Classic and contemporary collide in this impressive and entirely original townhouse

New York might be a city of apartment-dwellers, but for a contingent of its population, home is found in the late 19th- and 20th-Century mansions that are peppered through chichi neighbourhoods like the Upper East Side — offering sprawling, opulent floor plans over multiple levels. This is one such property. 

Set on a site that was originally two separate homes before being unceremoniously turned into a small apartment building, this Upper East Side townhouse began with a demolition that allowed its new owners to start from scratch. Taking the 32-foot-wide double lot and constructing a 14,000 square-foot, seven-storey home (with seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms), the owners commissioned interior design studio Meyer Davis to finesse the details, a task its longtime director Elizabeth Curry took on readily and executed, alongside associate Josh Suckle, with aplomb.

Architecturally, the house is classical with a dignified, imposing presence that invokes the same kind of stately manner its 20th Century original would have presented.

But for the team at Meyer Davis, it seems, reimagining the old world details through a minimalist lens, and throwing a soupçon of whimsy into the mix for good measure, was how this home would be made to feel contemporary while remaining true to its history. 

Between the parquet floors, the simple palette and the panelled walls, the designers introduced ultra-modern touches. A circular, sculptural chandelier by Niamh Berry for example, presides over the walnut-panelled library, while elsewhere, neon artworks by Tracey Emin and a tubular glass light feature by Mathieu Lehanneur offer intriguing, contemporary counterpoints.

Here, the designers have made everything about balance — on the one hand, ensuring classical features are honoured, on the other, subverting expectations. The white porcelain Lily of The Valley tendrils that weave along the panelled plaster wall connecting the first and second floors, exemplify the two ideas coming together in harmony.  

Embracing the idea of surprise and delight, the team at Meyer Davis has managed to bridge the significant gap between the old world and the avant-garde, creating an ethereal home that is magnificent in scale and courageous in execution. 


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Photo: Vika Pobeda

Discover the new consignment business taking the stress out of buying and selling quality newborn baby gear

As a new parent or parent to be, being presented with the number of items a newborn requires — and how swiftly they no longer need them — can be overwhelming.

Catering to the excess that exists in the newborn realm is a savvy new consignment platform, Lullabuy. Dedicated to addressing the ongoing issues that every parent has, whether it’s finding a cost-effective solution to securing decent products that have been lightly used, or what to do with the pram, capsule or crib once the little one has grown out of it. 

Lullabuy’s business model not only helps parents either sell or buy goods, but also contributes to problems of excess in the industry, by extending the life-cycle of these pre-loved items. With a goal to provide new families with quality goods that are no longer of use, while also reducing waste — a pertinent factor now more than ever — Lullabuy has created a successful online platform to buy and sell both new and pre-loved premium and high-end baby accessories.

On the first Monday of each month, Lullabuy holds a sale via their Instagram story, showcasing a slick edit of curated baby items. Often comprising such items as unused Gucci baby blankets, the sought-after Nuna Leaf, brand new Stokke Tripp Trapp high-chairs, and gently preloved Bugaboo Prams, the sales have been a huge success.

So if you’re on the hunt for high end baby goods at a fraction of the price, or you just need to clear out the garage of your no longer used items, Lullabuy could be the perfect solution.


We explore Cartier’s incredible history through the maison’s extraordinary High Jewellery event Down Under
Build the perfect winter wardrobe base with these sartorial essentials
Tiffany & Co. add two new Elsa Peretti rings to their collection

Get excited for The Old Winery, the brand new wine and gin destination coming to Martinborough

In a move that will further enhance Martinborough as one of the country’s most desirable wine destinations, leading New Zealand wine company Foley Wines is establishing a multi-million dollar wine and gin destination in the region, with construction to begin later this year.

Set to include a restaurant, private dining room, tasting room, underground barrel hall and gin distillery, The Old Winery will be home to all Foley Wines’ esteemed Martinborough brands: Te Kairanga, Martinborough Vineyard and Lighthouse Gin.

“Martinborough is a region that more and more wine lovers are getting excited about,” says Foley Wines CEO Mark Turnbull. “We’re committed to investing in the high quality brands we have here, both in terms of winemaking and creating a memorable visitor destination.”

