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Author: Tracey Edwardes

Head-turning Homes: Metro Advances

Five high-end townhouses at 55 Bishop Street have the best of everything – a head-turning design in cedar, with distinctive extras in the mix.



In the tranquillity of a quiet tree-lined St Albans street, these freehold three-bedroom apartments have just been completed – with two having sold already.

Nigel and Julie Lundy of Metro Advances Ltd chose the sizeable parcel of land, once the site of a derelict villa, for its fantastic location. The company has completed a large number of quality builds in recent years, including, in addition to their specialty quality housing, commercial investments such as the office building at 254 St Asaph Street (Unknown Chapter café), the popular Southwark Apartments hotel complex, and the Stor-Ezi storage units at 62 Factory Road, Belfast.

The company’s Project Manager Gabby Stockman says after a carefully executed design and consent stage, the build has taken a full year. “No shortcuts have been taken with the build; it’s quality all the way. They are on the right side of the street for really good sun in the living areas, and are a short walking distance into town. And the cafés of Edgeware village are not far either.”


Gabby has another strong family connection to property, as she is Shaun Stockman’s daughter. Shaun is renowned for developing CBD icons such as the award-winning Billens Building.

Both Metro and Shaun utilise the talented flair of architect Andrew Evans.

Under a pitched iron roof, the sumptuous golden cedar blends effortlessly with Rockcote. This exclusive, no-expense-spared design culminates in a striking street appeal. Builder Jack Forrest has also crafted some stunning boxed windows for extra space.

“One great feature is the really good-sized bedrooms, which is a rarity in new townhouses these days,” she says.

“The thick double-framed inter-tenancy walls are well-insulated for warmth and privacy. We have kept the interior décor light and bright with LED lighting, light-grey tiling, carpet and ‘Mt Aspiring’ painted walls.”


For the kitchen, Gabby chose either a timeless light walnut grain or natural wood, with all-white stone benches, pendant lighting, induction hobs, and reliable Omega appliances. “An architectural-designed steel rail leads to the ample landing space, which is large enough for a study nook. We always utilise every space as best as we can.”

The fully-tiled bathrooms have had no expense spared, with Italian-made black tapware, light timber-veneered vanity and a separate stone wash-bowl. The concrete-look tiled walls are simultaneously modern, classic and practical. The entrance is a beautiful cedar door, giving a Scandinavian-spa touch and that calming woody scent.

The middle units of the freehold townhouses are a comfortable 145sqm with single garaging, a private courtyard of aggregate and grass, and a tenancy fence of hardwood horizontal slats.

The larger back unit has a 175sqm footprint and two-car garaging. The wooden patio is built around an existing fruit-bearing feijoa tree. One of its three bedrooms is conveniently downstairs, and the main bathroom is embellished with a feature wall and a double-sized shower.

“These townhouses will suit so many people – young families, families with teenagers, retirees or professionals; anyone who wants an extremely low-maintenance home for years to come.”

Priced affordably for its unique quality, 55 Bishop Street (55B and 55E) in St Albans can viewed at or contact Richard Dawson of Harcourts on 021 387 105.




Waste-free Bathrooms

The bathroom wastepaper basket might soon be a redundant commodity as we go from wasteful to tasteful in the busiest little room of the house.



We look at tips to keep the bathroom a stylish, sustainable sanctuary – where consciences will also get a good clean.

Those plastic shampoo, conditioner, and beauty product containers all add up. Imagine what a family uses in a month – then do the maths. Thankfully, solid soap and beauty bars with recyclable cardboard packaging are a popular and evolving eco choice. And some innovative products are making it simple to start, and keep, a new sustainable habit.

Christchurch-based company Ethique, who has recently won the Westpac Champion Innovation Award, has deliciously scented, natural solid shampoo and conditioners that last and last – as well as cleansers, scrubs, moisturisers and serums. Solid beauty products are value for money too, as you’re not paying for extra packaging and fillers. And soap that comes in cardboard, or handmade varieties sold simply as is, are usually as good for your skin as they are the environment.





Favour the luxury of cotton facecloths, instead of disposable wipes. Loofahs, which come from a tropical vine of the cucumber family, are biodegradable and have long been a bathroom basic for expert exfoliation. Along with natural sea sponges, they also look great in the eco bathroom, blending with the trend for natural materials such as timbers and stone.

Bamboo for the bathroom is sustainable and affordable, and right at home here. Bamboo and wooden toothbrushes can replace all those colourful plastic ones that choke the landfill. Use bamboo cotton buds, and even hairbrushes or scrubbing brushes – along with natural wood, they create a spa-style Scandinavian vibe in the bathroom too.





