The Block NZ House 2: Maree & James

These high school sweethearts have created a home that’s sleek and smart.

The couple

These two were made for The Block NZ. Maree, 27, is an event manager, and James, 28, is a property valuer. They love modern aesthetics, and Pasifika motifs such as tapa mats and wood carvings.

“We’ve taken a lot of risks, which is me coming through – I’m not afraid to challenge myself in the colours we’ve used,” says Maree. “James has more of a sophisticated, modern, clean look. Not that he looks sophisticated!”


The big picture

Clean, modern and sophisticated were the qualities Maree and James had in mind when renovating.

“Considering the area we’re in, we wanted to keep things quite natural to

give it a resort feel,” says Maree.

The couple offset industrial fixtures with stone and cement, and used textured timber throughout the house to create a sense of flow.

“We’re quite relaxed people and we wanted to reflect that in the space,” says James. “We want people to instantly feel comfortable when they walk in.”

Even so, they weren’t scared to incorporate a few bold features. Although they were worried a mirrored splashback in the kitchen might look a bit “carnival” Maree says they’re thrilled with the way it adds a luxurious touch, and brings in more light.


The finishing touches

Maree and James have a clean, crisp style dubbed ‘Polished Pasifika’ by the judges. They love to choose a signature colour for each room and use vibrant statement pieces as accents.

But if the couple seem fearless, they had a foolproof method for making crucial decisions.“You’ve got to trust yourself and go with your gut,” says Maree.

James agrees. “A few times Maree would come up with ideas, like with the dark teen’s room, which I wasn’t sure about. She had to convince me. But it really pays off if you go with that initial feeling.”


Words by: Rebecca Barry Hill
Photography by: Scott McAulay
Interior Designer: Maree & James

Create the home of your dreams with Shop Your Home and Garden