High St to home: Maranui Cafe

Bronwyn Kelly and Katie Richardson are co-owners of the Maranui Cafe.
CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Bronwyn Kelly and Katie Richardson are co-owners of the Maranui Cafe.

It's fortunate the owners of the Mananui Cafe have a good eye because they had to fit out the iconic Wellington eatery not once but twice.

The first time was in 2003, when the seaside cafe opened on the second floor of the Maranui Surf Lifesaving Club.

The second was in 2010, nearly a year after an electrical fire devastated the 1911-built wooden building which housed both the cafe and New Zealand's second oldest surf club.

"The whole place was gutted and we lost almost everything," says co-owner Bronwyn Kelly.

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Especially devastating was the fact that most of the historic Surf Club pieces, such as trophies and a membership board, were unable to be replaced.

But the owners, together with Surf Club members, rolled up their sleeves and set about recreating the "eclectic Kiwiana surf club house" ethos that aligns with the cafe's coastal setting.

Based in a heritage building, the cafe's vintage style is a good fit.
Cameron Burnell/Fairfax NZ

Based in a heritage building, the cafe's vintage style is a good fit.

"Having a vintage style also works because we're based in a heritage building," adds Kelly. ​

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Post-fire they kept much the same layout and called on a raft of locals to help decorate the space. First up was Weta designer Genevieve Cooper, who distressed the walls with paint and built the wooden boat that hangs above the counter.

Wellington steelwork artist Andrew Missen created the chairs and the coffee machine surround, while local designer/artist Mark Ussher added colourful plywood table tops that hark back to a bygone era.

The cafe owners are keen to provide a 'unique experience' for diners.
Cameron Burnell/Fairfax NZ

The cafe owners are keen to provide a 'unique experience' for diners.

"It's all about giving people a unique experience away from the big city, somewhere with amazing views and great food," says Kelly.

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But which elements of the Maranui Cafe can you recreate in your own home? Quite a few, says Kelly.

CARVE IT UP

A 'wall' of vintage oars, painted various colours, helps to delineate the cafe's 150sqm space, creating separate zones and making it feel more intimate.

Wellington builder Rico Lane found the oars in the basement of the Surf Club and used them to break up the floor space.

Similarly, Missen created the two 1.5m metal 'ribbon' screens, painted bright colours, which create a further division.

A 'wall' of vintage oars is a cool way to create separate zones.
Cameron Burnell/Fairfax NZ

A 'wall' of vintage oars is a cool way to create separate zones.

"It's a fun way to play with space without creating a solid wall," says Kelly. "I can  definitely see such a screen being used in a garden to great effect."

BE BOLD

Missen created the cafe's colourful, quirky counter from old car bonnets. The Maranui Cafe's sister site around the corner, Queen Sally's Diamond Deli, has also re-purposed four litre olive oil tins for its counter.

"The tins could be cut open and used in the home as a splash-back or on the front of a kitchen island," suggests Kelly.   

The 'eclectic Kiwiana surf club house' ethos aligns with the cafe's coastal setting.
Cameron Burnell/Fairfax NZ

The 'eclectic Kiwiana surf club house' ethos aligns with the cafe's coastal setting.

LIGHT IT UP

Several of the cafe's lights hail from an old factory and were found on Trade Me, as were the large taxidermy fish dotted around the cafe walls.

"Vintage items can be increasingly hard to find, but if you're patient and keep a look out, you'll often be rewarded with a great one-off piece."

TAKE A LOAD OFF

Try thinking outside the box when creating seating options.
Cameron Burnell/Fairfax NZ

Try thinking outside the box when creating seating options.

The cafe's purpose-built vinyl seating incorporates surf flags and was the work of Jim Kandiliotis of Wellington's Revamp Upholstery. Kelly says homeowners should think outside the box when creating seating options.

"Find a great upholsterer who will be able to help you incorporate a personal element into your seating."

HIT THE HIGH NOTES

A ply ceiling into which holes have been cut was designed to help manage the volume level.

"The back was lined with an acoustic insulation to help soften the noise. So while it has a practical purpose, it also looks great. It's something that homeowners could definitely incorporate into a space with a high stud."

 - Stuff

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