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The B word: South Architects

When planning new home projects, conversations about budget and expectations should start early. Don’t wait until the design is underway, suggests Craig South of South Architects.

Getting ready to build a new home is so exciting, particularly if it is for the first time. As architects, it is incredibly rewarding to work with people setting out on that journey and talking with them about their lifestyle goals and dreams.

The role of architects at this initial stage is to start breathing life into the brief, getting to know the client, along with their site and life aspirations.

Many architects strongly recommend involving either the builder or quantity surveyor early in the process to establish firm build cost expectations.

It can sometimes be difficult having those frank conversations around budget, but it is much better to be clear about all the details and associated costings before work begins on the ground.

A work to budget promise must entail much more than a lip service commitment that everything will be covered. In fact, fulfilling that promise rests on having good, clear communication from the outset around what the budget is, what it includes and what it will deliver. Even a simple misunderstanding about whether fees include GST or not risks having a big impact if no one has ever taken the time to clarify it. Fundamentally, meeting client expectations rests on communication, respect and achieving clarity and understanding right through the process.

From a design perspective, the architect’s number one priority is always to create an inspiring home for their client that fulfils expectations.

Within that, budget parameters play a part in guiding and influencing the size of the home and the complexity of the architecture.

In our experience, the wow factor comes from having beautifully designed spaces which can be achieved within any budget. Playful inspiring design is still very achievable.

As the build progresses, the architect’s ability to make changes to align with a particular budget will gradually diminish.

It underlines the importance of having everyone on the same page from the outset, to minimise any likelihood of the unexpected as the project enters the construction phase. Early decisions on finishing elements will help keep the budget on track through to the end.

Design and construction costs are not the only factors worth weighing up when thinking about budget. Increasingly, people are also starting to consider whole of life costs associated with their plans.

How homes constructed today can have a big impact on long term running costs. More energy efficient designs that include a solar system and high-performance glazing and insulation will be more expensive to build initially but the trade-off will be a home that is cheaper to live in.

Adding to that, of course, are the comfort, well-being and sustainability benefits associated with a well-designed energy efficient home.

Having good discussions right through the whole design and build process remains pivotal to ensuring your new home will deliver the lifestyle you want long term.



Centre Stage: Harcourts Gold – Au Staging

Staging properties for sale has become more common in real estate, and what bigger endorsement for the practice than one of Christchurch’s top real estate business owners starting a home staging business. Harcourts gold’s Lynette McFadden tells Metropol about her new venture, Au Staging.

Jodi O’Loughlin


What is the Au Staging difference?
I’ve worked as a real estate professional for 26 years, so I know what gets people excited when they view a property, and now I can help achieve that emotional engagement by showing people the potential of an empty property as a real home. Most staging is obviously staged, but the way we do staging is it looks like someone is still living there, that they have just popped out.

How would you describe Au Staging’s style and furnishings?
Our furniture and furnishings are sourced from all over the country and overseas, and I have collected many items over time as I have sought to furnish our own properties. The items are unique and chosen because we love them, my Louis Vuitton print is a special favourite. We can also work with owner’s furniture which is a pleasure.

What is the process for choosing items to go into a home?
We choose the pieces which go into a home very specifically to enhance that particular home, we’re not just moving the same items from place to place but selecting items which suit the style and functionality of each residence.

Who is behind Au Staging?
It is myself, our creative director Jodi O’Loughlin who had a longstanding background in fashion and our co-ordinator Rebecca Johansson. Staging the home gives us all a creative outlet and a chance to share our expertise with clients in a new way which is exciting for us, and which delivers an extra level of value to our clients.



Magic in the kitchen: MF Turnbull

While there are cracks appearing in our celebrated kiwi lifestyle of late, there needn’t be in your kitchen joinery. Local heroes MF Turnbull are again working their magic to return your surfaces to a brand-new finish, bringing you a great deal of pleasure and saving waste to landfill.



Co-owner Monique Turnbull explains, “For around the last 15 years, some kitchen joinery has been created using a plastic wrap finish, which owners sometimes assumed was a paint finish.

“People are finding that the plastic wrap is cracking – lifting from the base and breaking away. The great news is that we have a technique to remove the plastic and put a completely new surface on the base which is generally still in perfect condition.”

Monique says they are resurfacing a kitchen a week at the moment.

If this is happening in your kitchen and you’d like to put it right, the process is simple. A quick call to MF Turnbull will see Steve come out and have a look and provide you with a quote.

If you prefer, you can simply email in some photos and receive an estimate before you consider a quote.

“We are seeing this effect at all kitchen joinery price points, and you’ll usually see it go at the edges first or inside the panel on panelled doors,” says Monique.

“You might see it in just two or three areas to start with. Some people choose to get a colour match in just those areas, but as the rest of it eventually goes most opt to get all of the joinery resurfaced with a two-pack urethane paint finish.”

