At my place: Grand Designs home owner Sarah Lods
NZ House & Garden stylist Sarah Lods lives in Freemans Bay, Auckland, with her husband Philippe and son Emile. Their house - sometimes described as a "Monopoly" house because of its classic peaked roof shape - featured on the latest series of Grand Designs NZ and will be in the NZ House & Garden house tour on 7 April.
The Lods attention to detail during the build was meticulous (some may even say obsessive). But now their French-inspired house is complete, and the TV series is over, they say life is all about enjoying their new home: they especially love long, long lunches with friends.
"I'm happy to be in such relaxing surroundings," Lods says. "This is a new build, designed from scratch by us and our architect, so we have ticked virtually all of our boxes re living spaces."
Describe your style in three words:
This, that and the other.
Where is it and who lives there:
Our home is in Freemans Bay, 10 steps from Ponsonby Rd (the fun end). At present, it's myself, husband Philippe and 21-yr-old son, Emile. Oh, and a vertically challenged black cat called Sylvia.
First thing you do when you get home each day:
Smile. I'm happy to be in such relaxing surroundings.
Best new buy:
Our Strips Sofa by Cini Boeri for Arflex from Studio Italia, designed in 1972. It still holds its style today.
Proudest DIY moment:
Right at the outset of our [home build] project there were a couple of space and layout issues, which I found solutions for. This was a first for me and immensely satisfying as they seemed to have worked out OK. Well I think so anyway.
Favourite spot to relax:
That's like asking 'which is your favourite child?' Long story short - can't pick.
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Best kept secret about the area you live in:
It's Ponsonby. Everyone knows all its secrets.
Best money I ever spent on the house:
I'd say the feature lighting. Beautiful ceiling lights are like works of art with the added bonus of being completely practical.
Favourite way of entertaining:
The loooooong lunch - good food, good company, great conversation and preferably ending in dancing and laughing...lots and lots of laughing.
Favourite household appliance:
Sorry this is an oxymoron? "Favourite" and "appliance" doesn't work for me in the same sentence.
One thing I'd like to change around my house:
You probably won't believe me but nothing, really nothing.
What's your signature dish?
Salad nicoise with fresh tuna. Back to that lunch theme.
Quickest dinner idea:
Both Philippe and I are freelancers so routines are non existent. My Food Bag is one quick happy food idea.
How do you feel about unannounced guests?
Love them, bring it on.
Shoes on or off in your house?
SO ON! We are big believers in the patina of a home as it shows a well-loved space.
Favourite or least favourite chore?
Seriously? Do people have a favourite chore? I suppose getting in the washing off the line: that crisp 'white' smell. And the least, cleaning the oven, so I bought one that cleans itself, problem solved.
What's one domestic/housework/gardening trick you've learnt over the years:
I was once told by a renowned food personality that you buy a family pie from the supermarket, bash the pastry top with a rolling pin and voila, it looks homemade.
Any type of blossom preferably still on a very large branch. Also sweet peas, dahlias, copper beech branches or anything that looks like it's been picked from your garden (not that I have one of those).
Terracotta, earthy greens, teal, pale grey. I can't choose as it's an ever-moving target