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Real lives behind the architecture: Allfrey + South

From the outside, the practice of architecture may seem a little formal. Architect Craig South, of Allfrey + South Architects, says greater openness can change perceptions and promote positive outcomes.



When I first started out in this industry more than 20 years ago, I’m sure I would have thought that creative skills alone held the key to great design. In fact, as I’ve discovered, it invariably evolves out of building good relationships with clients; spending time with them on-site and getting to know their lifestyle and aspirations. You really can’t do that effectively without also sharing something of yourself along the way. Equally, good open communication is fundamental to building a healthy, friendly work environment. Once barriers start coming down between people, the relationships that form are generally very positive and productive.

As barrier busters go, my family’s Newfoundland puppy, Murphy, is proving a real champ. I’ve recently started bringing him into the studio with me. What a great experience it has been for everyone – so far, at least! Studies suggest that pets in the workplace are fantastic at relieving stress and encouraging social interaction. Dogs have been a fixture at Amazon for many years now and I can see why; having Murphy around the office encourages the team to take breaks away from their desks and lifts the overall mood. Of course, he’s a distraction to an extent, but a happy one and I think ultimately, we will all benefit.

I’m impressed at how chilled and relaxed Murphy is, both at home with my three daughters – aged 15, 13 and 10 – and in the studio, his calm nature seems to rub off on everyone that meets him. The plan is to have Murphy in the studio three days a week and, until he’s fully trained, he will spend most of his time hanging out in the office courtyard awaiting cuddles and pats. I’ve yet to meet anyone who can resist his ineffable ‘Newfie’ charm.

He will also be joining us at Allfrey + South’s Open Studio session later this month (29 November). This is an informal opportunity to drop by, ask a few questions and get to know us all a little better. Those with an interest in craft beer might be interested in the ‘brew day’ feature of the afternoon as I experiment with a new batch, and there may be an opportunity to sample some of my other home brew too!

During our Open Studio, you will find all of the Allfrey + South team are happy to share perspectives on architectural trends and innovations, as well as interests outside the office. Our website has been running some interesting stories from staff this year with blogs on a variety of topics from furniture restoration and small apartment living to travel experiences. It has made me appreciate what a diverse group we are, with many different outlooks and hobbies. While we are all employed in the same architecture sphere, we bring a range of experiences and talents to the practice.

All of this feeds back into an exceptional service for our clients, focused on celebrating their uniqueness in turn so as to create truly bespoke homes.

Meanwhile, I’m sure there will be many more updates to come on Murphy, who is still only at the start of his very own journey towards becoming a fully-grown dog! He may be small now, but he may eventually tip the scales at around 70kg!


Architect Craig South
Craig South



Terrazzo Tales

Terrazzo Tales

Terrazzo may have finally knocked marble off its perennial popularity perch, as the forgotten flooring of the 1970s has returned to brighten up ceilings, entryways and everything in between.


Terrazzo Tales


But we’re taking a rather soft approach to this composite material that was created in Italy more than 500 years ago, with bedspreads, throws, drapes and other soft furnishings taking on this magical mosaic.  It’s not hard to see why this speckled print is making us go dotty. A life member of the practicality party, its durability and wide range of colour and pattern options make it a great choice to freshen up any space.

Add a contemporary edge by incorporating this graphic print in earthy and pastel shades – preferably blue and pink. So why not get creative and start decorating your abode with this colourful confetti-like creation.



Total Food Equipment

Totally Fabulous Existence: Total Food Equipment

All that you ever really need and want for your kitchen and cooking is likely to be at Total Food Equipment (TFE).


Total Food Equipment


It’s a mouthwatering destination. Sandra McLay of the Moorhouse Avenue store says the shop has long had a reputation for very high quality cookware and tableware, decorative items included. Because of this, it’s the store to frequent for those serious about cooking and meal quality. Using the right tools; cast iron, enamelware, or clayware makes meals deliciously successful. Many home cooks may not realise the tender effects that flow from long slow cooking in a perfectly evenly heated vessel, for instance. Or the fact that top-quality knives make their users less prone to injuries, rather than the reverse.

