Home Tours

Inside Alex and Corban’s stylish Whananaki holiday home

Inbetween winning The Block in 2014, launching a successful homeware business and starting a family, Alex and Corban built a holiday home in Whananaki. We take tour through their stylish space

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Inside Alex and Corban’s stylish Whananaki holiday home

In August 2012, a few months prior to getting married, Alex and Corban Walls purchased a vacant section in Whananaki, on the east coast of Northland. “Corban and I met in Whananaki many years ago, so it was already a pretty special place for us,” says Alex. “We had been looking for a coastal property for some time, with the sole intention of building a family holiday home, and chanced across this beautiful site.”


Fraser Horton.

Alex, where have you saved money?
We have bought some secondhand furniture, built a lot ourselves, and anything we did purchase was quite basic and was mixed in with props and smaller interior items to make the styling interesting. We saved a lot of money on labour, with Corban taking on a lot of it himself.

Any splurges?
The sofa, which we bought just recently. It is such an important piece of furniture for the house, so we just splurged and got this large modular couch from Nood.

What was your best buy and why?
Definitely the cedar hot tub! It was $800 and we use it every day we are there.

Disasters? One of the large glass window panels fell out onto the deck of the truck while the containers were being transported up north. It sat there the entire trip without us realising until we got to site. It was a 300kg panel so it wasn’t going anywhere – but it gave us a shock. Also, when we were installing the septic system, the tide came in and flooded the septic tank right out of the ground (we are only 40 metres back from the water).

Best memory in your bach?
We got married at a beach just up the road, and around our wedding week we had a lovely time with family and friends at the house, planning and getting ready for the day. We have since spent many weekends with our friends and large groups in the house and it is filled with lots of lovely memories.

What would you never do again?
There are a few! 1. Put plywood in a kitchen, at least not around areas which can be splattered by cooking fats. 2. Lay paving at a bach – battling the weeds makes it too high maintenance. 3. Use dark tiles in a bathroom that has minimal natural light.

Best lesson learned?
Take your time. What’s your hurry in building? The building is going to be there for a long time, so do it once and do it right. You need to take care when installing or designing things for the house. Our tight deadline meant that we rushed a lot of things in the build and have had to go back and repair things or re-think layouts. This was a huge lesson for us, and has helped us in subsequent projects as we now allow time for design and installation.

What’s your advice for others considering a renovation or new-build?
Don’t set yourselves a three-month deadline! That was just crazy-stupid. If you need to cut costs, try to do tasks yourselves, like painting, landscaping and general labouring. It helps tradies to be effective. Get savvy with recycled materials and re-purposing.



Steal their style

+ Wayfarer cushion, $59.99, from Alex & Corban.
+ Rangitoto bar stool, $299, from Yoyo.
+ Purl Stitch throw, $139.99, from Citta.
+ Tristan throw, $54.95, from Freedom.
+ Modular sofa, from $499 a piece, from Nood.
Armadillo & Co Berber Knot Zulu rug, from $1675, from The Ivy House.
Johnny wire chair, $185, from Cintesi.
+ Bell basket ceiling pendant, $149, from Freedom.
+ Rattan Coffee table, $399, from Shut the Front Door.

Words by: Annick Larkin. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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