For the sustainably serious, toothpaste can even be bought in a jar, or you can make your own all-natural concoction. Stainless steel safety razors should last a lifetime and replace another high-turnover item that has over-taken in its mainstream plastic form. Also, go for glass containers over plastic.

Ladies, consider reusable sanitary options like menstrual cups or reusable pads – this saves a mountain of plastic and packaging over time. Buy toilet paper in bulk to save on packaging, or change to a paper-packaged brand – and recycled toilet paper is even better. Choose the refill options of your favourite products, especially cleaners.




Try and use up what you already have in the house before buying more – for example those fancy soaps that have been given as presents. Be inventive and creatively recycle. Perhaps cut up old towels to make facecloths or to wrap around soap for a DIY lathering body scrub.

Online shopping sites such as are specialising in sustainable beauty products. And many owner/operator gift shops have sustainability top of mind when sourcing for their stores.

The fresh new focus on pure artisan eco beauty is luring us away from our no-longer-viable dependence on plastics. The bathroom is a great place to start cleaning up the planet.




Ever Green

The colour green has long had a transformative effect on our internal spaces. We look at how to incorporate the natural beauty of lush green into the home.



Green returns inside and flourishes in all directions for 2019. The trend has been growing steadily since leafy indoor plants have also taken root.

Blocks of deep olive green through to more ethereal tinges of teal are laying out the interior landscape. And, as colour has a harmonious effect on our moods and our psyche, this trend is certainly a nurturing and grounding breath of fresh air.

Create a real sanctuary of tranquillity with this cool colour favoured by Mother Nature. Emitting a balance of feminine and masculine energy – and rarely offending anyone – green can be a change-up from neutrals for those redecorating for resale.





Try a mint-green paint to refresh a wooden retro chair, or emulate a mossy fairytale forest with a plush velvet green throw.

Indoor plants need not be plonked on their own, gratuitously in a corner. The trend now is to creatively bunch them up as mini forest features for amazing atmosphere – not to mention that extra shot of oxygen.

Feature wallpaper and wall murals in bold prints totally transform a space with a breathtaking impact. Embrace green in larger-than-life foliage-festooned prints. Modern or vintage – leafy outdoor-themed wallpaper is a total transformation that is hard to overdo.



Try gilded mirrors against an emerald wall, or glazed peacock-green tiles in the bathroom. Add handblown green glassware or mosaics for texture.

Pair with pale, especially for summer. Even the deepest of muggiest greens look delicious against clean white or antique cream.

Just as in nature, green upon green just seems to go! Imagine a large foliage print against a solid apple-green wall, behind a deep buttoned olive-green couch with burnished-lime linen cushions and an art-deco bottle-green glass lamp – with a swirly patterned emerald byzantine rug underfoot.

It is perfectly sane to mix up the palette story with this shade – as long as the theme is green!




Beautiful moon rising

Last time the moon theme outshone our interiors it was the early 90s, but it seems moons are rising in popularity once again.



Creative crescents have returned in all sorts of wistful guises. This time, more mysterious streamline silhouettes, as opposed to friendly man-in-the-moon faces, beam down on us.

Either waxing or waning, a crescent or half-moon osculates between the emotive full moon and a rousing new moon. We’re not even fussy about which, we are craving the celestial in all its forms as we gaze to the universe for inspiration.

An aura of sensuous subtilty, half moonlight softens and enchants. LED lighting is a natural pairing to award this theme the limelight – from wall art to lamps.

Although the moon never really disappeared from our décor, we’re seeing more unique custom-made pieces in authentic mediums from metals to woods.

The minimalist moonbeam is our new moon. Crescents are often fine and elongated, like a thinly sliced wedge of melon – or the Cheshire cat’s smile! Frameless crescent-shaped mirrors lend a shard of light – perfect for narrow spaces, corners, to hide flaws, or to reflect light.

Garlands are not just for Christmas. Half moons seem at home recreating the night sky indoors. Artisan half moons – a juxtaposition of natural wood or crafted metallics – make beautiful textured, tiered wall-hangings. Move over wind chimes, suspended in space, la luna is orbiting ceilings or walls in eye-catching mobiles.

From fabrics to furniture, this heavenly body appears as relevantly futuristic as it is timeless.

The moon can arise from any room or outdoor space – an instantly recognisable enigmatic shape.




Born for the Arts

A local actress with her own distinctive vibe has been fundamental in helping the local art scene get a wriggle on.



Phoebe Hurst put on her first solo performance of WORM last week, which had an intimate audience squirming with mirth. “It is weird – but it’s a comedy with no linear storyline, designed for the audience to participate and have fun and disconnect from reality for 50 minutes.”