The team at TFE is trained in all of the technical aspects of their globally-sourced cookware, coffee-makers and appliances. They might even tell customers the temperature at which to cook certain dishes on their barbeques. Some of the pots and pans here are relative rarities, such as steamers with several tiers like multi-storey buildings.  Sandra says she personally doesn’t boil anything except potatoes; she prefers to steam her vegetables, thereby retaining texture and nutrition. So the denser vegetables go into the lowest steamer, and the more watery, thinner veges into the top tier. Cooking like this is also elegantly simple… it’s literally a vertical stack, freeing up kitchen and element space.

All of those items which make meal preparation simple and ergonomic are bound to be somewhere in the Moorhouse TFE.  Sandra says she supports local suppliers wherever possible. She points to a range of bread-or-cheese-board-looking ‘lynchboards.’ These are beautifully finished, silken-looking chopping or presentation-boards made here in Canterbury. They’re produced from recycled native beech and rimu, in thicknesses you’d struggle to find anywhere – even in currently produced high-end furniture. For those people keener on collating food, or in producing maximum-impact, minimum-effort meals, a visit to TFE will truly pay dividends. Not only is there gorgeous serve-ware and indie platters, there’s also the sauces, preserves, and grinds. In other words, here are the finishing touches in which the interesting and the tangy collide. These are the perfect items to ‘salt away’ for presents, no pun intended. This is the place to find marmalade containing whisky, jam made with riesling and lemon thyme, or salt for fajitas with the perfect ‘kick’ to make a meal memorable.

Later on in the calendar, when it’s becoming ok to talk about impending Christmas, this is the shop to put all gift dilemmas to bed. There’s gold-coloured cutlery, silicone casserole carriers; children’s bake-ware and cookie-cutter sets, not to mention candlesticks, cake stands, serviettes; even old-school pottery biscuit-jars. People who preserve lemons or any other fruit will find super-cool glass jars with different seal options here. Maybe TFE staff will even share their best-ever recipe into the bargain. TFE is at 218 Moorhouse Ave and has ample customer parking.

Visit, or phone 03 366 6912.


Colour me Warm

Colour me Warm

We all know we’re supposed to ‘blank-canvas’ our homes before a ‘For-Sale’ sign gets within reach. So that means many of us will buy a ‘whited-out’ home.

Colour me Warm


Once installed, life ramps up and we can get stuck in this white way of living… which is superb if that’s your chosen aesthetic.
But inspiration abounds on ways to live with hits of colour; even relatively dark backdrop tones. Take a look at the interiors of the swanky hotels of the world, and then at the insides of cute, rustic mountain cabins in remoter regions of the United States, Canada or anywhere something indie has been artfully thrown together.

You’ll probably find they’re suffused with colour and texture. Also, you’ll notice they elicit an emotional response. You just want to be there, soaking up the atmosphere, looking up at the stars, or out at the lake. These are enveloping, more voluptuous interiors. They cater to our basic needs for shelter and refuge; things might not match, but that’s part of the charm.


Colour me Warm

We’re returning to times where brownie-orangey spice-colours, muddy greys, soft pinks, teals and olives are the comforting ones. Finally we’re allowing our surrounds to be warm and strong again. More often than not, it’s transporting us to times spent at Nana and Poppa’s bach, or great auntie Margaret’s place, where love and care were part of the feel-good equation.


Colour me Warm

Large-scale nostalgic floral prints are back, as are textural weaves not seen in force since the 1970s. Add in some velvet and furry-feeling rugs and cushions, and the welcome factor is in residence. It’s not enough to merely tolerate your everyday surroundings. Homewares stores, even op-shops are full of treasures like coffee mugs or vases (or almost anything) in warm-toned, rose-tinted, lemon or apple-green items. This is part of life where gut responses equal style-guidance. If you find yourself adoring a purple and mustard fabric off-cut, buy it and turn it into a cushion. If you hate something too-generic that currently lurks in your kitchen, someone else might love it, so give it away.


Colour me Warm

There’s no moral superiority to be grasped by holding onto unloved furnishings or table-mats. If your living spaces feel cold, it can just be a matter of adding a rich backdrop wallpaper, a riotous jar of flowers or sculptural stalks, and some turmeric-toned, tactile European pillows. Yellow rather than white-toned lighting is a biggie too.

Once you’ve decided on your desired elements, the shopping fun begins. A domestic haven full of personality and charm will result.


