Small space living: Hawke's Bay coastal hideaway

The two rugs in the living area of Tina Symman's Hawkes Bay cottage were put down to protect the white flooring.
JANE USSHER

The two rugs in the living area of Tina Symman's Hawkes Bay cottage were put down to protect the white flooring.

Tina Symmans admits she's a "terrible collector of furniture". Not a collector of terrible furniture, you understand – that's an important distinction – but someone who just can't resist buying treasures she comes across.

It doesn't help that her Hawke's Bay home is just down the road from a shop selling French industrial-style antiques.

Much of that extra furniture has found a home in Tina's newly renovated Crabtree Cottage.

Her great-grandfather’s chair sits in the corner of the lounge.
JANE USSHER

Her great-grandfather’s chair sits in the corner of the lounge.

She hopes to use it as a bed and breakfast, although it's been in such hot demand from family and friends that paying guests haven't had much of a look in.

READ MORE:
*Living in a tiny space? Here's how to best decorate it
*Micro loft solution packs a lot of punch in a small space
*What it's like living in a 14sqm tiny house

 

Why do you love Te Awanga? It's a lovely little community and a popular destination for out-of-towners, because it's close to the wineries and the bike trail, and the sea is just across the road. 

What was your vision? I have done a number of houses over the years and have always had a little image in my mind, a vision of something that was white, grey and black, and this little place was it. It needed to have a great bed and a fabulous bathroom – that's what I always look for when I go away. 

Tips for decorating a small space? Don't try to downsize all the furniture in a small home. I think the odd generous-sized piece actually makes the space feel bigger.  

The curtains are made from painter’s drop cloth from Mitre 10 draped over a metal rod: “It’s easy: no sewing, no ...
JANE USSHER

The curtains are made from painter’s drop cloth from Mitre 10 draped over a metal rod: “It’s easy: no sewing, no hemming, no annoying hooks and it looks slightly shabby chic.”

Any tense renovation moments? The kitchen didn't arrive until 9am on the day my first guests were due. I knew it would happen. I thought, "I bet I'll have the flowers in the vase, the sheets on the bed and everything ready to go and I'll still be waiting on the kitchen." Luckily it arrived (and was fitted) two hours before the guests arrived. 

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Why open plan? To make it more spacious. If I'd walled off the bedroom, I would've lost the lovely light. We get a bit precious about bedrooms, but I don't think the bed needs to be hidden away. 

What's your favourite summer memory? When my mum was alive, she came down to the Hawke's Bay one summer and we had a friend deliver a whole bunch of crayfish. We filled the bath and had about seven crayfish in it. The kids were screaming and squealing when we had to "deal with the situation". 

Tina found the coffee table in Havelock North’s Blue Moon years ago – it was covered in many layers of paint, so Tina ...
JANE USSHER

Tina found the coffee table in Havelock North’s Blue Moon years ago – it was covered in many layers of paint, so Tina had to use “a vat of caustic to strip it down” to its raw state.

The zebra hide chair was a find from Blue Moon; the umbrella stand next to it was Tina’s grandfather’s.
JANE USSHER

The zebra hide chair was a find from Blue Moon; the umbrella stand next to it was Tina’s grandfather’s.

The bathroom vanity sits on an old workbench that Tina upcycled.
JANE USSHER

The bathroom vanity sits on an old workbench that Tina upcycled.

The house was previously red; Tina repainted it green and black.
JANE USSHER

The house was previously red; Tina repainted it green and black.

 - NZ House & Garden

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