When we visited Sarah and Danny Carlsen, the owners of our cover home (page 68), we were struck by the light and love that fills their recently renovated Auckland bungalow. As New Zealanders are wont to do, the couple have opened the rear of their house to the great outdoors and transformed the kitchen and dining area into their home’s beating heart; this is where all the family action takes place, from preparing and enjoying meals to entertaining friends. We were charmed by the casual vibe of their mismatched chairs and the pared-back chic of their custom-made shelving, as well as the wonderful openness of their living space.
The Carlsens’ home exemplifies how many of us like to live, and in fact, all of the homes we profile this issue let the outside in, whether via a deck or large picture windows, as in the treehouse-like abode on page 94 and the coastal cottage on page 108.
If you’re an urban dweller looking to inject a bit of nature into your life, we’ve got you covered too. We were so impressed by our recent Style Your Space competition winner Ron Goh’s plant-filled living room entry that we had to head back for more. Turn to page 130 to read his tips on how to replicate his apartment’s leafy interior.
Does spring have you itching for a décor shake-up? You’re not alone! Now’s the time to tuck away that winter bed linen and take your living room from snuggly haven to sunny retreat. Living It Up on page 28 is full of ideas for doing so South Pacific-style.
As our cover image suggests, kitchens – along with bathrooms – are a focus of this issue. As the hardest working areas in the house (and often the most expensive to overhaul), any makeover requires good planning. Flip to page 53 for our recommendations on fittings, finishes and furnishings, plus a line-up of winners from the National Kitchen & Bathroom Association Excellence in Design Awards.
One kitchen and bathroom trend we’ve fallen for is the high-impact sophistication of a dark colour palette. The dramatic black kitchen and moody bathrooms in the newly renovated home on page 80 are fine examples of how to hit that sweet spot between glamour and functionality.
On the following pages you’ll also find a host of our latest discoveries, from back-in-vogue wall-mounted lights (page 40) to fabulous outdoor furniture to dine and lounge around on (page 36).