My favourite space: Open plan cottage living room
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.
She hopes to use it as a bed and breakfast, although it's been in such hot demand from family and friends that, so far, paying guests haven't had much of a look in (you can see it on bookabach.co.nz and holidayhouses.co.nz).
In anyone else's hands, a monochromatic colour scheme may have been stark, but Tina has made her cottage into a warm and welcoming space.
The lovely, light-filled living area (which incorporates the bedroom), with its white floors, walls and ceilings, has been warmed up with natural textures and Tina's collection of furniture. "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."
What was your vision for this space? I wanted the sitting room to feel inviting and cosy in winter, but also be pared down a bit to work in the heat of summer. It's very small, so everything in it works hard and has to earn its place. White sofas are a classic and as long as the covers can be washed they work well.
What was your decorating process for this space? From a decorating point of view, it has been one of constant evolvement. So it's not decorating really - it's just function first then making sure everything in it is something I really like. It is a small space so although I move stuff around all the time, the basic layout is pretty restricted.
Did you do any DIY for the cottage? 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. I found the coffee table in Havelock North's Blue Moon years ago - it was covered in many layers of paint, so I had to use a vat of caustic to strip it down to its raw state.
Do you have any 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.
Why did you choose an open-plan style? 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 do you like best about this space? The sitting room is the hub of the small cottage; it's perfect for a couple but easily copes with a crew for a meal or drinks.
- NZ House & Garden