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A young Christchurch family find their very own country cottage

Damage to their bungalow following the Christchurch earthquakes prompted this family to reconnect with their country roots and rework a cute little cottage

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A young Christchurch family find their very own country cottage

Libby Chambers, primary school teacher and artist, Aaron Chambers, aerial and fibre optic technician, Will, 5, and Lachie, 3.


What’s next on the redecorating list?
The kitchen needs a makeover. It will be a phased project: replace the pantry and door fronts, extend the benchtop, and extend the dining area.

Is the house warm?
We will probably double glaze the south-facing windows eventually but we have a log burner with a heat transfer kit and that has been amazing.

Do you have any plans to extend the footprint of the home?
We want to continue the veranda – which currently wraps around two sides of the house – for more outdoor living. We will replicate the detail on the front so hopefully it will look as though it has always been there.

What, if any, are the limitations of your home?
Storage has been a bit of a nightmare. We sold all our wardrobes when we moved into our last home as the wardrobes were built in. I am always on the lookout for trunks, chests, boxes or suitcases that look the part and can be useful.

Libby’s top style tips

  • In an old home, anything goes. You can mix and match furniture from many eras and in all sorts of styles. Hunt out old pieces and give them a new lease of life. It’s the responsible way to go, plus old things are often better crafted and made to last, and your home will not look the same as everyone else’s.
  • Decorate to suit your stage in life. For us, shabby chic works well. We have kids tearing in and out of sandpits, going down their dirt mountain on bikes and scooters, so we’ve filled our home with robust things that can take the knocks without it mattering.
  • If you have children, get them involved. Kids love bright colours so let them choose the paint for feature walls or pieces of furniture. The boys are right into yellow at the moment, so we have a yellow hall table, bathroom shelf and even a bright yellow laundry!
  • Modify new stuff. We couldn’t find old bunks that had the storage and safety of new ones so Aaron added old rimu to the sides of the new bunks and now they don’t look like they’re from a chain store.

Words by: Ady Shannon. Photography by: Kate Claridge.

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