Working with colour

SOPHIE PREECE
Last updated 11:55 28/12/2012
Conny van der Geest

At home: Conny van der Geest's table top was replaced with white formica, in another make-do do-up

Black is back
New shade: Black is back in Conny van der Geest’s conservatory, which is impressive in its new shade.
White walls
New life: White walls and a pikelet recipe give new life to an old kitchen.
Striped chairs
New life: These chairs belonged to Pete’s parents and were a bit tired before they were reupholstered five years ago.
 Ruda Suleiman
Latest design: If he has to pick a favourite kitchen, Ruda Suleiman, of Nazareth Joinery, would choose the classic country look, with its framed panel doors and more elaborate detail. The latest design to grace his showhome, however, is a far cry from such traditional styling. The modern plywood kitchen, with bold fuchsia panels against the natural swirling grains of the wood, is about giving people variety, he says. While some go the whole way with the plywood look, others use touches of the product within a white kitchen, softening sleek lines with a hint of texture in a couple of cupboard doors, for example, which ‘‘looks really fantastic’’. The biggest trends for the new year will be soft-close fittings to drawers and doors and solid surface benchtops, especially granite and Ceasarstone, he says.

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Conny van der Geest plans to spend 2013 reinventing the old, reviving the tired and "shimmying up" the boring.

The designer behind vanderCoup Interior Design loves harnessing trends, but is also passionate about giving new life to old bones and making the most of what you have at hand.

"I'm definitely not a throw-away person. As a society, we're way too much like that."

So when she and her husband bought a block of land with a house that "wasn't for us at all", she worked with what she had, first laying commercial grade black-and-white vinyl flooring.

That looks perfect with her latest creation, sleek, black conservatory walls under a Bianca white ceiling, which bounce off light beaming in through the room's many windows.

"I absolutely love it. It's about not being afraid of colour. I think most people would be too scared to do something so radical."

Choosing the right black was hard, and she ended up with eight different draw-downs on her walls, before choosing Resene's All Black, which, unlike many blacks, doesn't have a blue base.

The furniture in the room is again a trick of reinvention, with the top of an old table removed and replaced with white formica, with grey sides, and black fabric used to block the slats in an existing timber cupboard.

"It's nothing flash, but you make do with what you have and you can shimmy it up a little bit."

The kitchen was old but effective, so to give it new life, she painted the entire thing in an enamel semi-gloss white, then popped a pikelet recipe on the wall.

Meanwhile, the living room, which she has painted many times, was recently transformed from its deep red to a fresh pale green, which looks gorgeous with the room's natural tones, including gorgeous mustard-yellow cushions.

The table her father made from an old bridge is still the most precious thing she owns.

"The big thing for me is you walk into someone's home and it should tell you straight away who they are and what they believe in. You don't have to keep everything, but you should keep the special things."

Rules are made to be bent and Denise Dinmore is seeing them steadily lose their grip on home decor styles.

The owner of The Furnishing Centre in Blenheim says many trends run in categories, from stark minimalism to blinged excess, but more people are willing to blur the lines.

"You get your minimalist with very straight lines and white on white or grey on white, which does look very smart, then somebody adds a really stunning traditional chair, and it just gives a wow factor."

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People are also mixing simple casual cane furniture in living areas.

Not being too confined by a certain style can result in a "fabulous" look, but there still have to be a few rules "and that's where we come in".

Retro fabrics with a modern edge are return to the shelves, as well as bold colours on rich fabrics, like velvet.

"I never thought I would see orange and brown again, but it's coming back in.

"We have this lovely chartreuse green to yellow that seems to work well with navy blues and reds and browns.

"And instead of it being a small percentage of a colour in something, it has now become the main focus and it's gorgeous."

- The Marlborough Express

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