Carpet design

The design team breathes new life into Grey Lynn’s tiny old villa on a busy street

This quaint little villa in Gray Lynn, Auckland has been transformed by two designers who have turned it into a home and showroom.

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.

Kelly Gammie and Sean Monk gutted the villa, which is also Gammie's home.  Customers are often entertained in the kitchen.

Chris McKeen / Stuff

Kelly Gammie and Sean Monk gutted the villa, which is also Gammie’s home. Customers are often entertained in the kitchen.

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.

READ MORE:
* Cute-like cottage with surprising interior following renovation
* Outside, it is a workers’ house from the 1900s. Inside, it has been totally transformed
* Sandwiched cottage on Seatoun’s seafront has a cliffhanger surprise

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.

The before (left) and after images tell the story of the square-fronted villa's restoration work.

Supplied/Chris Mckeen, Stuff

The before (left) and after images tell the story of the square-fronted villa’s restoration work.

“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.

Other special features of the kitchen include Oyster stone worktops, floating shelves, and the island's fluted wooden front and drawers.  The wood has been sanded to a smooth finish.

Things

Other special features of the kitchen include Oyster stone worktops, floating shelves, and the island’s fluted wooden front and drawers. The wood has been sanded to a smooth finish.

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.”

Customers can see the products used in the house, but also consult samples in the salon.

Chris McKeen / Stuff

Customers can see the products used in the house, but also consult samples in the salon.

This bathroom also features different mirrors, sinks, vanities, showerheads, and tiling options.

Chris McKeen / Stuff

This bathroom also features different mirrors, sinks, vanities, showerheads, and tiling options.