My favourite space: Small Auckland living room just the right size

Nicola in her Ponsonby, Auckland apartment.
JANE USSHER/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN

Nicola in her Ponsonby, Auckland apartment.

The first time Nicola Pike visited what is now her small but seriously chic apartment in Ponsonby, Auckland, she walked right back out again.

"I just went 'nope'," says Nicola. "I was here for, literally, about a minute."

Back then, the apartment - located in the Art Deco Penningtons building - bore the scars of years spent as a rental and bore no resemblance to its current incarnation.

Nicola picked up the artwork in her living room from her travels in Asia. 



The Argentinian butterfly chair came from ...
JANE USSHER

Nicola picked up the artwork in her living room from her travels in Asia. The Argentinian butterfly chair came from Blue Moon Collection in Havelock North.

Brick walls separated the tiny kitchen, dining and living rooms, making what was already a very compact space (the apartment is only 60sqm) seem even smaller. "There were walls everywhere," says Nicola.

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But only a few hours after her quick exit, Nicola had a change of heart. "I wanted a project and I got a project."

The renovation of her apartment took a full five months to complete, which included knocking out many of the brick walls.

"There was dust from here to kingdom come."

Nicola insisted on a full-sized dining table and manages to host dinners in her 60sqm apartment.
JANE USSHER

Nicola insisted on a full-sized dining table and manages to host dinners in her 60sqm apartment.

Bit by bit a light bright apartment emerged from the previously boxy space.

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Now, her luxuriously appointed living room brings to mind the timeless chic of a Paris or New York pied-a-terre.

The space includes a sapphire blue velvet sofa, a multitude of light-reflecting mirrors and a rotating selection of artworks.

The Argentinian butterfly chair came from Blue Moon Collection in Havelock North.
JANE USSHER

The Argentinian butterfly chair came from Blue Moon Collection in Havelock North.

"I love how it all came together," says Nicola.

How have you furnished your living room?

I had the Forma couch covered in James Dunlop Chateau velvet in Royale; the Argentinian butterfly chair in the corner and the Wildebeest hide on floor were both from Blue Moon Collection in Havelock North and is draped in a Mongolian sheepskin. The black standard lamp is from David Moreland. In one corner, a vintage Polish cabinet holds old blue medicine bottles collected by my parents, who were both pharmacists.

She loves the simplicity of her kitchen, that's tucked around a corner.
JANE USSHER

She loves the simplicity of her kitchen, that's tucked around a corner.

The light fitting is from a Czechoslovakian schoolroom and was bought at The Vitrine in Auckland and the Mirrors are from Bauhaus in Parnell.

What surprises people about your apartment?

Some people are surprised that everything is full-sized. Often, everything in apartments is half-sized, but I said, if I'm going to live in an apartment, everything has to be full-sized. The other thing that surprises people is what appeared out of the pokey little apartment they first saw - they had no idea it could be made cool!

Do you have any tips for maximising a small space?

Use as many mirrors as you can get away with; less is more in terms of furniture - only have what you love and need in the room. Don't place anything heavy on the floor - it feels bigger if you can see the floor - and  keep furniture away from walls. I don't have any curtains on the windows as I felt they would fill the space too much, have enough cupboards and storage space to be able to put all your stuff' away and, if you can, get rid of as many walls as possible.

Why do you rotate the artworks in your apartment?

A group of friends and I have an art group called The [Ellipsis] Collection that's been going for three years. There are 12 of us and we put in money each year to buy art. We have turns on a buying committee and we love the fact that we get to have a different piece of art on our walls every four months.

What do you like best about this space?

It's bright and airy - it feels like a sanctuary in the middle of the city. And I love my blue velvet sofa.

 

 - NZ House & Garden

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