Award-winning interior designer Angelique Armstrong from Armstrong Interiors shares her ideas for creating exceptional Christmas centrepieces.
Love it or loath it, it’s Christmas. Whether you are planning a formal Christmas dinner or a casual barbecue on the deck, it is always special for you and your guests to enjoy something a little different and to embrace the Christmas theme. Pinterest is a great option for last minute inspiration, especially if you are running a busy household like myself. So here are some creatively inspiring options.
Greenery that reflects Christmas for New Zealanders and commonly found in our gardens is perfect for your xmas table; olive branches, rosemary, bunches of fresh thyme, pine tree, bay-tree leaves and branches, and of course buxus balls. The fragrance of some of these greeneries can also be perfect for enhancing our food, including rosemary, thyme and pine.
Cutting off sprigs or branches and adding gold, white, red Christmas decorations can set the scene without spending a fortune. Get creative, people! For a more casual country look, natural raw brown string linens, with tea lights, fairy lights or long candle sticks in various colours to match your theme, can quickly create interesting centrepieces and place settings for your xmas table. Cinnamon sticks are a lovely twist for a traditional setting and florals will complement the base of the greenery. Meanwhile, white tablecloths, linens, or paper napkins will complement the Christmas colours well.
Spending special time with family over the holidays is the perfect opportunity to write your list of what you would like done to your interiors for 2019. A new kitchen or ensuite, new drapes or a lovely new sofa? Contact us we would love to help you
Architect Craig South looks forward to the Christmas break and celebrates the Kiwi holiday tradition of sharing good times with friends and family.
Whether it’s a staycation at home, a holiday at a camping ground in a tent or campervan, or a motel, bach or crib getaway, most New Zealanders will be looking forward to enjoying some well-deserved time off after another busy year. One of the best things about the end of the year break is being able to relax with friends and family, who often converge at the same holiday spot year after year. Many have their favourite place, whether it’s Golden Bay and the Abel Tasman National Park, Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs or Central Otago. A lot of people love the predictability of spending the break at their time-honoured camping ground, motel, or memory-filled family bach.
As a parent, I love how holidays bring opportunities for family adventures and new experiences, such as roughing it out in a tent somewhere in the bush or exploring unfamiliar cycle trails. A holiday by a lake opens up the chance to try out some water sports. Beach holidays mean sandcastles, body surfing and lazing on beach towels under a sun umbrella… of course, don’t forget the sunblock.
Holiday accommodation can have a big influence on the overall experience. From an architect’s perspective, your ‘home away from home’ ought to feel positively different and yet remain in synch with how you and your family like to live and relax. In our own practice, Architect Cymon Allfrey’s award-winning family bach at Hanmer Springs is a great example of how good playful design can work so well.
Drawn together around a recessed patio and timber decks, this holiday retreat includes three small buildings designed to take in the views and soak up all-day sun. It simultaneously provides privacy and places to socialise and is poised to become a lasting legacy for the family. Every person will have different ideas about where they’d love to build a dream bach and what it would look like. These ideas are the starting point for a good design. A great holiday home will also seamlessly fit with its location. Sea views, sliders and decks will likely be priorities for a beach bach, while a crib near the mountains could have a drying room and an open fire to keep things cosy. Regardless of location, most people will opt for bunks somewhere to accommodate multiple families, though these can be configured in many different ways.
A well-designed Kiwi bach will grow into an intergenerational treasure, loved by grandchildren and grandparents alike. It is a place for sharing experiences and shaping summer memories. Friends may come and set up a tent on the lawn, while children run around outside and adults gather on the deck.
Whatever you do these holidays – and wherever you go – I wish you all the best for an enjoyable summer break. www.caarc.co.nz
The e-scooters have landed! Seven hundred Lime scooters descended on the city recently and another five hundred will be here soon. Many have wholeheartedly embraced this new mode of transport; others are less enthusiastic, calling them a public nuisance and citing safety concerns.
I see real advantages in the introduction of e-scooters, especially for getting around in the CBD and nearby suburbs. Users can go directly to their destination on their own time and not be dependent on public transport. I have seen all kinds of people on the scooters – from students to business people in suits – and they have without exception had huge smiles on their faces. Being on a scooter brings out one’s inner child.