Refreshing and renewing your home doesn’t end at the kitchen. Rejuvenate bedroom and dining furniture, doors, wardrobe doors and more by spray painting.

MF Turnbull can also do French polishing of antiques, and the modern equivalent – staining and clears in polyurethane.

“I really like the idea that it’s an environmentally friendly way to refresh your house, our approach means reuse of the kitchen or piece of furniture, rather than throwing it out and buying new,” says Monique.

“A client will bring in an unusual piece, it might have lovely proportions and be beautifully made but the appearance no longer suits.

“Refinished in a bright colour it can be a real showstopper, or it could go out the door and start a whole new life with a shabby chic-style distressed finish.”

Working with interior designers on a special or much-loved piece that needs to fit a new scheme is a speciality. Upholstered items with timber parts can be resurfaced before being taken to the client’s upholsterer for recovering.

Unusual items which pose a challenge are especially welcome – as the team at MF Turnbull thrive on turning visions into reality.

Such visions are achieved through consultation with clients, and showcasing samples and all the options available.


Why an interior designer? Petronellas Interior Design

Petronella’s Interior Design managing director and designer, Ineke Winkelman, tells Metropol how a professional can help create a well-balanced and integrated interior design whether you’re building, renovating or re-decorating.


“Good interior design is achieved by a well thought out and co-ordinated colour scheme across your whole house. From paint colours and wallpaper, to soft furnishings including drapes, rugs, cushions and throws, all the way through to hard surfaces such as benchtops, cabinetry and fixtures – even key furniture pieces. All those elements need to complement each other to create a finished interior that speaks volumes.”

“Pinterest is a great place to start but pulling all the elements together takes skills and experience. I enjoy using my product knowledge and supplier relationships to deliver desired looks clients have seen. Or, creating a stunning space from one key element – such as a chair, cushion or bedspread – and pairing these with complimentary colours, patterns or textures to create a considered space.”

“It’s not always about following trends, everyone has a style or mix of styles. That’s why it’s important for me to meet a client and understand how they live and their style. From there I use fabric, wallpaper and colour to create the right drama and impact outlined in their brief.”


Craftmanship and integrity on show: Stonewood Homes

Stonewood Homes’ showhome at 48 Lanner Drive, Rolleston is simply stunning. Under the control of Warwick Isaacs and James Parker for the past three years, Stonewood’s focus has been on delivering high quality homes and excellent customer service.


Olivia Gallop, Stonewood’s Pre-Construction Manager has a particular interest in this showhome and has been involved with the project from initial concept to completion.

“The house was designed with the intention of creating an impact as soon as someone walks through the front door,” she says.

And without a doubt the single level 235sqm black brick and cedar family home does just that.

The house has two separate distinct wings. At the heart of one wing is a striking kitchen, butler’s pantry and family living area filled with natural light from the pitched ceilings featuring skylights, and full height glazing overlooking the garden. A cosy formal lounge is off to one side.

The colour palette of the kitchen and living area is moody greys with accent dark timbers, says Olivia. “We used colours and products that might not be regarded as conventional because we wanted to showcase the huge range available on the market. It’s fun to be different and playful with interior finishes and we encourage clients to put a unique and personal stamp on their homes,” she says.

In the second wing of the home is the large master suite, three family bedrooms, separate laundry and a walk-in linen cupboard. In this part of the house too there is evidence of a creative design hand at work.

The tiles on the floors of the bathrooms and separate toilet are a dramatic geometric black and white, while all the tapware is brass. The Amazonian-jungle patterned wallpaper in the separate toilet is a real conversation starter, as is the delightfully cheeky wallpaper in the nursery.

“Visiting this showhome is a great way for clients to experience the high level of craftsmanship and integrity we dedicate to building our homes and designing house plans,” says Olivia.

“The tradespeople who worked on this home are the same team who work on all our homes, so there is no difference in the standard delivered.”

Stonewood Christchurch has hundreds of home design variations available, as well as offering a design and build service.

“Each of our standard plans can be modified as we believe a new home should reflect each client and their unique style and requirements.”

Visit the showhome and talk with a new home consultant via


Make way for a Memphis revival: RESENE

Just like that old adage goes – everything comes back around. Once laughed off as one of many crazy choices of the 1980s, the loud colours and zany patterns of the Memphis design movement have snuck their way back into the Zeitgeist.




This radical throwback bedroom pays special homage to the Memphis movement.

The walls are painted Resene Kandinsky with a grid in electric blue Resene Wet N Wild.

The easiest way to achieve the effect is to paint the wall in two coats of Resene Wet N Wild first, then mask off the grid using painter’s tape before painting a couple of coats of Resene Kandinsky over top.

