Industrial style, a little French country and grunge luxe is mixed to perfection in this spacious family home in Masterton
Building a house from scratch isn’t an easy endeavour, but after working on their first home and loving the process, Masterton locals Danielle (Dani) and Johnny Burkhart took a gamble the hot property market would remain. They put their home up for sale in 2016 and bought a nearby piece of land they had their eyes on – an elevated section with breathtaking views of the Wairarapa.
Thankfully, the house sold quickly and they embarked on building their dream family home, taking the lessons learned from the first time around to nail it the second time.
The busy couple wanted their home to enable them to live “their best lives”, while making the flow of family life work for everyone. “We wanted the home to suit our kids from the toddler years right through to their teens, while also allowing Johnny space for his hobbies and my endeavours,” says Dani. With Dani full-time buying, designing clothing and managing her brand, and Johnny away for long periods several times a year, they juggle parenting with each other’s work demands.
The family’s weekends are full. Johnny was a professional motocrosser until an accident, but the passion for the sport remains, so they attend motocross events most weekends while fitting in fitness goals, home projects and family adventures.
With the typical delays and additional earthworks needed for the property, the couple rented locally for 18 months during the build.
Life was hectic during this time, and baby Blake had arrived, so they decided to engage friends to manage the design and build, Flair Housing & Design and Totem Construction.
“Johnny was busy working and we had a newborn at the time. I was also trying to manage my business from home on self-employed maternity leave so we decided it would be easier to get someone to manage the build rather than being really hands-on ourselves like the previous build. We focused on other jobs and my contribution was more to do with the aesthetics”.
They’ve pulled it off, creating a stunning designer home with every detail well considered and executed. They officially moved in, in April 2018, and the Burkharts couldn’t be happier with the result. The home is much larger than their first, clocking in at an expansive 463sqm including garaging to support their fitness equipment and toys, generous living and kitchen spaces, with a focus on outdoor flow to take advantage of the stunning picturesque backdrop beyond.
After pulling into the driveway it’s obvious this home is a stand-out. Laid out in a giant E configuration, the three-pronged wings include a bedroom section, the living area and visitors’ quarters with private lounge.
The rough, concrete-look exterior finish paired with a grey roof and joinery is a unique design element the couple laboured over. “We worked hard with the plasterers to reach the desired texture. They were amazing and we’ve landed on our dream finish – it’s exactly what we envisioned. It’s the feature visitors most often comment on.”
With a big family and guests coming and going, the indoor/outdoor flow draws attention out to the stunning views of the Wairarapa. The rolling grass out front connected to the neighbours creates a great local vibe. “All the neighbours’ kids and dogs run around together, which is pretty cool.”
Indoors, the spacious home strikes the ideal balance of refined aesthetic, with clean lines and airy spaces, alongside cosy, comfortable areas to relax.
The large open plan living area is the space Dani spent the most time styling. With raw timber beams supported by black steel plates, draped in black pendant lights, the room feels moody but homely. Dani opted for black sheer curtains to soften the light throughout this living space and the hallway to enhance the grunge-luxe vibe she loves.
With earthy concrete flooring and high beams, Dani has used soft textures, rugs and drapes to help minimise the noise, while warming each space. “The flooring is also practical for riding scooters and trikes inside.” During the colder months, the grand fireplace provides ample heating for this open space.
To the far right of the home is a second enclosed lounge with a classic French country tone rather than the edgy industrial style seen elsewhere in this abode. With linen couches, French antiques and blush pink and monochrome accents, this cosy room is perfect for reading and unwinding.
“We had some heritage pieces in our previous home, which I still love. We found the cabinet at Country Trader in Greytown. It was a French cleaning cupboard from the 1800s, which I fell in love with it, so I had to make it work. With its dramatic height, getting it into the lounge was a challenge.”
The striking black kitchen is drenched in sun during the day, with skylights incorporated into the ceiling to let extra light in – a smart addition with the ceiling height lower than the rest of the living area. Johnny put his skills to good use by engineering the hanging shelf, home to Dani’s growing plant gang.
“Our previous kitchen was all white so we decided to go for a more industrial look this time. Living in this space kind of feels like an urban cafe. We wanted a decent scullery in this kitchen – which gets a lot of use, and this space is smaller than our last kitchen but I feel it’s more functional. Our dishwashers have been built into the bench and the attached trestle table is surrounded by large sliding doors so this area is amazing for entertaining.
Johnny and Dani wanted a restful, moody luxe feeling bedroom and ensuite. “We played with the idea of making the view the feature to make use of the serene outdoors. A window in the shower and bi-fold doors certainly brings the outdoors in. In the morning, taking a quiet dark shower to start your day is the ultimate. We use our bath all the time and open the doors to enjoy the evening sky and fresh air.” They sourced dark tiles, contrasted with a white bath and accessories, which gives Dani a clean canvas to experiment with different colours over time. A custom-made vanity in American oak connects with the timber throughout the home.
While the couple share an industrial style with an urban street vibe, Dani adds her feminine touch to soften the interior spaces, pulling together a striking style.
“I think this aesthetic has formed through influences from my fashion background and Johnny’s motocross background and his love for all things engineering – we are both creative in different ways while sharing the same taste. The physical aesthetic of my store has slowly started to match our aesthetic at home, which I think is a result of my constant fashion buying, style analysis and desire for fluidity. We both try to shop local and support local businesses and take inspiration from a lot of our creative friends, art, home decor imagery and local stores.”
With Dani’s eye for detail and design concepts and Johnny’s practical handiwork skills, working well as a team has always been a strength, which has led to many joint projects over the years.
“Johnny is extremely practical and clever when it comes to making things. He loves working with steel – he made our pillars at the entrance, plus the X sculpture by the garden and is forever building, fixing and designing new things. Quite often I come home and he has built something, created a new garden or whipped up a thing I’ve needed. We rarely disagree.”
They agree that this is their “forever home”, but have a few minor projects in the pipeline. “We have landscaping plans for the front of the house, dramatic front gates that Johnny is engineering and maybe we’ll add a pool at some stage. We also enjoy learning about gardens so we plan to expand our knowledge with that and slowly tweak more corners of the home.”
Words by: Holly Jean Brooker. Photography by: Anna Briggs.