She takes the Glitter and Chaos production to Auckland’s Basement theatre next month, opening on 15 October. Where WORM will wriggle to next will be interesting. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is her goal post.

Born for the arts, Phoebe spent two years at Hagley Theatre Company before moving to Wellington and graduating from Toi Whakaari, New Zealand Drama School, in 2011.

Now well-seasoned on the Christchurch theatrical scene, she stole the show last May in The Court Theatre’s dark comedy Hedwig and the Angry Inch. “I was in male drag as Yitzhak. He was a beautiful, humble, charismatic and patient character.”

However, her Christchurch stage debut was in 2015 as part of the musical production That Bloody Woman at The Christchurch Arts Festival, which then went on to be performed up and down the country. “I was super stoked to be involved in such a successful project.”

Phoebe, who lives in Linwood with her husband, has just turned 30. “I feel like I have crossed an imaginary threshold. When I graduated, I was crippled with self-doubt and suffered depression.”

She decided back then to be a musician instead. With two EPs under her belt, That Bloody Woman came along and thankfully created the opportunity for acting to take centre stage in her life again. This led on to other ventures such as working with Silo Theatre, The Auckland Philharmonia and The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

Alongside WORM, Phoebe is currently working on a cabaret act for the 2020 Jazz and Blues Festival with Two Production’s co-artistic director, Holly Chappell-Eason.

“Acting is a remedy and illness at the same time,” Phoebe explains. “It helps me to process stuff – it is a double-edged sword.”

In this year’s 48-hour film festival, her team Snack To The Future won the national grand final with their film A Familiar Feeling. “We were given the genre ‘gross-out/cringe comedy’. It’s about two people who meet in a bar and discover they have more in common than they think.”

A must-see, the film can be watched on Phoebe encourages anyone and everyone to support local theatre.





If it suits

Suits are head-turning, confidence-creating and fabulously flattering – and have now relaxed into an exciting wardrobe staple. We check out the hottest suit styles for the coming season, to take us into 2020.




While women once minced in demure pencil-skirt and jackets of the 1930s and 40s, this season’s trouser suits are taking bigger, bolder strides leading into the next decade.

Anything goes in the material stakes. Ice-cream coloured pastels are a delicious summery wardrobe treat, while on the other end of the fabric spectrum, tweeds are teaming up as dapper trouser suits for dames. Everything goes, from slippery velvets, breathable summer-weight silk, perhaps black and white in a stylish wool-blend, hot fuchsia in cool linen, or metallic in modal. Suits make a unique statement.

Individual personality this season takes the suit far, far away from any corporate connotations – it’s all about suiting up and owning your own style. Celebrities from Michelle Obama to our royal influencers are flaunting floral-bombed patterning to gorgeous blocks of colours and timeless neutrals. In cute or courageous original outfits – the cue is to make your own mark.

Wide pants are swishy, slouchy comfort to the max – quite the opposite to what you’d expect to feel in the usual tailored two-piece. Go high-waisted and wide-legged from the hip, or do a glam Charlie’s Angel-style ’70s flare from the knee. Larger jackets have lots of wiggle room with full-on sleeves still a big fave. Teamed with high-rise heels or chunky flats – this look is quick to transform from daytime to drinks-time at the flick of a heel.

Cinched in via a wide tied belt or beautiful tailoring to show off the waist, a suit jacket adds flattering femininity. But equally so, the baggier, edgy boyfriend blazer will be strutting most of our streets, paired with perfectly matching pants. Structured shoulders are invited to team up with slouchy-crotched trousers. Tiny fitted tops are tasteful under long languid jackets; juxtaposition is, after all, hip.

Flattering for every figure, suits suit most bods. The silhouette-slinking sameness will elongate the shorter stature, and jackets and pants can be made to skim over or figure-hug any feature. No matter how casual the suit is stitched up, the wearer will always look somewhat polished and purposely dressed. Don’t forget, a tailor can alter any part of an otherwise perfect suit. Think about buying a suit that will look good with most of your summer shirts.

Emulate a dramatic three-piece with a matching coloured top. Plunging necklines also render a sassy suit, creating a sizzling contender to the little black dress.

And worth every penny is the suit’s sassy versatility in all weathers. Throw the jacket over the back of a chair and you instantly have a cooler, different look. There’s no need to find that co-ordinating summer jacket either – phew. It’s really a great two-in-one investment!



Destination Honeymoon

The honeymoon; that blissful life event in both time and place, when you get to have your new spouse all to yourself.