The tape can be carefully removed once the wall is touch dry. Invest in good quality tape for the best results and use a utility knife along the edges of the tape for extra clean lines if you are concerned about the top layer of paint lifting.

Resene Wet N Wild has been continued from the base of the grid on to the floor while the plant pot and vase are painted Resene Jalapeno to play off the reds in the artwork.

The bedside table is in Resene Secrets, a paler and greyer shade of green than Resene Kandinsky to help it contrast the main wall colour, with a drawer in Resene Wet N Wild so that it still ties in well to the theme. The lamp and picture frame are painted Resene Half Black White.

The grid pattern has also been taken on to the duvet cover, pillow and cushions to create a sense of repetition while the ficus adds some freshness and greenery to break up the space yet still feeling undeniably 80s in its own right.

With its eye-popping colours and distinct illustrative style portraying one of the most popular icons of the era, the Bowie Art Print by Anna McKay fits the scheme perfectly and ties the whole look together.


Mood board: Background in Resene Wet N Wild with A4 drawdown paint swatches (from left to right) in Resene Half Black White, Resene Secrets, Resene Jalapeno and Resene Kandinsky and a vase painted Resene Jalapeno.


Get inspired at your local Resene ColorShop,


Winning design trifecta: Armstrong Interiors Ltd

A dark and masculine mood and a rustic French-inspired feminine aesthetic have seen Christchurch’s Armstrong Interiors win three bathroom awards at the prestigious 2020 Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) recently.


Angelique Armstrong


Taking out all three categories, the Christchurch-based team, led by Angelique Armstrong, was recognised for innovative design and thoughtfully chosen material palettes, which created a sense of consistency and balance across all three bathooms.

Angelique received TIDA’s New Zealand Powder Room of the Year, New Zealand Designer Bathroom Suite of the Year, and New Zealand Bathroom of the Year awards this month.

She says the powder room and suite were from the same home in Auckland and were completed as part of a full home renovation with a brief to achieve a “dark and masculine mood”.

She achieved this in both rooms with a clever balance of natual materials, lighting and proportion.

New Zealand Powder Room of the Year

CDK volcanic bluestone is used on the walls, giving a unique textured finish with natural colour variations.

CDK Stones’ Myles Spicer says darker tiles is an emerging trend for clients looking for “a moody, soft feel” with a touch of luxury.

He says natural products not only add earthy, opulent textures but can be manipulated to any desired finish.

When it comes to care and maintenance, CDK Stone is the New Zealand agent for German-based company, Lithofin, which specialises in natural stone care, he says.

The master suite also uses CDK Stone Neolith vanities and shower ceramic panels, cabinetry, benchtop and basins, and the powder room uses a fabricated Neolith trough vanity basin.

Reclaimed 150-year-old French oak flooring ties the master suite together, and rough sawn timber cabinetry creates “an organic, moody feel” in the powder room.

New Zealand Bathroom of the Year

The third bathroom recognised in the awards is, “a rustic French-inspired bathroom with a charming feminine aesthetic which balances tradition with modern comforts,” says Angelique.

“We used a traditional neutral-toned palette with feature tiles, enhanced by dark timber shutters, a custom-made solid oak vanity and cupboard, and brushed nickel Axor tapware and shower fittings.”

The wall tiles have an almost distressed and tiered look, achieved with artfully detailed Crea Stories and Crea Ash behind the bath and porcelain Pearl Ret tiles for the floor, all supplied and installed by Brymac Tiles to exacting high standards.

Angelique says she has extreme confidence in Brymac Tiles, and recommends its vast range and quality installation service.

New Zealand Designer Bathroom Suite of the Year

General Manager James Thomson says he always keeps Angelique abreast of new styles.

“When I showed her the Crea tiles a while ago, she took them hostage back to her studio to wait for the perfect job to be used – and this is certainly it,” says James.

“It was fantastic to see the end result.”

Angelique says the overall space is very open and easy to navigate, responding to the client’s brief for easy wheelchair access.

The judges were impressed by the attractive balance of traditional and contemporary elements within a highly functioning setting.

Phone: 03 356 2636
Instagram: @armstronginteriorsltd


Heritage character, modernised: Jim the Builder

One of the first houses on Scarborough Hill has had its original stonework character restored – with a contemporary touch.


Photo by Jamie Armstrong Photography


The stunning hillside home features immaculate bluestone sourced from the site itself and tessellated throughout the property.

Removed and remastered by Stone Works stonemasons at their Woolston site, the rocks – now returned – serve as mosaic cladding on the original side of the home, as patio tiling, dry stone garden walls, and – perhaps most strikingly – as exterior and interior columns.

Designed by Collins and Harman and built in the early 1910s, the two-storeyed residence had an extension added the late 2000s, just in time for the Canterbury earthquakes – which left both the original and new in disarray.