The restaurant at The Old Winery will encompass 100 seats, with an additional private dining room and outdoor terrace. An ideal location at which to host a wedding or event, the menu will celebrate the produce of the local region.

While the tasting room will be home to guided tastings, showcasing Te Kairanga and Martinborough Vineyards wines, Lighthouse Gin’s new distillery will also provide guests with something to look at, as they’ll be able to see the distiller at work while they sip on a Lighthouse Gin and tonic.

Designed by award-winning architect Charlie Nott, whose widely-revered projects include Amisfield Winery and Depot Eatery, the multi-faceted development is set to be the perfect place for an immersive experience to remember.


Europe bound? We round up six luxurious hotels you simply must visit, with a destination-specific packing edit for each locale
For sun-seekers looking for the royal treatment, paradise is found at Fiji’s Vatuvara Private Islands
Seeking a novel escape? Immerse yourself in a world of wonder with Ponant’s polar expeditions

10 hot ticket TV shows you need to watch (if you haven’t already)

You know the one — the hot ticket TV show people can’t stop talking about. It’s both highly-publicised by the media and highly praised by your peers. It’s also been languishing on your watch-list for far too long. You keep meaning to get around to watching it but never quite do… until now. From gritty dramas to iconic comedies, we’ve rounded up the TV shows you simply must see.

Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, this compelling series follows two best friends as they wade through the various peaks and troughs of balancing personal lives and professional relationships in Los Angeles. Watch on Neon

This multi-award-winning comedy/drama, written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, follows a young woman living in London who must come to terms with the death of her friend while manoeuvring dysfunctional family dynamics. Watch on Amazon Prime

Based on an Israeli series of the same title, this gritty show, starring Zendaya, offers insight into the lives of high school students and their experiences with love, friendship, identity and trauma. Watch on Neon

The Handmaid’s Tale
Follow June (Elisabeth Moss), as she adjusts to life as a handmaid in totalitarian society Gilead, where women are property of the state and life as we know it is over. Based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, the show’s popularity has seen the story carry on for three seasons past the book’s original plot. Watch on Neon

This historical-drama miniseries centres around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, and the destruction left in its wake. The exhaustively-researched series received 19 Emmy nominations, and is still widely touted as a must-watch. Watch on Neon

The Night Manager
Jonathan Pine, a former British soldier who is now the night manager at a luxury hotel, is approached to become a covert operative tasked with infiltrating the inner circle of Richard Roper — a shrewd, underground arms dealer.  Watch on Amazon Prime

With a title that means ‘Chaos’ in Arabic, it’s hardly surprising that this gripping show delves into fraught territory. An undercover agent from the Israeli Special Forces goes behind Palestinian lines to hunt down a Hamas terrorist… conflict ensues. Watch on Netflix

Schitt’s Creek
Created by father-son duo Eugene and Daniel Levy (who also star as father and son in the show) Schitt’s Creek kicks off with a prominent New York family’s fall from grace, and unfolds as they acclimatise to life in a much smaller town.  Watch on Netflix

Afterlife recommended by fashion designer Wynn Hamlyn
“Ricky Gervais gives the performance of his life playing a small-town journalist dealing (terribly) with the death of his wife. Cynical, suicidal and angry at the world, he muddles his way out of the darkness, to see that there is, in fact, life after death.” Watch on Netflix

Curb Your Enthusiasm recommended by wine and espresso bar owner Henry Mitchell Temple
“In this classic series, television writer and producer, Larry David, plays a version of himself, as he navigates hilarious misadventures and wades into awkward encounters with his celebrity colleagues in Hollywood.” Watch on Neon


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Bring the bar to your abode with this blackberry, gin and sage cocktail recipe

For the ideal weekend drop, look no further than this refreshing cocktail recipe from Princes Wharf’s Coley & Punch. Christened the ‘The Wisdom of Sage’, this recipe combines Lighthouse gin, blackberry liqueur, fresh sage and a citrusy punch of grapefruit and lime. Simple yet quietly impressive, this cocktail is easy accomplished by both amateur bartenders and experts alike.