Nowadays, honeymoons are an evolving rehash on tradition, to fit in with our unique and crazy lifestyles, and new possibilities the world has to offer. Nonetheless, they are best totally tailormade to each twosome.

One thing is for sure, ironically even the most spontaneous adventures are best well planned. Booking your honeymoon in advance is always the best adage. This is to take full advantage of lucrative flight deals, exclusive sought-after accommodation and perhaps that coveted honeymoon suite. To be assured of getting in to the resort which has the most azure waters, or the room with the best views, it’s the early bride and groom that gets rewarded. It’s one big important job out of the way too, while wedding frivolities are filling up the diary.

There is plenty of evidence to suggests that looking forward to a holiday is just as pleasurable as being on one! Have the travel wallet ready on the mantelpiece and start dreaming. The destination and budget may not be a problem, but time is increasingly of greater issue to couples. Mini-moons are bite-sized holidays, where you can snatch say a luxury three-day romance across the ditch, and then save the fortnight full-on safari for a year down the track. It is sure to keep the flames of love flickering.

If you have a ho-hum budget, lavish it up locally and go 5-star all the way, without the travel expense. You’ll be far too busy looking into each other’s eyes to notice the familiar scenery anyway. Just be sure you are tucked away from everyone you know. Also, many new resorts and hotels have amazing opening specials. You could nab a 5-star experience for a 3-star price. This is where a travel agent in the know can be a godsend.

Honeymoons can have another purpose, perhaps to learn a new skill or share a mutual passion or hobby, even one that got you together in the first place. Perhaps a culinary educational tour for foodies or a cycle adventure. Find a romantic city and immerse yourselves in every crevice of its art and culture scene. Or flee straight to where the snow is falling and ski your hearts out. Eco-based holidays are also a choice of heart.

What lures most couples though is sunny beaches where toes entwine in white sand – with frozen margaritas to cool off. Sigh. There are romantic clichés for a reason. Check out resorts that families are unlikely to flock to. Pick the quiet season, or a secret spot with no crowds. Choose a cruise that’s not a party ship – one where you can have the option of dining and reclining alone together under the full moon.

Don’t forget to tell everyone, from the airline to hotels and restaurants, that this is your honeymoon. You never know your luck; many people in the tourism industry are only too pleased to dish out the royal romantic treatment.

Occurring once in a blue moon, this is the holiday that you’ll be asked to talk about until the end of time. The photos will up there with the wedding pics. So, make it a magical, memorable one – or two.



Local singer weaves magic

Local country singer Katie Thompson’s new album Bittersweet includes odes to her family – what growing up a West Coaster really means.



Singing since 14 years old, Katie has dedicated her life to the backbone music of her home ground. She moved to Christchurch in 2012 with her husband, for the rebuild – and now the 32-year-old has just released her third album.

Two songs were released ahead of the album; Alcohol and Pills is the only cover song. Her grandad stars in the punchy song’s video, because his ‘coaster’ character caught the videographer’s eye. The second, I Was Once Your Everything, is a rendition of raw emotions, from her aunty and uncle’s marriage break up. And her spirited two-year-old daughter Frankie was reason to co-write Precious Little Moments with Liv Cochrane from Into the East – also with a new baby.

Music Producer, Lyttelton-based Ben Edwards of Marlon Williams and Nadia Reid fame, weaved his magic on the awaited Bittersweet album of 11 tracks.

Katie’s favourite song on the album is Straight Talking Woman. “It’s hilarious – I love singing it,” she laughs. “It’s a surprise in the mix – the wild card. The lyrics include all the labels I’ve ever been called, such as ‘subtle as a freight train!’”

With two previous albums Tall Poppy and Impossible under her belt, the award-winning country gal was supporting act to Elton John in Dunedin 2011 to boot. After a decade mastering her music, she’s now well-poised to give it her all. Katie also works helping Kiwi musicians’ market themselves.



Worldwide musical phenomenon

A Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ) show is a toe-tapping banquet for the senses and it’s returning to a venue that befits the sumptuous performance.


Singer Aubrey Logan (Front middle with the trombone) with the Post Modern Jukebox crew


The timely Welcome to the Twenties 2.0 tour will touch down at Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royal on Saturday 19 October.

Scott Bradlee, founder of the Postmodern Jukebox legacy, has crafted a worldwide phenomenon with modern songs transformed into the style of classic genres, such as the razzamatazz of the roaring ’20s. “And here we are, entering the ‘20s again,” says singer Aubrey Logan.