Colour me Warm




Angelique Armstrong

Child’s Play: Q&A with Angelique Armstrong

When it comes to designing for the littlies in ones’ life, it’s not all child’s play. Metropol talks to award-winning interior designer Angelique Armstrong about creating inspiring spaces.

Angelique Armstrong



What are the most important things to consider when interior designing a child’s bedroom?

Layout, easy flow to the bed and around the room, ensuring there is enough storage for toys jewellery, sports gear, clothes etc, such as under the bed, a window seat, box shelving on the walls or an ottoman with lid. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have good storage; baskets, brightly painted shoe boxes, fabric-covered buckets with ribbons will help children clean up easily. Nooks for sleeping, playing and storing special things will also make children feel happy, safe and inspired every day no matter their ages.


How do you incorporate colour?

Painting neutral/white walls means there is plenty of scope to adapt with art and decor. In boys’ rooms l personally like primary colours, white, soft blues and contrast piping. For girls’ rooms, soft plush pink is very in at the moment.
Adding these colours through the duvet, throws and cushions means it can be changed as your child grows without much cost. If the child is high energy, add colours that are soft and calming, and vice versa.


What advice would you give parents looking to update a space for their child?

Remembering that this is the only space in the house your child can actually call their own, it’s about making it suit; what they like, favourite colours and their hobbies.
The challenge is to design a space that will reflect their interests and personality but can grow with them through the years. Create some fun, such as a large pinboard for photos, certificates, artworks and fairy lights.


How can Armstrong Interiors help create your child’s room?

With our knowledge of wall colours, we can get this right first time. We also have a large range of fabrics and beautiful bed linens. We can also make drapes and cushions.
We design dedicated storage areas and can measure your area, design what you need, quote and get one of our specialised joinery companies to make and install for you, removing all the stress from beginning to end.



Visit or phone 03 356 2636.


Home Ideas centre

Inspiring ideas: Home Ideas centre

If you’re want to update the look and feel of your home, planning that ever elusive extension or maybe it’s time for that new home you have always dreamed of, then you’ll find the answer at the Home Ideas centre.


Home Ideas centre


On November 4, Home Ideas is running a special Home Expo day where experts and exhibitors will be on hand to discuss your needs.
No matter what stage you are at in your build or renovation process, it will be worth a trip to the Home Expo and it is free to the public.
The Home Ideas centre is not only Christchurch’s permanent “Home Show”, it is so much more. It is a conduit between exhibitors, designers, specifiers and the public.

Free seminars are held on a weekly basis for the public and range from specialist first home buyer seminars through to energy saving solar power and everything in between.  The seminars are a fantastic way for the public to gain a greater understanding of the new products and innovations that are current to market needs and trends and are delivered by experts in their chosen field. The seminars are highly patronised, so much so that bookings are essential. The Home Expo will be an extension of this. There will be more than 30 specialist exhibitors on hand to discuss your requirements, from the interior design of your home right through to landscaping your back yard.

It will be an interactive event with a sausage sizzle and a bouncy castle for the kids. The Home Ideas centre is undercover and located at 37 Mandeville Street in Riccarton and is open seven days a week. From interior design advice to inspirational build ideas, the friendly staff are on hand and willing to help you achieve the best result possible and, if they don’t know something, they will seek out an expert to help. They are always looking for ways to make your project easier.

With plenty of experience working with local tradespeople and manufacturers in Christchurch and the South Island, owner Griff Simpson says a trip to Home Idea is a`must visit’ when renovating or building.



Victoria Florist

Bloomin’ beautiful: Victoria Florist

It’s exciting times ahead at iconic Victoria Florist, on the corner of Idris and Wairakei Roads, as new owners Leanne Lovell (former owner of Ruby Tuesday Florist,) and her husband Andrew put their loving stamp on it.


Victoria Florist


For Christchurch born and bred Leanne, the move feels like she’s come full circle. “My mother was a florist, and I remember our trips to the original Victoria Florist premises in Victoria Street when I was a little girl.” Although it’s a new business and location, regular clientele can be rest assured nothing else has changed.