The Wisdom of Sage cocktail recipe
Serves 1

20ml fresh grapefruit juice
20ml fresh lime juice
15ml blackberry liqueur
1x heaped bar spoon of blackberry jam
15x fresh sage leaves
1 egg white
5ml Laphroaig 10
60ml Lighthouse gin

1. Add all ingredients to shaker and dry shake to emulsify the egg. Add ice and shake vigorously.
2. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
3. Finish with grapefruit zest, 2 fresh sage leaves and freeze-dried blackberries.


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Soul’s new cocktails are just the tonic for the inclement weather ahead — these are our go-to orders

Listen up, these podcasts deserve a place on your playlist

There’s never been a better time to lend your ear to a great podcast. Thought-provoking, captivating and always entertaining, there’s a podcast out there to suit just about everyone. Whether your tastes range from comedy to true crime, take your pick from these popular podcasts.

The Ron Burgundy Podcast
In troubled times the general public turns to a face they can trust and anchorman Ron Burgundy is stepping up to the plate with his podcast. The aural-spin off from the hit film Anchorman features such diverse special guests as Sia, Brooke Shields and Gloria Steinem.

The Worst Idea of All Time
Comedians Guy Montgomery and Tim Batt ramble delightfully through a movie every week, applying their unique view to such classics as Gigli, Sex and the City 2 and Cats. The perfect background while you spend hours trying to decide what to stream on your television.

Off Menu
Brit comic duo Ed Gamble and James Acaster invite guests into their imaginary restaurant to discuss their favourite entrees, main courses and desserts, as well as a decent tipple. Guests are mostly plucked from the ranks of British comedy, including Katherine Ryan, Noah Scnapp and Ronny Chieng.

Office Ladies
Ditch your book club and join a sitcom club as Jenna Fisher and Angela Kinsey take you through every episode of The Office, in which they starred. You can really commit to the podcasts by watching each episode before the actresses dissect the themes and take you behind the scenes. 

Bobo and Flex
On a “quest to decolonise your minds,” Bobo Matjila and Flex Mami deliver an informative weekly discussion that delves into topics like sex and lifestyle through the lens of race and feminism. 

This Podcast Will Kill You
Pointedly relevant, this podcast is from two disease ecology graduate students who want to share their knowledge of epidemics and medical mysteries with the world. 

History of the 90s
Whether its discussing legendary film Scream and how it gave new life to the horror genre, talking over the details from the Columbine High School Shootings, exploring the rise and fall of the beloved Beanie Baby toy franchise or delving into our collective devotion to TV series Friends, this podcast has you travelling back in time through the stories that defined a decade.

Every Little Thing
Fans of quirky knowledge, this podcast is for you. Ever wondered how nail polishes are named? Or the truth about airplane mode? All will be revealed.

Talking Politics: History of Ideas
Host David Runciman explores some of the most important minds and ideas behind modern politics in a bid to put current events into a helpful historical context.

Overheard at National Geographic
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to scuba dive under a pyramid? Or how an ancient Roman harbour mysteriously ended up in ruins? Or even what it would’ve been like if women were the first on the moon? National Geographic delves into all of these questions and more as it explores the most curious elements from our bizarre and beautiful world.

Unlocking Us with Brené Brown
Bestselling author, Brené Brown, unpacks the universal human experience in this thoughtful podcast, that reminds us to embrace our vulnerability and be kind to ourselves. 

Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris
On his podcast, Ten Percent Happier, acclaimed author Dan Harris discusses happiness from every angle, always returning to the idea that the mind is trainable, for better or worse.

Teenager Therapy
Five teenagers sit down to talk about the arduous journey of growing up. Whether you’re a parent of teens or a teen yourself, this podcast is packed with heartwarming, informative stories to keep you engaged.

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
The undisputed queen of talk show television and all-around media darling, Oprah, hosts this popular podcast to help connect us to the deeper meaning of the world. Through a series of interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, luminaries and experts on health and wellbeing, this podcast will lift you up and give you pause for thought.

Everything Is The Best
Positioned as a kind of expert guide on how to not feel so alone, this podcast sees host Pia Baroncini get real with her guests, in an attempt to discover and highlight the things that connect us all. Delivered in a format designed to inspire the listener to follow their dreams, Baroncini invites guests from all walks of life to dig around in their past and divulge experiences that everyone can relate to, regardless of their circumstances. It is a thoroughly uplifting listen that will serve to shift your perspective. 

