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An Oamaru villa is the 2020 Resene Colour Home Awards winner

   This year’s Resene Colour Home Awards winners brought subtle colour and a dose of character back to an Oamaru villa

Meet & greet

Tessa Simpson, 35 (freelance makeup artist), Tyler Simpson, 34 (project foreman), Reeve, 5, and Luca, 3, plus Monty the Labrador.

Tessa Simpson never imagined her character-filled Oamaru home would take out the top prize in the Resene Colour Home Awards. The long-time reader of Your Home and Garden has always followed the competition and decided to enter when she and husband Tyler finished painting their home last year. Tessa could hardly believe it when she received the email saying that the home’s calming, cohesive colour palette had won the couple $5000 in prize money.

Choosing the palette

The stylish blue and grey tones Tessa chose for the interior, along with the striking monochrome exterior, are a welcome change from the “sea of beige and yellow” (plus one pink bedroom) which dominated when the family moved in five years ago. “When we first moved in, I neutralised everything,” explains Tessa. A few years later, when the boys were both toddlers, “I decided to change it and make it a bit more exciting.”



Tessa, a makeup artist, has a background in wedding styling and says interiors are an extension of that. “I’ve always enjoyed interiors. I like playing around with styling things and I like art and colour.” She painted the bedrooms herself but enlisted local painters A1 Decorating for the rest of the work.

This has been the couple’s first renovation, as their previous home was a new-build, and Tessa says she prefers a house with character. “It was quite different coming into an older house and changing things.”


50 shades of blue

Choosing colours for each room took some time as Tessa wanted to ensure the tones worked well together. The palette started with older son Reeve’s room, which was initially painted in Resene Blue Moon. Last year Tessa updated this to the grey-blue of Resene Lynch. “I felt like the room needed slightly more depth, especially once we laid the new carpet,” she says.

She chose an inky blue (Resene Avalanche) for Luca’s room and Resene Ash, a grey with a hint of green, for the sun-filled main bedroom. “The subtle green tinge is very calming but also has enough depth to not be boring,” she explains. Ceilings throughout the house and bedroom trims and skirting boards were painted in Resene Alabaster.


Tough choices

The living room colour took a while to decide on, as it needed to match the flooring and flow nicely into the hallway and bedrooms, which are visible from the living room. It also needed to complement the dark brown cabinetry in the adjoining kitchen, which the budget didn’t stretch to updating.

Tessa eventually settled on Resene Duck Egg Blue for both the living room and hallway, with trims and skirting in Resene Half Rice Cake. “When we put the new flooring in the living room, I felt the Alabaster was too stark against the floor and we needed something softer and warmer,” she explains. A teal tiled splashback in the kitchen, new blinds in the living room and updated carpet and light fittings in the hallway completed the look.

Outside style

The exterior colours were the hardest to choose, says Tessa. The house was originally beige with white trim and had a number of rotting weatherboards. The previous owners had also installed aluminium windows which took away some of the character.

“I didn’t want to highlight the aluminium so I decided to paint the weatherboards in white – Resene Sea Fog – and make the remaining character features pop with dark Resene Element.” The double garage was also painted in Resene Element. Neighbours have commented on how smart the outside looks, and one has even been inspired to paint their own home.

Here to stay

Tessa says she wouldn’t change anything about her renovated home and the family plan to stay here for a long time. They are currently staining the deck (built by Tyler) in Resene Woodsman Pitch Black and painting the new laundry in Resene Atomic – a drastic improvement from having the washing machine in a kitchen cupboard.

The prize money couldn’t have come at a better time to help with the final part of the reno: painting and fitting out the bathroom. Plus some will now go towards course fees as, spurred on by her win, Tessa has just signed up to study for a diploma in interior design.

Judge’s comment

“Many of our Resene Colour Home Awards winners have a love of bright colours. This home is a little more subtle and cleverly embraces many colours but in a tone-on-tone palette carefully chosen for each space, bringing attention to all the right places” – Karen Warman, Resene


Colour tip:

Creating a mood board will help to clarify your vision and assist with ensuring colours work together cohesively.

The next Resene Colour Home Awards aren’t far away – stay tuned for your chance to enter.

Words by: Fiona Ralph.  Photography by: Isabella Harrex

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