Home Tours

How a new Queenstown homestead achieved an open and airy feel

Open and airy white spaces have been sketched in with black accents, rustic wood and touchable, organic accessories in this bright homestead in Queenstown

Meet and greet

Justine McLellan, owner of Kinsfolk online store and customs officer, Carrick McLellan, operator of Sunrise Balloons, Fletcher, 6, Carter, 4, and Milla, 9 months, plus dogs Buddy and Olly.

How a new Queenstown homestead achieved an open and airy feel

Best lessons learned?
Justine: Things never happen as quickly as you’d like. Expect delays and expect to make last-minute changes when things don’t go quite to plan or your tile supplier suddenly can’t provide you with what you’d had your heart set on.

What would you never do again?
Put cream carpet in high-use areas like the children’s playroom and the hallway – especially with small children who love to play in the dirt.

Did you do any DIY?
Carrick did all the preparation work for the outdoor concreting and the driveway. He also built our deck and fences.

Is there one thing you’d change about your home if you could?
We feel our home is completely purpose-built for our family, but at some stage we’d like to extend the playroom/media room, especially once Milla is old enough to play in there too. During the design process our roofline changed slightly and I didn’t notice that there was room to have a bigger play area so it would be nice to extend it.

What is the most memorable experience you’ve had in your home?
Being able to have a blank canvas that I could decorate and design myself was amazing. I love what we have been able to achieve in the children’s bedrooms and in our living space – it is our oasis, sitting amidst an incredible alpine landscape. The views we have feel like an extension of our home and we feel so lucky to be where we are. The sunsets are also pretty memorable, too.

Justine’s style secrets 

  • I like to add a nature-inspired element to each room.
  • When choosing furniture or design pieces, focus on finding timeless, good-quality items that will be a part of your home for a long time. When we moved into this house I tried to clear out all the stuff we’d accumulated over time. The easiest way to organise was to get rid of most of it!
  • I tried to stay away from fads that will date quickly and instead went with classic pieces, especially for things that would be costly to change.


How did your budget compare to your actual spend?
Working closely with our building consultant, we were able to keep within budget for the most part. He was able to help us pull back in some areas so we could achieve things that were more important to us.

Where did you save or splurge?
We opted for smaller bedrooms so we could use the floor space elsewhere. We splurged on two very large, marble-look tiles as a kitchen splashback, but then pulled back in areas like the bathroom where we stuck to a simple subway tile. We also splurged on the raw brass kitchen tap mixer but used inexpensive taps in our bathrooms. We spent more on the high roofline to create a sense of space and installed triangle windows at each end to capture the views east and west.

How did you keep track of costs?
Our building consultant at Classic Builders kept us in the loop every step of the way, which was very reassuring.

Words by: Catherine Steel. Photography by: Kate Claridge.

Home experts are just a click away