Home Tours

An explosion of colour transformed this family home

Paint and wallpaper transformed a boring beige former rental in Nelson into a true family home

Meet & greet

Carley (interior designer) and Bryn Lloyd (head coffee roaster and coffee company owner), and children Beau, 11, Lilou, seven, and Felix, five.

The property

A bach-like 1990s seaside home next to Māpua Wharf on the Tasman Bay coastline. The house spans 110sqm and sits on a 947sqm site. Prior to the Lloyds moving in in 2021, it had been a rental for 17 years.

Carley Lloyd’s business ethos is alive and shining brightly in her own home. Her website claims that her business – aptly including the word “Colourbolt” – is all about “putting the brakes on beige interiors”. And colour abounds at her home in Māpua, near Nelson.

Originally decorated white and beige when Carley, her husband Bryn and their three children first moved in, these days the house is a brave celebration of colour, with only the ceilings, architraves and skirting boards painted in Resene Alabaster, with white kitchen cabinetry. One day, when a new kitchen arrives to replace what came with the house, it will be pink.

“Colour really makes me happy. It makes me stop and appreciate my surroundings everywhere I go. I appreciate its vibrancy. I dream in colour and am constantly thinking of colour combos,” Carley explains. “We spend so much time in our homes, why wouldn’t you decorate in a way that makes you feel really good when you come home?”

The backstory

It’s not just colour that Carley and Bryn are brave about – making major lifestyle changes are also part of their story. Up until two years ago they lived in Wellington where Bryn worked in the corporate world, and Carley was a primary school teacher.

“Then we tipped our worlds upside down. We grew up in Nelson and never thought we’d move back. But we had three kids and no family in Wellington. It’s nice our parents are part of their lives on a daily basis now,” says Carley.

Living in Māpua village was a non-negotiable. Carley and Bryn wanted their children to be able to bike out the front gate to school. And, after living on a steep Wellington section, they were after a flat site.

They essentially bought the house sight unseen – with only seven photos as indicators.

It was the section that sold it, Bryn tells, being big, flat and right next to the wharf (they can see their coffee roastery business, Rabbit Island Coffee Co, from home). As for the house, they could see it had potential. Carley, who had started her interior design business before they moved, was itching to make changes.

“I trained while I was on maternity leave with Felix to figure out if interior design was a hobby or something I really wanted to do,” says Carley.

The move to the top of the South Island occurred shortly after they had fully renovated their Wellington home. Leaving that house was tough, Carley admits. And yes, it too was bright and incorporated beautiful wallpaper. Its paint colours were more subdued than what they have now though.

Carley appreciates that their children are very observant about colour now, and says that her husband isn’t fazed by it. “He knows I can create a good-looking space so he’s very open to anything I suggest. He has said no once – that was when I painted the decking balustrades pink at our Wellington house. He vetoed them as soon as he got home, so I quickly painted them red.”

House transformation

Carley says her family is good at making the best of what’s in front of them. Their focus has been on changing the look of their home’s interiors, rather than launching into structural alterations.

Extensions have been discussed and plans drawn up, but there’s no big rush. “If we can throw some paint and wallpaper into the mix, and turn it from house to home, we are okay,” says Carley.
Every single surface has changed – that’s the walls, carpet, window treatments, and tiling. The first thing the Lloyds tackled was repainting and wallpapering the lounge, which is upstairs and looks down into the hallway and kitchen. It felt more like home, with those walls dealt to, Carley says, adding that she thinks the wallpaper – chosen during Wellington days – beat them to Māpua.

“There was no way I could have lasted more than the six months with the beige walls,” she says. “They had to be changed and we changed them really fast. Within the first month, the first walls were painted and by six months, the whole inside was done, except the bathroom.”

The home is split level. At ground zero is the main bedroom and ensuite in what was once a carport. A little quirk that came with the house was a downstairs sauna. Carley wasn’t a fan, so it’s now a wardrobe. The middle level of the house features the kitchen, family bathroom and two children’s bedrooms (the youngest two share, enabling Beau, who’s fast approaching his teenage years, to have some privacy.)