I do understand that we are in an early stage of learning to find the balance between pedestrians and scooters on our footpaths and access areas. To be accepted, scooters must be used responsibly. Change takes time. When smart phones first appeared, they were thought to be a temporary fad. Now where would we be without them? The Christchurch City Council is leading the way by having a scooter base outside its premises and I believe CBD apartment residents will become massive users in the future because of the convenience.
Ride that scooter a short distance from the CBD to Merivale to a just launched boutique apartment complex. Known as the Aria Apartments, the three storey building at 1 Hewitts Road has fourteen one and two-bedroom apartments very well priced from $460,000.
Smaller tenants looking to return to the Christchurch CBD from the suburbs are snapping up rapidly diminishing space in the city centre. The CBD isn’t for everyone and some businesses are choosing to stay in the suburbs. But many others are keen to take advantage of CBD offerings.
The city market is changing. Landlords initially focused on the large anchor tenants but they’re now turning their attention to filling the final smaller office vacancies in their buildings. Steady enquiry is coming from tenants seeking anywhere from 50sqm to 250sqm. The smaller size of these tenants naturally means they are far more price sensitive than the multi-national corporates. But prices have come back and they’re becoming for realistic for these smaller tenants. Landlords, too, are being more flexible in length of lease terms than the longer leases required to secure space on completion of a lot of the new builds.
There are certainly deals on the table at the moment and I think that we’re seeing the bottom of the market in terms of rental and the top of the market in terms of incentives. Landlords will definitely be getting tougher as the space fills up. Contrary to popular belief, there is not a glut of quality CBD office space. In fact, the reason that there has been this surge in enquiry is because supply is limited. What you see is what you are going to get, and it’s quickly being absorbed. Smaller tenants have a very real fear of missing out.
It may only be 117 metres long, but the short stretch of road between the hospital and new Christchurch Outpatients facility, known as the Oxford Gap, is undergoing some major surgery of its own.
When it opens towards the end of the year, the Gap will cater for a significant amount of traffic. Every day 800 people visit Outpatients along with 300 staff, all arriving by car, bus, bike or on foot. On average 1000 people bike through the Gap each day on their way to or from the city. So, to keep vehicles moving safely and efficiently, Oxford Gap has been redeveloped into what is best described as an airport pick-up and drop-off area, with short-term and mobility parking.
You will drive in from the southern end, near Riccarton Avenue, and exit via Antigua Street. For people walking and cycling through the Gap, there will be a 4.5 metre wide shared path on the west side of the street, adjacent to the hospital, and dedicated pedestrian footpaths on both sides of the street.
To get between the hospital and the outpatients building there is a 12 metre wide raised pedestrian crossing, ensuring users can be easily seen. You can get a good look at the new Oxford Gap layout from the City Promenade, which opens on 25 November.
It’s a big change in a very busy part of the city so when using Oxford Gap for the first time please do so with care while we all get used to the new layout.
A significant milestone in planning the future of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor has been reached, with public notification of the Draft Regeneration Plan which provides guidance on future development of the area.
The draft plan, and details of where hard copies can be seen, are on our website. The deadline for written comments is 5pm on Wednesday 19 December. Another regeneration advancement in recent weeks has been the Christchurch City Council’s development of its Central City Action Plan, which builds on Regenerate Christchurch’s earlier assessment and advice on increasing regeneration momentum in the central city.
The Council’s action plan acknowledges the influence cohesive leadership will have on its success and reflects Regenerate Christchurch’s call to action, particularly for the public sector, to ensure regeneration decisions are made on a “best-for-city” basis.
This will not necessarily come easy – largely due to the fact that there is not necessarily a shared understanding of what “best-for-city” actually means. Nevertheless, it will not be optional and a genuine commitment will be required.
There are always competing demands. Never more so than in a city setting itself up for future success in what could still be described as a challenging environment. Addressing these demands in a manner that considers what will deliver the most benefit to as much of the community as possible, is my idea of a “best-for-city” approach. What’s yours?
The night of Wednesday 31 October was the Foodstarter Pressure Cooker event where five ambitious food and beverage startups from all over NZ vied for the incredible prize package that included distribution across the Foodstuffs South Island retail network. Beefy Green took out the top prize which you can read about at www.foodstarter.co.nz.