This eight episode spoof sci-fi series follows a small band of monster killers, voiced by Alison Becker, Mike Mitchell, and Keith Powell, in the town of Fairhaven, which resembles hipster ground zero Portland. Narrated by Tavi Gevinson, this slick production is addictive and just alternative enough to give you the wry smile you normally get from a barista refusing to serve you a trim flat white. It’s a mix of Daria, Blade Runner and Broad City.

Over the course of seven episodes, we follow long-haul truck driver (Cynthia Erivo), who, during a night trip across rural America, discovers she’s transporting a trailer with disturbing, mysterious contents.

Before it was a hit Amazon Prime series starring Julia Roberts, Homecoming was a gripping podcast where a well-meaning therapist, her ambitious boss and a soldier eager to re-join civilian life all collide at the mysterious Homecoming facility.

True crime
White Silence
This podcast from Stuff and RNZ explores the shocking story of New Zealand’s deadliest disaster and is perfect for anyone who loves a gripping conspiracy theory. In 1979, an Air New Zealand jet with 257 passengers on board took off from Auckland Airport, destined for Antarctica. Hours later, everyone was dead. With lies and cover-ups in abundance, White Lies will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about the infamous Mount Erebus disaster.

Who The Hell Is Hamish?
This fascinating story of a serial conman takes us into the life and crimes of a Sydney surfer with a particular set of skills that allowed him to take on a number of different personas, evade authorities for years and steal tens of millions of dollars.

The Shrink Next Door
If you love true-crime, you’ll love this outrageous story about a neighbourly relationship between psychiatrist and patient that turns into something far darker than you could have ever imagined.

Ear Hustle
Conceived, recorded and produced from inside San Quentin State Prison, this podcast is the result of a collaboration between two inmates, Earlon Woods and Antwan Williams, and prison volunteer Nigel Poor. It explores the daily lives of those incarcerated and provides insight into the world behind bars, a political and nuanced landscape that at times, doesn’t feel much different from our own.



Ain’t no party like an Ayrburn party! See inside Ayrburn’s inaugural Winter Ball
Ayrburn’s Christmas Wonderland has expanded, with the unveiling of an epic, family-friendly ice skating rink
Queenstown bound? Add these thrilling activities to your list of adventures
Dajiang Tai

Architect Dajiang Tai on tiny restaurants, Lee Ufan and Japanese manga

Multi-talented architect Dajiang Tai is a principal at Cheshire Architects, leading a large team as hospitality director and project manager. The award-winning designer is one of the leads on the much-anticipated The Hotel Britomart, soon to open in Auckland. With an adaptable design sensibility and formidable portfolio, Tai sheds some light on his process and artistic interests including a love of watercolour painting and Japanese manga. 

I like to add in bespoke design items into every project I do, from a building facade to a small door handle. Working together with local and international craftspeople to create one-off items is very satisfying. 

Rather than evoke a defined design style, I tend to take the design brief to its very origin and start from that. From there, I can ask the fundamental questions specific to the project, and the design process is just a pathway to find the perfect answers. 

I always consider if there is one design move that solves two design issues, whether the section looks good and what I would change if I started again.

Akari light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi

A product I love is Isamu Noguchi’s lamps. They are beautifully sculptural objects made with humble materials, that showcase craftsmanship and culture. The gentle glow of this lantern reminds me of home and makes me appreciate the shadows in a room. 

My work is influenced by the combination of Rem Koolhaas’ radical and ruthless idea testing, plus Peter Zumthor’s philosophical and rigorous architectural thinking.

Encouraging people to go beyond their knowledge boundaries and taking interest in ideas that might be completely foreign is something I wish I could convince more clients to do.

At the moment I’m loving the early design work of Studio Mumbai, and the smaller residential projects by Sanaa. 