At the back half of the section, the shrubs were removed and replaced with native trees to make it a more usable space for children to play. Plus, the opportunity to enjoy wharf jumping is less than a minute’s walk away.

Carley says their home is by no means perfect, but they love it and it suits the ages and stages of their children and their current lifestyle.

Adding the colour

Carley says her infatuation with colour started early. “My parents were amazing. They let me choose my bedroom colours and Dad had my bedroom doors sprayed yellow. I still love yellow – it’s great when you need a colour pop.”

That love of a colour pop, and yellow, has continued through the years. Carley says she suggests to clients that they work with three colours. It’s a practise she has adopted at Māpua, with variations of green, blue and pink.

“When I look at a house as a cohesive piece it has to tie together with contrasts within the three selected colours. But you can break the rules sometimes,” she laughs, nodding at her hallway’s oak dresser, which was inherited from her grandma. Carley had it sprayed high gloss yellow to give it a new life and an arched storage unit alongside it was painted “bright, bright pink”. “It’s like having a pink Ferrari in the hallway,” Carley says.

As for the three key colours, Resene Green Meets Blue (a dark green with blue undertones) was chosen for the kitchen. It’s dark and makes the kitchen a specific zone, Carley says. Downstairs in the main bedroom, an entirely different green appears on a feature wall. Called Resene Greenhouse, it’s a grass colour to tie in with the room’s walls of exposed timber.

The lounge upstairs has two walls of botanically themed wallpaper, which with their huge banana leaves, delivers a bit of a ’70s vibe. The wallpaper’s background colour is similar to the kitchen’s paint colour – important, Carley says, given one room can be seen from the other. Resene Indian Ink was selected for the lounge’s other walls. It’s super dark – almost black, but that makes for a cosy space, Carley points out.

The smallest room in the house hasn’t escaped the paint brush, which has been dipped in a bright blue. The hallway, meanwhile, is a very light grey-toned Resene Karen Walker Blanched Pink and Carley has continued this hue to cover one wall of the kitchen.

“It links the spaces, then the other kitchen colours create a zone,” she explains.

Rooms that wow

Eldest son, Beau, can lay claim to a standout bedroom. With a little help from his mum, he chose a wallpaper from Swedish company Rebel Walls, that produces an “amazing, mural-like” product that’s laid like wallpaper. Beau opted for a graffiti wall, offset by walls of dark blue (Resene Liquorice).

“His room has a high-pitched ceiling, drawing the eye to the top, so the graffiti wall looks extra amazing here. He loves it and his friends do too,” says Carley.

While the youngest two children will one day get their own rooms when the extension plans go ahead, they’re happy sharing for now. It’s not only the Kitty McCall wallpaper that works well in this room, the wooden bunk configuration does too – one bed for each child, plus a spare for a friend.

It’s a small room, so the U-shaped Magic of Wood bunks, which take up only a corner were a smart inclusion that Carley recommends.

Kitty McCall wallpaper features on all walls in the bedroom shared by Lilou and Felix and its inhabitants love its splashes of colour, plus it looks as if someone has drawn all over the walls.

Carley’s gone to the same source for three of the bathroom and laundry’s walls, with this wallpaper featuring a dark blue background and a hand-drawn flower look. The remaining wall is in Resene Gelato, a girly pink.

Mood lifters

Since moving in two years, it’s now not hard to spot the Lloyd family’s home. Once beige, it was painted black over lockdown. The outside table and bench seats is a bright gelato pink, and the balustrade and Cape Cod chairs are painted a summery green-blue, which Carley describes as appropriately beachy.

“People often say to me, ‘You are so brave with colour’,” she says. “I know it’s not going to appeal to everyone. But our home’s an example of how different colours can work and how they can make you feel.”

Words by: Monique Balvert-O’Connor. Photography by: Daniel Allen

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