Now, its extensive interior and exterior renovations led by Jim the Builder have preserved the heritage character by adding steel structural supports; a hydronic heating system installed by Central Heating NZ over 75mm Integra Panels and covered by Calcium Sulphate Ezy Mix screed; energy efficient window glazing, and a Rockcote Integra lightweight concrete façade cladding system.

Company Director Jim Stenberg says the 18-month job required a precarious lift of the house so seemingly endless tonnes of loose rubble could be hand dug from the old foundations and removed via petrol-powered wheelbarrows along a custom scaffolding walkway.

“We had to dig until we found solid ground, which was 3.5 metres below floor level. From there, it was essentially a rebuild which also reinstated the house’s original character.”

A character which is most obvious in the gothic-esque stylised blue stone columns and an exterior bay window, which has become an interior feature since the extension was built around it.

Downstairs, a refit kitchen and dining area leads into a collection of sitting rooms: a sunroom with adjacent pergola; a ladies’ lounge with restored wooden panelling, and a gentlemen’s lounge which looks through the original bay window back into the living area.

Inside, the bluestone palette has been emphasised by Auckland-based interior designer Peter Lloyd, who worked closely with the owners to adorn the home with statement elements.

A denim blue feature wall begins in the kitchen and continues upstairs where the master and children’s bedrooms are. A chandelier hangs in the “ladies’ bathroom”. Exquisite tiles line the bathroom.

Glass balustrades run up the internal stairs and along exterior balconies, ensuring the ethereal views along the coast and out to sea, where dolphins are known to chase herrings in the bay below, remain uninterrupted.

Contact Jim the Builder on 021444958 or at


Photo by Jamie Armstrong Photography


Sublime wagon, cool ride

Wagons will always be much cooler than SUVs. One manufacturer whose history is littered with wagons is Volvo. Here is their new V60 Estate T8 AWD R Design, and it is something mighty special.


Volvo V60 T8 Test Drive in Luleå, Sweden

The T8 part means a 2.0 four-cylinder petrol engine with supercharging and turbocharging, coupled to a plug-in 64kW battery pack, electric motors, and eight-speed Geartronic automatic.

Power figures of 311kW/670Nm are very generous, and 0 to 100km/h time of 4.5 seconds is sports car quick.

Being a plug in, the V60 can run up to 40km on just electric power, ideal for the daily commute.

Outside there are no flashy bits or carbon fibre add-ons here, just subtle details like the “Thor’s Hammer” daytime running lights.

The R Design 19-inch five triple spoke alloys, front grille, gloss black wing mirrors are the only indication of hidden sporting prowess.

Inside, a very clear and concise 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system greets you.

Kit includes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 360 Reversing Camera, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist, Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Park Assist, and Volvo’s City Safe braking system.

My test car, valued at $114,900, also came with the optional $6500 Premium Pack.

This means tinted windows, full panoramic sunroof, and a rather epic Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System, which is the closest you will get to hearing the works of Hans Zimmer live. Pop the boot and you find another Volvo wagon hallmark, space, 529L of it.

On the move, you barrel along in distinct quiet. Weighing in at 2200kg, it is a hefty fella, but very planted. Select “Polestar Engineered Mode” and the barrelling becomes a rapid waft, while no track day hero, the T8 can cover ground in quick succession.

In the bends, her steering is responsive but somewhat lacking in feedback.

That said, blasting point to point is not what the V60 T8 is about. Will the V60 T8 R-Design be a big seller for Volvo? Probably not.

Is it still a sublime wagon for those who want something totally unique? Absolutely.


Setting the stage: Jaz it up

We’ve long recognised the importance of first impressions and, when it comes to selling your home, those first impressions really do count.



Staging is a way to put your home’s best foot forward, impressing potential buyers and increasing their emotional attachment to the home, so you get the highest possible price and quickest possible sale.

Andrea and Peter Imboden from Jaz It Up had been selling spec homes in 2016 when Andrea realised it was the styling she enjoyed most.

“We’ve sold many houses over the years and I’ve styled them to get the wow factor. They’ve all sold really quickly.”

When the professional photographers and real estate agents pointed out this very serious styling skill, the couple decided to go all in and they established Jaz It Up in 2017, doing exactly what the name says.

“Our styling is modern style, personalised and we use pops of colour to make your property stand out from the crowd,” says Andrea.

“Colour attracts attention and interest.”

The couple pride their service on being very reasonably priced, professional and they can turnaround jobs quickly, city-wide.

“We take a lot of pride in our staging and provide a warm and friendly service.

“When I finish a property staging, it’s got to have that wow factor; that feeling when someone sees a house and thinks, ‘I want to live here’.”

If you need to dress your home in its Sunday best, phone Andrea on 021 026 82796 and Peter on 021 123 4418.