A beautiful life

When Claire and Alex Price spotted this Papamoa bach their vision was clear: they could see themselves brewing cider and making bread for friends here 

Living the Kiwi dream in a house at the beach while holding down great jobs is a huge accomplishment for a couple of 26 year olds. Especially when that dream is also equipped with a functional studio workspace and a garden full of fruit and veges. Spending weekends adventuring the countryside in their bright blue VW Kombi van, making music from their home studio and taking trips to the beach at every opportunity, Papamoa-based couple Claire and Alex Price have the good life sussed.

Having made a conscious decision early on in their relationship that their lifestyle would always be relatively relaxed, Claire and Alex jumped on the opportunity to purchase their little Papamoa beach house in late 2011.  “We had just got married when this little gem came on the market and we could immediately see how it would enhance our lives,” says Claire. “It had enough space for a garden, the potential to convert the garage into a studio and a large tree to hang our hammock.”

Originally an old farm cottage in the Waikato, the petite two bedroom/one bathroom bach and garage had been relocated to the Papamoa section almost 10 years ago. When the Prices moved in they decided the garage was the best place to begin their renovations – with Claire working as a film photographer and Alex as a music producer, making space for all their equipment was imperative. “Alex was itching to get working on the studio as soon as we moved in,” says Claire. “He was so excited about having his own den to create in.”

The studio was an easy set-up – they just put all their energy into one weekend-long DIY frenzy. Claire painted the studio walls and roof in Resene Pearl Lustre and the floor in black concrete paint, while Alex hammered away at his homemade barn doors. “The garage has beautiful rafters that are reminiscent of a French loft, so we wanted to keep the colours neutral, so we could imagine we were living in Paris for the day,” says Claire.

The weekend renovations were helped along by a trail of friends and family offering a hand or a beer whenever needed. “Having friends come and help makes the house even more special,” Claire says. “It creates new stories and adventures that bring our place to life.”

Words Sammy-Rose Scapens  
Photography Heather Liddell

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