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An elegant black barn style home with a Hamptons-inspired interior

Intent on creating a luxe holiday at home vibe, an Auckland couple took inspiration from coastal Hamptons sophistication and Hawke’s Bay landmark Black Barn Vineyards

While most of us look forward to escaping everyday life with long weekends in the holiday hotspots of Hawke’s Bay or Queenstown, Sarah and Matt Cotterall took it one step further. Instead of waiting for occasional weekends of luxury, they made their home a retreat that doesn’t need escaping from – a particularly savvy move given our somewhat closed borders and lockdown stints.

When the Cotteralls first bought their home in Auckland’s Coatesville, more than five years ago, they saw it as a blank canvas they could put their personal stamp on. The house was only three years old and had plenty of scope for them to add finishing touches and bring it into line with their style of living.

They were drawn to the look of the house, all black and chic, taking its design cues from Hawke’s Bay’s popular high-end venue, Black Barn. With four bedrooms, two large living spaces and a 10,000sqm section in an established country-like suburb, they knew that – with a little work – it would be the perfect family home for them and their two children, Ella and Josh.

Making it home

Since moving in, Sarah and Matt have extensively upgraded the home’s interior with a number of changes that have included renovating the kitchen to give it a modern rustic look, upgrading the laundry and adding a walk-in wardrobe in the main bedroom.

In keeping with their Hamptons beach-living vibe, they also added panelling to the main living and hall walls and installed shutters in the bedrooms and living areas. The powder room was tiled in a stone-look finish to reflect the rustic aesthetic of the exterior.

But much of what has made this house a home hasn’t been the changes they’ve made, but what they’ve filled it with.

“Both Matt and I love art and have filled the house with beautiful works from well-known New Zealand artists. We are lucky to share a similar style,” says Sarah.

“Some of our favourite pieces are by New Zealander Piera McArthur – she was born in 1929 and is still painting today. We love her jovial and vibrant style. We also have a large David Bromley in our family room and an early Ian Scott from the 1970s.”

Furniture has been carefully chosen for the feeling it evokes, not to fit a particular ‘trend’. Like the old French antique post office filing cabinet that dates back to the late 1800s. Or the French antique dresser from the late 1800s that sits at the entrance – “I love the beautiful hand-carved detail against some of our more modern pieces,” says Sarah, founder and owner of popular jewellery brand Silk & Steel.

“As a jewellery designer, I’m always drawn to design, colour and texture and how pieces work in harmony to define a space and create a distinctive mood. I love minimal offset with a touch of drama; beautiful timeless pieces and objects that tell a story.” Sarah’s most recent – and favourite – purchase is a beautiful Kelly Wearstler table lamp that takes pride of place in the family room. “I love white on white and the bold texture of the lamp is a standout feature that grounds the space. It was a splurge but it’s artwork.”

Creative spaces

While the main living areas are neutral in tone – “relaxed luxury vibe with a chic Hamptons style,” Sarah quips – colour has been used in other rooms to add warmth and interest. Like the rich sapphire-blue rug in the room where Sarah spends a lot of time designing
her jewellery line.

“This room is my creative work space/entertaining lounge and where I spend hours designing and entertaining. I also love to use this room for Silk & Steel photo shoots. With its gem-like colours and trinkets on display, it really is like a jewellery box.”

The bookshelf was from a local designer and is a main feature of the room, its shelves showcasing different pieces the couple have collected on
their travels – from African carvings to Sumatran coral found by Matt on one of his intrepid surf trips. It also houses some of Sarah’s vast collection of fashion and jewellery books she uses for inspiration, as well as her Silk & Steel couture and vintage pieces, which are displayed like pieces of art.

Main retreat

The Cotteralls’ main bedroom has a touch of whimsy with its safari theme. The safari-style bed suite is from Restoration Hardware and they added zebra-print stools for an extra bit of safari drama. A feature wall of flamingos using Arte wallcovering, sourced from Trendzeater, complete the safari vibe. The result is something that wouldn’t be out of place in a high-end boutique hotel.

The outdoor living

But perhaps the biggest difference they’ve made to their home has been landscaping the property, turning it into an entertainer’s dream. They added
a large pool, spa area and two large all-weather outdoor loggia areas, each with an open fireplace.

“We love to entertain and always have people popping in. We spend a lot of time by the pool with friends and family in summer and in winter with the fires on… and then we move to the other side where we eat dinner outdoors in our large dining space that comfortably seats up to 10 people. We get so much use out of each outdoor area,” Sarah says.

The gardens are incredible, particularly given the fact that they are a result of some impressive DIY.

“Matt did all the landscaping himself. He has some serious green fingers and invested many hours in planting and sculpting the garden,” Sarah says.
He created hedging using Ficus tuffi, Eugenia and Griselinia to add structure to the gardens. Mondo softens the look of concrete pavers, magnolias give height and winter blooms, liquid amber trees go a deep red hue in autumn, and star jasmine sprawls along the garden beds, adding scent and delicate white flowers in spring. Careful planting choices mean the outlook is beautiful all year round.

There’s also an established orchard area with fig trees, apples, apricots, pears, plums, peaches, feijoa, mandarins and lemons. They’re boxed with authentic old railway sleepers the couple sourced from Queenstown. The entry gate and front wall schist was sourced from Otago, which has been bagged to give it that rustic central Otago aesthetic.

Future plans

The Cotteralls’ hard work and vision has turned their home into the perfect respite from their busy jobs and they love it.

“The house is very much about relaxed and effortless luxury. It’s very easy to live in and enjoy. We love the open-plan living areas, high stud and the beautiful natural light we get year-round. It’s always warm in winter, and in summer we love to open up all the doors to give us an amazing indoor-outdoor flow to the garden and outdoor living areas. It’s a great house to open up to friends and family for entertaining. We’ve got plans to renovate the main ensuite and possibly add a tennis court, but we’ll be here for many years yet,” Sarah says.

With a home like this, why would they need to go anywhere else?

Words by: Debbie Harrison. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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