At my place: Fashion designer Beth Ellery
Kiwi fashion designer Beth Ellery lives and works from what she describes as a sunny rock in Auckland's leafy suburb of Mount Albert.
Being both the Ellery workroom and her family home, the house can sometimes be "chaotic".
On the day we visited however, we glimpsed a sleek brick-on-brick arrangement reminiscent of a New York loft, and the satisfying calm between cleaning and children that Ellery so enjoys.
Describe your house in two sentences:
Describe your style in three words:
Eclectic and chaotic.
Where is your home and who lives there with you?
I live in Mount Albert with my husband Sam and our two children.
First thing you do when you get home each day:
I work from home, so I am always at home, and also always at work. I suppose I should go for a walk when I stop work, so that I can both 'leave' work, and 'arrive' home.
Best new buy:
Two Tim Laing bench seats. I met Tim when he dated my sister and had an office job. They don't see each other anymore, and now Tim is a fantastic furniture designer.
He designs very quiet dignified pieces in beautiful materials that I think are timeless.
Proudest DIY moment:
I once sanded back a table and stained it. As that's my only DIY moment it 's also my proudest by default.
Favourite spot to relax (and what do you do there):
I like to sit and look at the cherry tree that takes up most of the garden. Sam put a platform in the bough of the branches which the kids sometimes hang out on.
Before we moved here I had lived in apartments for a long time so watching the leaves turn and blossoms bloom is a real treat for me.
Best kept secret about the area you live in:
The Saturday morning markets at Sprout are good. It's probably not a secret though. And on Friday evenings there are food trucks under the same awning.
Best money I ever spent on the house:
I never spend money on the house.
Favourite way of entertaining:
My workroom is at home, and so are my kids, so my favourite thing is meeting people out for dinner. No cooking, no dishes and the chance to spend time in a different space.
But that isn't practical very often, and I still enjoy having friends at the house, or going to theirs.
Best kitchen tool and why:
We moved out of town briefly, and we weren't near any place to buy coffee so we bought a Rancilio machine. It's the kitchen tool that I use the most.
I can't live without:
There's nothing I can't live without.
Favourite piece of furniture:
Our Tim Laing bench seats are my real favourites, but there is another piece that we use everyday and has sentimental value.
I once had a flat that was partially furnished, when the landlord sold it we bought the chattels from him for $400, which included a wooden table.
That was in 2002, and it has been my dinner table ever since.
I wouldn't choose it in a shop, but it's been with me so long I guess it will always be our dinner table now.
It has been at every dinner party I've ever thrown, it has heard some things!
Favourite artwork or family treasure and why you love it:
We just got a Saskia Leek painting from Ivan Antony Gallery. I loved her paintings all through my 20s and 30s, and it makes me feel like a real grown up to have one on my own wall.
Favourite household appliance:
Who has a favourite household appliance?
One thing I'd like to change around my house:
Our home has a lot of single glazing and no underfloor heating. In a perfect world I would double glaze and insulate, and I would like to own it rather than rent it.
What's your signature dish?
Hah, I certainly don't have one. Sam is a very good cook so for the most part I cook for the kids, and he cooks for the adults.
But if Sam is out of town I make roast chicken from a recipe in 'The Family Meal'.
The recipes have pictures which is helpful for someone like me who is not a great cook.
What's your quickest dinner idea?
Boiled pasta with carrots and broccoli, this is what my kids eat every night.
How do you feel about unannounced guests:
Shoes on or off in your house?
On, the floors are cold.
Favourite/least favourite household chore:
I don't really enjoy any household chores, but I do like the brief moment between the house being clean, and the children messing it up again.
What's one domestic/housework/gardening trick you've learnt over the years?:
Don't dry clothes inside.
Freesias, they smell sweet and they don't look flashy. Our garden is full of freesia bulbs, which was a nice surprise the first year we lived here.
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