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. 

Design


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Pamper yourself post-lockdown with the best local beauty businesses

While lockdown 2.0 may have seen you reignite a passion for power walking, become a local takeaway connoisseur or somewhat of an online shopping addict, there certainly haven’t been any opportunities to be pampered on a professional level. Now as Level 2 edges into sight, we can once again look forward to visiting our favourite beauty therapists for a tune-up. Whether stress has your shoulders aching for a massage or your brows are begging to be tamed, these brilliant local beauty spots are here to help once we settle back into Level 2. 

Keep in mind these businesses will be adjusting to altered working conditions, so show kindness and patience when securing a booking. Please check with individual businesses for opening hours and terms and conditions of service, such as wearing a mask.  

Brows:
Drop the tweezers and let the pros work their magic. From shaping and tinting to lamination and microblading, these local brow bars have all your bases covered. See our round-up of the best brow specialists.

Hair:
If there’s one thing you should leave to the experts, it’s your locks. Whether you want to emerge from lockdown with a new look, or simply need a refresh, turn to a seasoned stylist to turn your vision into reality. Check out our guide to the best colourists for blondes and the top stylists for tending to curly hair.

Massage:
If there’s anything you deserve for making it this far through 2020, it’s a good massage. Trust the best hands in the business to work out all matter of post-lockdown knots and kinks from our list of the top massage therapists in town.

Facials:
Put your best face forward with a restorative and relaxing facial. Knowledgeable therapists will be able to spoil your skin far beyond the at-home sheet mask you’ve been stuck with for the past few weeks. See our list of the best local facialists.

Wellbeing


Get your winter glow on with the best spray tan purveyors in town

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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.

Coveted


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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.

Escape


The famed Vivid festival returns to Sydney in May promising to light up the City like never before

A comprehensive guide to the most splendid stops in the Coromandel region

Feline the Love? Your chance to win a staycation at New Zealand’s first Valentine’s Day cat hotel experience
Insecure

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.

Insecure
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

Fleabag
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

Euphoria
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

Chernobyl
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

Fauda
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

Culture


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THE WISDOM OF SAGE

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

Ingredients:
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

Method:
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.

Gastronomy


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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.

Comedy
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. 

Learning
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.

Growth
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.

Inspiration
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. 

Escapism
Bubble
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.

Carrier
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.

Homecoming
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.

Image credit: CHRISTIAN VIERIG

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Denizen’s definitive Father’s Day gift guide: 25+ dapper gift ideas for your dad

The first Sunday in September is right around the corner, which means its time to get ready to celebrate fathers everywhere. From simple tokens of love to sublime gestures, these gift ideas are sure to inspire the perfect present for your dad.

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SEE ALL SLIDES |

Maki Socks: tuna

Maki Socks: tuna

Maki Socks: tuna

Maki Socks: tuna

Available from Auckland Art Gallery

Spencer cashmere sweater

Spencer cashmere sweater

Spencer cashmere sweater

Spencer cashmere sweater

Available from Elle + Riley

Kaleido Tray by HAY

Kaleido Tray by HAY

Kaleido Tray by HAY

Kaleido Tray by HAY

Available from Tim Webber

Moscot Custom Made Tints

Moscot Custom Made Tints

Moscot Custom Made Tints

Moscot Custom Made Tints

Available from Parker & Co

Hublot Big Bang Meca-10

Hublot Big Bang Meca-10

Hublot Big Bang Meca-10

Hublot Big Bang Meca-10

Available from Partridge Jewellers

Fur stubble cream

Fur stubble cream

Fur stubble cream

Fur stubble cream

Available from Spring Store

Horizon wireless headphones

Horizon wireless headphones

Horizon wireless headphones

Horizon wireless headphones

Available from Louis Vuitton

Horsebit jacquard silk tie

Horsebit jacquard silk tie

Horsebit jacquard silk tie

Horsebit jacquard silk tie

Available from Gucci

Diamond Point all-in-one bar tool

Diamond Point all-in-one bar tool

Diamond Point all-in-one bar tool

Diamond Point all-in-one bar tool

Available from Tiffany & Co

Dior and Shawn sweatshirt

Dior and Shawn sweatshirt

Dior and Shawn sweatshirt

Dior and Shawn sweatshirt

Available from Dior

5-piece knife set

5-piece knife set

5-piece knife set

5-piece knife set

Available from The Studio of Tableware

Vertical garden

Vertical garden

Vertical garden

Vertical garden

Available from Designers’ Collection

Marie Zelie Reserve pinot noir 2010 magnum

Marie Zelie Reserve pinot noir 2010 magnum

Marie Zelie Reserve pinot noir 2010 magnum

Marie Zelie Reserve pinot noir 2010 magnum

Available from The Foley Wine Club

Hold candlestick

Hold candlestick

Hold candlestick

Hold candlestick

Available from Powersurge

Brew cafetiere by Tom Dixon

Brew cafetiere by Tom Dixon

Brew cafetiere by Tom Dixon

Brew cafetiere by Tom Dixon

Available from Simon James

Cactus rain candle

Cactus rain candle

Cactus rain candle

Cactus rain candle

Available from Ecoya

Go pillow

Go pillow

Go pillow

Go pillow

Available from Hyoumankind

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G

Available from Samsung

High performance packaway coat

High performance packaway coat

High performance packaway coat

High performance packaway coat

Available from Ermenegildo Zegna

Rolex Sky-Dweller

Rolex Sky-Dweller

Rolex Sky-Dweller

Rolex Sky-Dweller

Available from Rolex

Calvin Klein cotton trunks, 3-pack

Calvin Klein cotton trunks, 3-pack

Calvin Klein cotton trunks, 3-pack

Calvin Klein cotton trunks, 3-pack

Available from Superette

Bolita lamp by Marset

Bolita lamp by Marset

Bolita lamp by Marset

Bolita lamp by Marset

Available from ECC

Hair & body shower gel

Hair & body shower gel

Hair & body shower gel

Hair & body shower gel

Available from Sothys

Prada jersey t-shirts, 3-pack

Prada jersey t-shirts, 3-pack

Prada jersey t-shirts, 3-pack

Prada jersey t-shirts, 3-pack

Available from Prada

Cone clock by George Nelson

Cone clock by George Nelson

Cone clock by George Nelson

Cone clock by George Nelson

Available from Matisse

Kettal fire pit

Kettal fire pit

Kettal fire pit

Kettal fire pit

Available from Studio Italia

Taiyo coat stand

Taiyo coat stand

Taiyo coat stand

Taiyo coat stand

Available from Sarsfield Brooke

Waxed canvas log carrier

Waxed canvas log carrier

Waxed canvas log carrier

Waxed canvas log carrier

Available from Father Rabbit

Men's tracksuit

Men's tracksuit

Men's tracksuit

Men's tracksuit

Available from Dadelszen

Blood orange and cacao negroni pack

Blood orange and cacao negroni pack

Blood orange and cacao negroni pack

Blood orange and cacao negroni pack

Available from Black Pineapple

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.

Design


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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.

Design


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