My favourite space: Anna Begg's Wanaka living room

Lashings of white paint were needed to rejuvenate the previously dark living and dining areas of Anna Begg's Wanaka home.
JANE USSHER

Lashings of white paint were needed to rejuvenate the previously dark living and dining areas of Anna Begg's Wanaka home.

Anna Begg has loved filling her Wanaka living room with finds from the local recycling centre, the family farm and her world travels. Many of these previously unloved and discarded pieces give Anna's living room "a touch of nostalgia", she says.

Anna had been living overseas for several years when love lured her back to New Zealand, but she'd long yearned for a home of her home. She found a place online quickly, and sent boyfriend Adam and assorted family members to view the would-be purchase.

It's very brown inside, they warned, after visiting the Tudor-style house she had spotted on Trade Me. It's dark and dingy, they told her.

Anna with Bella the German wire-haired pointer/Labrador cross.
JANE USSHER

Anna with Bella the German wire-haired pointer/Labrador cross.

Undeterred, Anna bought the three-bedroom two-storey house anyway.  "It was pretty bad but I loved it. It's like a hidden wee gem, so private that people don't know it's here. The windows had character, there was a beautiful garden with rock walls and a pagoda-type patio that reminded me of Italy."

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She couldn't wait to move in and implement a whiter, lighter plan. The young interior designer (see more of her work at her website theworkroom.boutique) and Adam used lashings of white paint (Dulux 'Half St Clair') to rejuvenate the previously dark living area.

They ripped out the carpets and splashed out on Cavalier Bremworth's Lattice carpet in Amber Glow to create the "clean Scandi aesthetic" Anna wanted.  

She then got stuck into filling it with her clever finds. "I love antiquey things," she says.

The cushions are from IKEA.
JANE USSHER

The cushions are from IKEA.

A scavenging trip to the sheds on her parents' rural property unearthed cane armchairs and a child's writing desk from her grandfather's primary school. The Wanaka Wastebusters recycling centre netted more fantastic furniture finds, including the brass Indian coffee table, which she got for $25, and Adam's mother Jo Baxter has contributed numerous pieces from second-hand stores in Dunedin. Anna bought the comfy corduroy couch off a friend. "A $100 bargain!"

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What are the key features of this space? That would be the painted wood panelling and the square wooden windows, also i like the wall lighting as it creates a nice atmosphere at night the window seat is also quite a cute feature.

How long did it take to transform this space? Once we'd painted, it took around a week to put everything in the right place, but it's still a work in progress, as I'm always waiting until I find the right piece for the space.

The old children's desk, from Anna's grandfather's primary school, was pulled out of a shed on her parents farm.
JANE USSHER

The old children's desk, from Anna's grandfather's primary school, was pulled out of a shed on her parents farm.

Were there any challenges during the process? The huge beams means it's challenging to do anything structural to the house. We have to work with the space.

How would you describe your decorating style? An eclectic fusion of raw, organic and vintage.

What's your best decorating tip for others? Paint everything white!

The cane chairs are from her parents farm.
JANE USSHER

The cane chairs are from her parents farm.

What do you like best about this space? The room gets all-day sun, yet it's very private, and the windows are just the right height to look into the garden. And the character of the wood paneling - like a wee gingerbread house.

 - NZ House & Garden

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