Aubrey is one of the favourites in the revolving cast of dozens, featured in this spring’s Antipodean tour. It’s her first visit to New Zealand, but the fifth time for PMJ, “and I just can’t wait,” she says. The unique band has reached 3.5 million YouTube subscribers – Bad Blood and Benny and Jetts being among Aubrey’s claim to fame.

As well as a mellifluous voice and spine-tingling four-octave range, she plays a mean trombone. It’s not important to be impressive, she says. “I just want to inspire and move people and connect emotionally; that’s what counts.”

After being away from PMJ for two years, rocking it in jeans and leather jackets on her own solo album tours, Aubrey says, “I get to dress up!”

“PMJ really encourages us to go all out – sequins, costume changes and colour co-ordinating trios. I’m ready to wear some fancy dresses again and go back to the glam!”

Her voice is a genetic blessing, but Audrey says she still has to work at it. A natural at acting, she grew up in musical theatre. “I’m thankful of some of the boredom of being an only child. Being alone in my room with the door shut gave me the opportunity to practice and experiment with my voice, make weird sounds, listen to my parents’ CDs and try to emulate everyone I could.”

The Seattle-born, L.A-based 31-year-old has a phenomenal knack for scat singing – that funky, nonsensical jazz improv. She doesn’t deny it; she says they travel a lot, so performing and talking with fans can be hard on your voice and body.
“I say to the band after the shows, ‘guys, I can either have bad sleep or alcohol – pick one!’” she laughs. “I don’t have balance; I have an extreme life – so it’s all about prioritising.”

She has huge gratitude to Scott Bradlee for her success. PMJ is family to Aubrey. “We all have our own projects, but we have that bond to be able to lean on each other. “I’m always inspired by my peers’ talents. Each one of them, on every tour, has a superpower – there is no one that sounds like anyone else.

“Ariana Savalus is my best friend, even though we’ve nothing in common. I learn from her and she’s so freakin’ funny. And Casey Abrams is a free spirit. I’m an organised-to-a-fault Type A, but he’s taught me to enjoy music and my life.”

Audrey loves to connect, meet and be with the audience – the only reason for performing live, she points out. “I’m really looking forward to being back on the stage, as there’s nothing like a PMJ audience – they dress up like us, and even better!”



A global odyssey

It was a “life is too short” moment that led a photographer from Loburn on a journey to meet the people who have lived on earth the longest.



Last year, Katherine Williams of Tandem Photography travelled to some of the world’s most interesting crevices, which culminated in her winning New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) Nikon Photographer of the Year 2019.
After a back injury that kept her out of the action for 10 months, she realised that saying “we’ll do it in three years’ time” just meant continual postponement.

Katherine committed to take her husband and business partner Neil – also an award-winning photographer – and her two daughters, on an educational worldwide odyssey. The goal was to capture the essence of her chosen photographic subjects – centenarians. Deciding on the ambitious project came after one of those unexplainable eureka moments. “I knew it was something I just had to do.”

The creative couple refinanced to fund the trip. “But it wasn’t until literally the week before leaving that everything came together including renting our home out to make it possible.”



One of the first stops was the lush jungle of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, where the family slept on bamboo slats with no mattress or pillow, the patter of piglets and roosters outside – and the odd snake wriggling across the path. The seven-month journey then traversed the likes of Japan, Alaska, Cuba, Costa Rica, Croatia, Mexico and Montenegro, and the less-trodden paths of USA, Italy, France and the Greece Isles.

“I was confident my daughters would learn immeasurably more about life, not by just having conversations about different cultures, but by walking amongst them. The only way was to show them, not just tell. I wanted to empower my children – completely and utterly – with an appreciation of experience and basic street smarts. Nothing beats that immersion.”

She enlisted locals as interpreters to help her extract the stories behind the well-lived faces. “These people all had something special to share,” she says. “It’s not just a life story engraved into their facial lines, but their surroundings I capture to tell the story too – inviting a peek into their environment.”



Katherine has curiosity and deep empathy for the people she photographs. “One of the common threads for the reason of their longevity was tenacity for life, the ability to ride the storms – those hardships, trials and tribulations.”
Dramatic landscapes, such as daunting mountains tumbling into frothy seas, didn’t escape her lens either.

On harnessing courage to embark on an adventure, Katherine says, “You need the fortitude to jump in head first, then back that up without needing to know every detail. It will just fall into place.”

Back home, an enchanted heritage building in Ferry Road houses the studio for wedding and portrait photography. However, for her evolving creative project, Katherine is looking for more centenarians of different nationalities to immortalise in a website, book and exhibition.

“Some of my subjects have already died, so it will be in honour of them and their families. It’s nowhere near complete yet – but I’m comfortable with it being a slow project.”