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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!




Exceptional versatility: Weir Architecture

One word encapsulates the work of the team at Weir Architecture – versatility. “We are working all around the South Island at the moment,” Managing Director Robert Weir says. “There are projects underway in Nelson, Wanaka, Queenstown, the West Coast, Akaroa and in Christchurch and every one of these projects is different.”



The locations demonstrate versatility and so does the work – from a large rest home, apartments and other industrial projects in Nelson, to architectural homes in Queenstown, baches in Akaroa, houses on the West Coast and hotels and restaurant fit-outs in Christchurch.

“It is so easy today with our communication systems to undertake work anywhere. Simple too, to just jump on a plane, or into a car and drive to site if we need to. I’ve driven to Wanaka and back in a day a number of times.”

As can be seen from the range of projects underway, Weir Architecture doesn’t specialise in any one sector of architecture, but works across all aspects. “My associates Raymond Barnes and John Pettersen and I have decades of experience in all forms of design and construction to offer clients.”

One thing that is a constant at Weir Architecture is listening to what clients want. “Our clients are at the centre of all our processes. Taking the time to understand their requirements is crucial to producing designs that fulfil a brief. Each project is looked at on its own merits and with an absolutely open mind.”

This client-focused approach has resulted in many architectural awards over the years. “We are thrilled to have won this year’s regional architectural design award for ‘Residential New Home over 300m2’. It’s a beachside house on Christchurch’s North Shore and it was designed to harmonise with the clients’ family lifestyle and use of spaces.”

On a larger scale, but still very much in accordance with the client’s brief, is another 2019 award winner – the transformation of the former Forsyth Barr office tower into a dynamic luxurious hotel – the new Christchurch Crowne Plaza. “This was definitely a challenging project requiring lateral thinking and all our combined experience to resolve – but the outcome earned us a commercial/industrial design award.”




Heating Efficiency

It’s getting cold out there, so we’ve put together our hottest tips for heating your home efficiently.



Heat pumps are one of the most cost-efficient ways to get the job done, but they do need to be sized, installed and used properly. Getting your heatpump serviced regularly will ensure it’s running efficiently.

The World Health Organisation recommends heating to a minimum of 18 degrees to prevent occupiers from getting sick. It might be tempting to ramp up heating some days, but setting the temp to 21 degrees is a good balance between keeping warm and not wasting energy.

A house with good ceiling and underfloor insulation can reduce heat loss by up to 50 percent, so get a professional to check out your insulation.

Speaking of insulating, now is a good time to either install or upgrade your curtains to ensure they’re good quality and lined – good curtains can be as effective as double glazing when it comes to keeping your home warm. Make sure you open them during the day and close them half an hour before the sun disappears so you can trap all that free heat.

Check the outside of your windows as well, ensuring seals are in good condition and trim back foliage from your windows so you can let the light in.

It may seem counterproductive, but opening windows briefly every day actually makes the house warmer by drying it out.

Most households spend more money on heating water than space heating. So why not check out some of the energy efficient water heating and cooling solutions now available.



Cue the curves

Anyone can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of rounded corners. Curves are said to be easier on the eye and take less cognitive effort to visually process. When American architect Philip Johnson first visited the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, it is said that he described it as “the greatest building of our time” and started to cry.




Johnson said, “Architecture is not about words; it’s about tears”. Something about the museum’s majestic curves moved him at an emotional level, and many visitors must have had a similar feeling as the building was hailed as a ‘signal moment in the architectural culture’.

There’s no denying that curves are eye-catching, and one of the biggest transformations taking place in interior design trends for 2019 is just that – curves. We are seeing scalloped edges, crescent silhouettes and graceful curved corners taking over both furniture and accessories in the home.

People are growing tired of square and rectangular furniture with straight, clean lines and are now moving towards round shaped furniture. From rounded chairs to curved coffee tables, these interior design essentials are all about comfort and elegance. These shapes may resemble furnishings from previous decades like the swinging sixties, but this returning trend brings an inviting softness to our rooms.

To reflect the trend in your own home, look to everything from curved sofas and coffee tables, to mirrors, lamps and side tables. Even curved artwork can add softness to a room and create a more inviting and relaxing abode.


Responding Creatively to Design Guidelines: Allfrey South Architects

Meeting design guidelines for particular sites is a must, but architect Craig South argues there is still plenty of room for creative interpretation.



When making a big investment in a new home, it can be reassuring knowing there are design rules in place to protect that investment. Yet if these rules are followed conservatively, the results can be pretty bland and uninspiring, which may not be desirable from a long-term investment perspective. A creative approach will more likely produce something memorable that will hold its value and reflect your design ideals. As architects, we are required to work within guidelines, yet I feel we must not lose sight of that bigger design imperative: a unique response to a one-off set of criteria. I believe there is always space for playfulness in design. No matter the project, we always start with our client’s brief and an understanding of the site and the environment, before exploring the limits of what is possible within the rules.

Such exploration requires a little reading between the lines. For example, guidelines might stipulate what colours can be used, but not specify all building elements. This allows the option to inject personality in the non-specified elements. For instance, selecting a brightly coloured gate, without breaking the rules. These guidelines can be open to interpretation to some extent, such as in Hanmer Springs where all buildings must comply with the ‘alpine character’ ideals. The Hurunui Council is very particular about the look of the township, with strict height restrictions, specifics around roof pitch and constraints on colour choice. While these guidelines presented a challenge, by thinking differently and not opting for generic or easy options, we arrived at a very unique solution. Following the guidelines, but full of playful design elements, The Family Bach doesn’t take itself too seriously. Fundamentally, architects can add value and a sense of fun to design, even when constraints are in place.


It is important, as architects, that when we are designing to guidelines and pushing those boundaries as much as possible, we have a considered rationale behind our design decisions. There can be times when we need to defend our ‘out of the box’ thinking and, in order to achieve the best result for our client, we must fully understand the guidelines and have the ability to justify how our design fits those parameters. Considering site context is imperative to enhancing a project’s creative potential. The village at Terrace Downs features several traditional alpine homes however, we created a family home that stretched the notion of what an alpine home is.

The influences of Canterbury’s rugged mountains inspired our approach to roofline design, with soaring roof planes, asymmetrical and abrupt, extenuating the mountain slopes in the background. Of course, the alpine environment affected the orientation of the home and the organisation of the internal spaces, ensuring year-round liveability and engagement with the environment. It is an inescapable reality; design guidelines must form part of the design brief for specific sites. Yet, as architects we believe it is also important to interpret these creatively. There is always room for flexibility within the rules to create something unique.