“The girls from Ruby Tuesday have moved here with me. We can’t wait to welcome our loyal customers to our new home, and look forward to meeting new customers, and providing the best service, as always.” Leanne’s happiest when creating her exquisite funeral arrangements. “If my flowers can help families in grief – that’s everything to me.”  At 6.30am, three mornings a week, Leanne’s at the flower market; it’s a hectic life, but her 35 years as a florist proves her passion still burns bright.

“We’re a passionate bunch who love what we do. We love flowers, we love life, and we believe in celebrating the big, small, happy and sad times that are part of life. We put love into every bouquet, because we really care.”


Victoria Florist are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm. Phone 03 351 7444 or visit


Garden Goals

Garden Goals

The second half of the year is ramping up and it’s the time of the year where we start to appreciate our exterior spaces so much more. Creating the perfect area outside can make this experience all the more palatable.


Garden Goals


In the spirit of spring’s new beginnings, we have put together a 2018 to-do list of areas the professionals can help ensure you have a great 2019. First up when embarking on your landscaping journey, consider what you want from your space. This might be an area for entertaining where you can host BBQs and outdoor dinner parties, a space for the kids to play, a spot you can relax in over the weekend, or if your garden is on the micro side of size, it might simply be about maximising the space available.

Engage a quality landscaping company to get the gardens looking tip top and you may find there’s less maintenance and upkeep when things are done right the first time. Make a plan and create a budget to get there. Engage your landscaping experts early, as they will know what is achievable and be able to assist with the planning stage.


Consider what you want from your space


A new deck is an easy and affordable way to extend your living spaces that will last for years. Likewise, paving too is a quick and easy way to dress up a tired space. Whether you want to create a special focal point, extend your living space or even just add a small pathway, you can get creative with the shape, size and pattern.



Say Hello to Yellow

Say Hello to Yellow

It’s the divisive hue of the colour wheel; in nature, when paired with black, yellow means danger; in Japan it represents courage; in Russia, a psychiatric hospital is known as a ‘yellow house’; it is also the colour of sunshine, happiness and sunflowers.


Say Hello to Yellow


Yet it seems this happy hue has knocked millennial pink of its popularity perch and this bright and punchy new player is vying for power. Gen Z Yellow is the latest buzz word in home décor circles. While yellow can be a polarising colour to wear, anything on the spectrum from lemon to mustard—which is where Gen Z Yellow lies—tends to be pretty easy to work with when it comes to design. After all, you don’t have immovable facets such as complexions to work with when it comes to our living spaces.

As such, it’s now embraced as energetic but equally relaxing; an ally to homes that want to generate an authentic aura of warmth. Tread carefully, for risk of it dominating and overwhelming the space. Start with the accents – curtains, lighting, cushions, throws and even rugs are great places to start. Say hello to yellow, the hottest colour of the summer, by welcoming a splash of sunshine into your home.


Say Hello to Yellow
Say Hello to Yellow
Say Hello to Yellow
Say Hello to Yellow



Sweet Seats

Sweet Seats

Few design trends are as useful as they are beautiful, but seats are increasingly blurring the lines between form and function, with our living spaces reaping the beautiful rewards.


Sweet Seats


With their purposeful role in our homes, they are in the prime position to make a design statement. So whether you’re in store for a comfy couch or some bentwood beauties, we’ve got the low-down on the sweetest seats around.  Although a lifelong member of the practicality party, dining chairs are getting a cool 2019 makeover. We’re increasingly seeing more creativity injected into their design, like the beautiful Venus Chairs by Pillow Talk, pictured.  When it comes to couches, it seems bigger is better, with plump silhouettes and over-sized chaise sectionals all the rage right now, which is a plus when it comes to comfort.

Curvy, rounded edges are having a serious moment in 2018. Traditional ’70s colours such as mustard, sage and deep jewel tones lend a healthy dose of vintage flair, or keep your finger on the contemporary pulse with of-the-moment shades like cobalt blue or millennial pink. Luxe materials such as velvet are making their luxurious mark.  If it’s the mid-century aesthetic you’re after, fear not – this art deco-inspired trend isn’t going anywhere soon. This look is all about opulence and glamour, so look for tuxedo or cabriole-style sofas.

Its modern incarnation incorporates many of the same design motifs as when it first hit the style scene in the 20s. Expect glossy blacks, shiny chrome, deep, tonal hues of purples and reds, bold geometric shapes, funky animal skins and ornate detailing.