Saan by Cheshire Architects. Photo: Jeremy Toth

A place to eat is always a happy place, and I love designing tiny restaurants, ideally just a few seats with a cooking counter separating the chef and customer. Restaurants allow me to play with every sense of a space — like sound, smell and taste. With it being small, every millimetre of the space must be carefully thought through to complete a fully immersive room, and most importantly, it’s a public space not a private one. 

I’m proud of what we have achieved with The Hotel Britomart. It will be New Zealand’s first 5 Green Star hotel. The architecture extends into the laneway and the amenities of Britomart and the surrounding city – it’s intertwined with this super-complex urban block around it. I think in the time that we’re living now, just making  a good piece of architecture is not enough. I’m proud of being a part of crafting the complexity of an experience and cannot think of a better way to fully experience a piece of architecture or city than a hotel.

Barcelona Pavilion, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich

The last thing I bought for myself personally and loved was a black cast iron tea pot with hemp woven handle. It seems to only get better with time, too.

An unforgettable place I visited was Naroshima island in Japan.

I have become paperless, so my iPad and Apple pencil is my most-used object at the moment. I carry them everywhere I go, draw with them all the time and can do almost all of my work and communication on the iPad. It’s been a lifesaver with the current speed of my life.

On my personal wish list is to do another skyscraper, and make it one of the best skyscrapers.

The last design piece I added to a project that I loved was a cast bronze door handle for the front entrance of The Hotel Britomart. It was cast from a tree branch from my garden by Skellerns Metal Casting.

The building that inspires me is the Barcelona Pavilion. People say devil is in the detail; I only really understood the meaning of it when I visited this building.

The Hotel Britomart by Cheshire Architects. Photo: Samuel Hartnett

One book all people passionate about designers should read is Peter Zumtor’s Thinking Architecture.

I started playing with watercolour in university, and have always admired the paintings by mid-century modernist heroes like Richard Neutra, Rudolf Schindler and Frank Lloyd Wright. There is a long tradition of watercolour drawing at Cheshire Architects, so I’ve managed to hold on to it as an important illustration tool in the past eleven years of practicing. Watercolour’s ability to convey the atmospheric quality of a space is very effective and fast, it can afford to be very ‘loose’ and sketchy without losing quality. 

Something I recently discovered is Morfolio Trace, the most easy to use drawing app for many different types of drawing. It’s replaced my watercolours recently.

For design resources, I usually start from Pinterest images, and if there is a good design that I like I will research everything I can find on it from the internet, books or the library.

A watercolour piece by Dajiang Tai using Morfolio Trace

If price was not an issue, the one artist whose work I would collect is Lee Ufan. Art can be powerful because it shouts at you, Lee Ufan’s work is the opposite — it’s powerful because of its absolute silence.

If I wasn’t doing what I am, I would be a manga (Japanese graphic novel) artist. 

I have a collection of the entire series of Japanese manga Vagabond
by Takehiko Inoue.


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(From left) Interior designer Amelia Holmes; Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects with interiors by Amelia Holmes

Interior designer Amelia Holmes on natural materials, bespoke details and her favourite room to design

One of New Zealand’s most prolific interior designers and stylists, Amelia Holmes has been influenced by many years of residing in New York, culminating in a pared-back design aesthetic that often makes use of natural materials for a light, warm effect. Her residential and commercial projects see her working with the country’s top architects to create luxurious yet welcoming spaces. Here, Holmes delves into her influences, divulging her valuable insight and recommendations.

My design style can be defined as understated, and influenced by endless variations of materials in their natural form.

The three essential elements I consider when designing are longevity, proportions and materiality.

I love specifying bespoke metal work and detailing by the very talented James from Jimmy’s Handbuilt, and often wish I could convince clients to wait for specialty crafted pieces, as they make for a finish that is totally unique to the project.

Harbour Edge House by Fearon Hay Architects with interiors by Amelia Holmes

I have so much respect for the design work of The Hass Brothers. They work across so many different scales; from large exterior public sculptures to small ceramic works, and their exploration and combination of so many different materials is inspiring.

My three favourite furniture pieces are the Offset Side table by Philippe Malouin from Simon James — you can’t go past solid timber, and it’s super versatile. Louis Vuitton’s Swing Chair by Patricia Urquiola is another one, I saw it in Milan when it was released and have never forgotten about it. Lastly, the Officina dining chair by Magis in leather from ECC, because it is raw-crafted and refined. 