Friday 2 November’s alarm went off early, with 200 of our city’s most future-industry focused residents at the brand new AwesomeHQ in the stunning Kahukura building on Moorhouse Ave. The assembled crowd was inspired by Joanna Norris, CEO, of ChristchurchNZ who shared the vision for our city as a global leader of innovation, opportunity, and exploration.
This was followed by excellent Q&A session with the founders of our city’s hottest young startups including Shuttlerock, Skillitics, Romer App, Kea Aerospace, and Boma NZ. If there was any doubt as to the drive and bold ambition fuelling the transformation of our city, one look around the room cured the pessimists.
Later that morning, Startup Christchurch hosted a ‘Fireside Chat’ with George Smith, founder of Glassjar, New Zealand’s first startup accepted into Y Combinator. George shared his journey from UC student idea to Silicon Valley startup thrilling all with his insight.
The amount of support that is available for high growth entrepreneurs in this city is astounding. If you’re not already part of the community, just connect with us at Ministry of Awesome firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be honoured to network you in.
It was exciting last month to announce that we’ve begun a series of community workshops with local sporting codes, businesses and the entertainment sector to co-design our city’s new Multi-Use Arena.
As part of the Acceleration Fund that was announced in Budget 2018, the council has requested that $220 million of funding goes towards the new arena and the Government has agreed to earmark the funding for that project.
This funding brings Canterbury’s much needed arena one step closer. It will be a huge boost for the city and it’s important we get it right. That’s why we are bringing the sporting codes, local businesses and entertainment sector together to help us make sure the design is right and the building is fit for purpose. The workshops will allow each of these sectors to hear what they need from the arena, and how it can be made to work best for them. From here a full investment case will be developed to ensure the project is well designed and stacks up financially.
These workshops will ensure the business case is strong and I’m hopeful of seeing early construction work begin in 2021.
We’ve seen with the Metro Sports Facility how working hand in hand with local people can lead to a better result – there we were able to turn around a $70 million budget blowout and get the project back on track. Working with the local community will ensure the arena is fit for purpose and best suited the needs of Christchurch.
As we head into spring, Christchurch is looking spectacular. With the opening of two new city amenities, the $50 million Hoyts EntX cinema complex and Tūranga, the central library, it’s great to see Christchurch residents getting back into the central city. We’ve seen many businesses make the commitment to return to the central city.
Now we need the people of Christchurch to come and experience the unique offerings and make the most of what’s on offer. The Terrace provides an array of new restaurants, bars and cafés with spectacular fitouts and a range of dining options. The Crossing complex provides private lanes and stunning retailers, many of whom can only be found in the central city.
Dispelling the myths of no parking in the central city, there is now more than ever, with around 2900 parks in parking buildings and over 1700 on-street parks. Why not jump on a bus and head into the Bus Exchange, or enjoy the experience on a new Lime electric scooter.
If you haven’t ventured into the central city for a while, I encourage you to head in. Take the kids to the Margaret Mahy Family Playground followed by a coffee or lunch in New Regent Street. Have dinner and a movie at the new Hoyts Entx complex, or have brunch at Little High, with a spot of shopping at The Crossing and Cashel Mall.
Let’s support the local businesses that have been courageous and made the commitment to lead our central city’s regeneration.
Many innovative projects are making Christchurch an exciting place to be – the latest is the addition of hundreds of electronic scooters gracing the streets.
By now you have probably seen the black, white and (lime) green scooters. Stroll from South City to Cathedral Square and you will see smiling riders zipping in and out of traffic. The scooters can also be ridden from Halswell to Redwood, Sumner to Hornby.
American based Lime is the company behind the scooters and operates in more than 80 places around the world, claiming its network of electric bikes, electric scooters and pedal bikes have provided more than six million rides.
The Christchurch operation and a similar one in Auckland launched on October 15 with local contractors collecting, charging, and re-distributing the scooters each day. Using one is simple. Download and set up the Lime App, scan the QR code and off you go.
Follow the usual traffic laws, use some common sense as to safety – scooters can be ridden on the road and footpaths, and a helmet is recommended but not compulsory.
Each scooter has a range of about 50-60 kilometres and a top speed of 27 kmh. Unlocked for a dollar and .30c per minute, you are scooting for less than $20 per hour. “They’re fantastic!” says one CBD rider. The scooters are an efficient, fun alternative mode to make that appointment down town, whether it’s two blocks or two kilometres, or across the city if you are more daring.
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