person used the meeting room in a shared office arrangement.
The “front room” that Gammie refers to is a small room that has been beautifully decorated with a table and chairs, and dramatic light fixtures. “It’s a white room, so it needs to be textured thoroughly,” she says in reference to the light fixtures.
Elsewhere in the house, it’s all about layering. “We designed it to show how an engaging designer encourages you to layer up a space and give it character.”
Monk says the bathroom was also meant to showcase “the best there is” and create a sanctuary. Vanities and mirrored medicine cabinets are Rare Birds’ own designs.
The couple are firm believers in the philosophy: do it once and do it well. “We want to make sure customers get the best value for money – it’s the most sustainable approach,” says Monk. “It’s an approach that the Italians take. They won’t do anything if they don’t know how to do it well.
“While we are aware of the trends, we don’t want to do anything that is too obviously a ‘trend’ that will have to be changed in four years,” Gammie says. “It’s not sustainable.”