My favourite room to design is the master bedroom and ensuite — a restriction on space can make for a more rewarding design process. I love all the textures and layers, and that you have to be clever with the space.

From left: Louis Vuitton Swing Chair by Patricia Urquiola; Haas monster ball incense burner: Officina chair by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Magis from ECC; Offset side table by Philippe Malouin from Simon James; Greene Sofa by Living Divani from Studio Italia

I was blown away when I visited artist Ken Price and Happy’s house in Taos, New Mexico, USA. Taos has the most incredible desert landscape and the houses are strictly Adobe exteriors which ultimately makes all the houses completely blend in with the natural surroundings. Their house is full of Ken’s incredible art work and also of prolific artists they have collected and traded work with. It’s mostly sculptural pieces and it is amazing how beautifully they sat in this very homely environment. 

An object I would never part with is my Dan Arps art work — it was a special gift from my husband.

The Greene Sofa by Living Divani from Studio Italia was the last design piece I added to a project that I loved.

I’m always inspired by all the local architects that take projects from ambitious concepts to reality, and their clients that take the leap of faith to trust them.

My design icon is fashion designer Rachel Comey. She’s quite reclusive, has a strong personal signature and her stores are always slightly unexpected, yet interesting. 

From left: Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects with interiors by Amelia Holmes; Doran & Doran Interiors by Amelia Holmes

One movie all people passionate about designers should watch is Herb and Dorothy, a documentary film by Megumi Sasaki. It’s the extraordinary story of a couple, a postal clerk and a librarian, that managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history.

I usually seem to find inspiration in rural New Zealand. Getting out of the city, fresh air and rural landscapes seem to always reinvigorate me. 

My favourite room in any home is the living room as the scope is unlimited. 

Magazines make for great design resources, including Elle Décor country, Local Project, Rum, Denizen and 032c. Websites too — there are way too many to name but Studio Ko, Vincenzo de cotiis, Axel Vervoordt and Nilufar gallery are great places to start.

If price were not an issue, the one artist whose work I would collect is Kate Newby.


Bathroom in need of an update? Create an elevated escape with our edit of the furnishings and fixtures to shop now
Sambonet’s Madame collection is a masterclass in stunning serveware — these are the pieces we’re coveting
Deftly blending grandeur and simplicity, Marianna Tomlenovich’s private residence is a masterclass in restraint

This chicken schnitzel recipe is here to satisfy your comfort food cravings

A good schnitzel is hard to beat  — there’s something about the simplicty of golden, crispy crumbed chicken breast that’s both comforting and inherently nostalgic. This recipe from Miss Polly’s Kitchen includes a deliciously crunchy fennel, apple and spinach salad, perfect for adding a virtuous touch of greenery to your plate.

Chicken schnitzel recipe
Serves 2

2x 200g chicken breasts
1/3 cup flour, seasoned
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ cups panko crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tsp fresh thyme

50g bag of spinach, thinly sliced
1 green apple, thinly sliced and then chopped into matchsticks
1/2 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 big lemon
Good splash of extra virgin olive oil
1 heaped tbsp Best Foods mayonnaise or Greek yoghurt
Capers (optional)
Salt and pepper

1. Carefully butterfly the chicken breast. Place between two sheets of glad wrap and flatten with a rolling pin or a heavy pan.
2. Put the seasoned flour on a shallow plate, the egg in another and then the panko, Parmesan and thyme in another.
3. Dip the flattened chicken breast into the flour, egg and then press down into the panko mix.
4. Chop all the salad ingredients and mix well with the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and mayo or yoghurt and capers if you wish. Season.
5. In a medium-hot pan shallow fry the schnitzel with some oil and butter, roughly two and a half to three minutes per side.
6. Serve while hot with the salad and a wedge of lemon.


