Interiors experts share their aspirations for the new year

Interiors experts from around Aotearoa share what will be changing in their own homes

Penny Fussell, Interior designer at M.Int Interiors, Napier

It’s an occupational hazard that I’m always finding pieces I’d love in our home, but with so many beautiful fabrics and furniture on offer, it’s hard to decide.

However, for my next project I’ll refresh the cushions in our lounges. We’ve been in our new home for four years and it’s time to freshen things up. The neutral colour palette on our walls makes it easier to add new colours and changing cushion covers doesn’t have to be a big expense. I look for off-cuts from curtainmakers or interior designers; op-shops sometimes sell fabric people never get around to using. It also works well to mix a high-end cushion with a cheaper one. I’ll be using a combination of off-cuts I can’t get rid of, plus new fabric.

I want to paper a wall in the bathroom for a second project. After we moved into our newly built home, I found that it takes a while to add ‘layers’ and make it feel lived in. The current trend of grey-based neutrals can mean new homes are a little soulless, and we have to work harder to inject our personality. I’ve been eyeing up an English wallpaper; I only need one roll to inject vibrancy and colour, cheering me up each day.

Pippa Fay, Illustrator, Auckland

I have to finish the stuffed animals and floor cushions I started making from my huge stash of silk kimono fabric. These were projects I started in 2020 and haven’t had the time to finish. I love the colour combinations, patterns and weaves of Japanese kimonos; every time I see them, I impulse buy with no plan and now I have a mountain of second-hand kimonos in my wardrobe.

My illustrations inspired me to make toys, and the cushions were initially something I made for my home. Hopefully, next year, they’ll make great gifts, reuse recycled materials and free some space in my wardrobe.” @pippa_fay

Amber Wallace, Creative director at Madisons, Napier

My next project is converting my garage into a studio. I’m going to lighten it up and remove the roller door. I’ve been on the hunt for some French doors that will open out into my soon-to-be lush, tropical garden. I’d like to create a little sanctuary; a place to slow down, be free from the noise and be surrounded by my favourite treasures. Also, I want to have fun with making and sourcing, surrounding myself with humans and spaces that feed the soul and let this reflect in the product and projects we complete. I’m keen to learn from and work alongside some of the amazing local artists and makers we have in Hawke’s Bay, and work towards creating a few bespoke pieces/ranges for our store.

Amanda Holland, owner at small Acorns, Wellington

My home is a work in progress as I change things around, repaint and reupholster. I recently repurposed a bedroom as my home office, and other than move a desk into the space, nothing has changed yet. I plan to decorate it with patterned wallpaper, a striped Roman blind and artwork. I’d also like to feature a memorabilia wall using nice cards and images I’ve collected. I’m excited to make the space into a ‘room of one’s own’; a room that feels fresh, creative and inspirational.

Caitlin Dow, Product designer at Nightworks Studio, Christchurch

I plan to diversify my skill set by learning how to weld. I have always loved being hands-on and design best when I immerse myself fully in the process. Being capable of designing and making my own creations is very motivating to me. I plan to make my own furniture, products and art pieces. I grew up surrounded by homemade furniture, homewares, toys and artwork made by my parents and family. I think it is a really beautiful process to be capable of creating your own things.

Maree Henry, Owner, Henry Trading store, Lyttelton

By the end of summer, I’d like to have all of my plants off the windowsill and hanging on their own. I plan to commission a blacksmith and ceramic artist to fabricate metal baskets to hang new plant pots from; the plants will form a green ceiling, framing the view. This comes from me needing to re-pot a 20-year-old hoya plant; it’s quite old and beautiful. It was simply an old cutting I took years ago. All of my plants are in a nine-metre-long porch at the front of my Lyttelton home. It’s an old villa that has been reworked over time. I like to sit out there among the plants, read a book and look out the window over the harbour.

Joska Easterbrook, Designer and founder of Joska & Sons, Lyttelton

I plan on renovating a classic 1970s Sprite pop-top caravan. We bought it at the end of last summer, needing to upgrade our camping set-up. When I took the kids away for the first night in it, I realised I was a little too tall to lay in the bed as it is – it’s quite narrow. This means a full strip out and reconfiguration is on the cards, including making a bunk bed for our seven- and three-year-olds. I’d like to keep the outside retro and modernise the inside. We love being in nature and want to spend a lot of time adventuring around New Zealand as a family.

Michael Nation, Founder and head potter at Westcoast Stoneware, Raglan

I look forward to diving deeper into the art side of the ceramic craft, starting with making a personal dinner set for my home. This will be something my partner and I can keep in our kitchen and use on a daily basis as the main dinner set. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Taking inspiration from the Raglan landscape, this would be reflected in the shape and colourway, using techniques like free-form to bring an earthy aspect to it. Experimenting with creating glazes is where we bring the pieces to life. I also look forward to working with alternate firings such as raku and sagger, which allows natural material and fire combustion to really paint the piece in a unique way.

Katie Scott, Director of Sticks + Stones Design, Auckland

After this crazy year in the building industry, with all its ups and downs and sideways curveballs, I’d like to create a no-work or phone zone for relaxing and a small library to enjoy with my toddler. Somewhere to let life slow a little and chill. It’s important to have this when work is all go, go, go and time flies when you’re busy. I love my job, so relaxing can be dreaming of projects and potential designs.

Sometimes the noise of running a company doesn’t leave a lot of brain space for these creative ideas so making a space in my home that will be the relaxation zone is my 2023 resolution. I’m thinking of a window seat with comfy cushions, a small library and a record player.

Kathrine McDonald, Interior designer at Kathrine McDonald Design, Mount Maunganui

I want to bring our family bach at Rainbow Point in Taupō back to life. It has a neck-breaking spiral staircase leading up to a space with old lino, an awkward green sink, clunky cupboard and metal bunks. But we always congregate in this space – the ‘sunset lounge’ – as it has views over Lake Taupō and the evening sun is gorgeous.

I’ll follow a strict budget, but with new carpet and curtains, paint, wide-blade venetian blinds and two beautiful fold-out Lola sofas from Bauhaus, I’ll turn this ugly duckling into something special.

Words by: Catherine Steel

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