Embrace the season with our edit of all of the compellingly great reasons to head out this winter
Pie Rolla’s is the epic new pie purveyor on K’ Road drawing a crowd
Soul’s new cocktails are just the tonic for the inclement weather ahead — these are our go-to orders

Yuka O’Shannessy of Public Record on half marathons and 1000 piece puzzles

Yuka O’Shannessy has a finely-tuned eye for beautiful and well-crafted objects. She is the owner of Public Record, a store and gallery space housed in the Ponsonby Road space previously occupied by An Astute Assembly, a shop also owned by O’Shannessy. Dedicated to local and international artists and makers, Public Record has a special focus on New Zealand and Japanese artisans, celebrating work that is intelligent and finished with a high standard of craft. Born and raised in Tokyo, O’Shannessy moved to New Zealand in her early twenties and studied fashion at AUT — she still has her own fashion label Yuka&Tristan. Here, the tastemaker shares some of her interests and inspirations, from items on her wishlist to her favourite artists.

My personal style can be defined by: I wear a lot of what I make, but love mixing it with vintage as well. They are pretty classic lines — shirts, pants and suiting jackets which have a serene silhouette but are also minimal with a beautiful outline. I try to wear my favourite style many times in sequence so that I can define which lines work better. This is the exercise that I use for creating the garments, defining and altering existing patterns, evolving them each time. Hence, you can really know what style you like and what suits you! I also love wearing artful one-off pieces or playful styles like Otsu from Wellington, a label I carry at Public Record. 

The last thing I bought and loved was: Camille Paloma Walton’s gold plated earrings and a beautiful well-fitted 70s leather jacket that I bought from my lovely neighbours Search and Destroy. I love their store, it’s like a treasure hunt from top to bottom. 

An unforgettable place I visited was: Portugal when I was nineteen. I went there to represent Japan when I was an athlete and I broke a national record for the half marathon — that’s a true story… Lol.

Next place I’d like to go to: Spain and NYC — planning to go next year (fingers crossed)!

On my wish list is: Oh…. having a gallery store is so hard. I’m tempted all the time by my surroundings and the beautiful things I show. Most recently I really want one of Tomoko Wada’s glass art pieces and Benjamin Pearce’s sculptural bronze objects.

Object B by Tomoko Wada at Public Record

A design characteristic I find myself drawn to is: Beautiful outlines, but with texture so you can see the artisans hand in the work — their passion and energy.  Something isn’t easy to understand. Or sometimes it’s just something that makes me smile.

The last thing I added to my wardrobe was: A Sherie Muijs and Ryder Jones collab-piece — a one-off shirt, others are available from Public Record too.

The design (building, person, item) that inspires me is: The Mono-ha design era/movement — Lee Ufan etc.  ‘The Mono-ha artists explored the encounter between natural and industrial materials, such as stone, steel plates, glass, light bulbs, cotton, sponge, paper, wood, wire, rope, leather, oil, and water, arranging them in mostly unaltered, ephemeral states. The works focus as much on the interdependency of these various elements and the surrounding space as on the materials themselves’. This has been an inspiration for Public Record and behind some of the fundamentals of what I do. 

Artist Lee Ufan photographed for WSJ

An indulgence I would never forgo is: Eating beautiful food with good company. Having a hot bath.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city it would be: Kyoto or Aoyama in Tokyo 

My style icon is: Sarah Linh Tran from Lemaire or Yohji Yamamoto.

Sarah Linh Tran (right), co-designer of Lemaire

The best book I’ve read in the last year is: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee — it feels like reading the history of my family. My father’s side were immigrants from Korea to Japan in the 50s.

My favourite room in my house is: Our open kitchen which overlooks our native garden. This is usually where we entertain guests. 

I recently discovered: I have a very obsessive personality… During [the first] lockdown, I forgot time and did a 1000 piece puzzle overnight. When I get interested in something, I immerse myself in that world for a while. And, I love what I do, so I tend to get obsessed with work. 

The last meal out I had that truly impressed me was: Seasonal handmade pasta from Clay on K’ Road and matcha cheesecake from Coffee Pen.

Squid ink, salt cod ravioli with lemon butter sauce and fennel fronds from Clay

The people I rely on for my well being are: My family — which adds a healthy routine to life as well as the stories and the beautiful experiences we share.

The one artist whose work I would collect is (if price is not an issue): Hiroshi Sugimoto.

If I wasn’t doing what I am, I would be: I would design costume for film or become a potter.


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