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Gardens, gifts and café in one: Lushingtons Gardens, Gifts and Café

Spring is a time of renewal. It’s also a time to explore, to do something different, to find somewhere new to enjoy. There can be few more alluring places for a new experience than Lushingtons Garden, Gifts and Café at Tinwald, Ashburton. It’s the perfect stop for lunch and a leg stretch en route to and from Christchurch, but because it offers so many tempting delights – it is even better for a day out.

Right now, the garden centre has a huge range of edible plants. “We have stocked up again on edibles after an enormous run on these during the Covid-19 lockdown,” says Miranda Sinton, who co-owns Lushingtons with her sister, Sophie Duff.

“There is everything from vegetable and berry plants to fruit and citrus trees. Now is a good time to be planting seeds for summer harvesting and our knowledgeable and experienced team can help with your selections. We take pride in the quality of our plants and grow many of them in our own nursery at Allenton which helps keep the prices competitive.”

The café too has new surprises on its spring menu for breakfast and lunch, alongside wholesome homemade cakes and slices. Next to the café is the gift and homewares shop.

Worked around a “country comes to town” theme, here you will find beautiful French and English-inspired giftware.

Lushingtons definitely has what it takes to delight the senses and lift the spirits. Once you are there it is not easy to leave.


An office revolution: Canterbury Office Furniture

If you are running a successful business in this time of upheaval, you’ll be paying close attention to social and economic developments both locally and globally. In paying close attention, you’ll be aware that we are right in the midst of a quiet revolution in the ways we work and do business together.


Canterbury Office Furniture understands that our workspaces need to innovate to support this revolution. During lockdown, we had to find ways to work and collaborate remotely from home, and often this worked well for firms and individuals.

With post-lockdown returns to commercial spaces, research shows that in order to thrive, commercial spaces will need to cater for doing business in ways that working remotely from home cannot.

Owner Howard Nossiter says, “Office and workspace floor plans are destined to change.”

These new spaces will encompass new planning geometries, forming neighbourhood-based workspaces with physical distancing between desks, created by a mixture of collaborative and storage spaces.

Assigned workspaces, or “free-address” with “clean desk policies” will also be a consideration going forward.

Canterbury Office Furniture is delighted to assist with innovating commercial office and workspace design, through to supply and fit out, to ensure they meet changing needs.

“We can also provide an identical service, working with both individuals and businesses in relation to bespoke or tailor-made home office spaces,” says Howard.

A locally owned business, Canterbury Office Furniture is supported by its own joinery and steel fabrication factory, with a strong focus on using New Zealand products.


Growing self-sufficiency

Vegetable patches the country over expanded this year, as a nationwide lockdown and mile-long supermarket queues inspired many households to grow their own. And for some, the enthusiasm hasn’t waned. Here’s Metropol’s tips for planting out your vege patch for spring.


While it is still too early to plant traditional summer vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers, you can continue planting year-round vegetables like celery, lettuce, silverbeet, beetroot, and spinach.

It is an apt time to start planting herbs like basil, coriander, and parsley. Almost all herbs love the sunshine, while others like mint relish the shade.

Sow seeds of summer vegetables like courgettes in pots or seed trays for planting into the garden in late October. Remember, it takes an extra six to eight weeks from germination to planting for seeds.

When it’s not too wet outdoors, start preparing areas of your vegetable garden for summer crops by adding fresh compost to existing soil.

Top tip: Quick-maturing crops like radishes, which can take just five weeks to grow, can give some instant gratification for impatient planters.


Hedging your bets

Luscious additions to any garden, hedges are living walls ideal for creating privacy and shelter, filtering out noise, dividing areas or for creating an elegant garden character. When cared for well, hedges can be immaculate high-impact features. Here’s Metropol’s top tips for cultivating a lush hedge of your own.


Know your shrubbery
From buxus, corokia, Portuguese laurel and Irish yew to osmanthus, griselinia, camelia, beech and holly – hedging options abound. Ask your supplier for the best variety to grow locally, and to suit the weather and soil of your garden.

Hungry hedges
Early spring is a great time to fertilise your hedge to help growth when the weather really heats up.

Thirsty work
Just like other shrubs, hedges need frequent and regular watering. In hot weather, don’t forget to give the roots special attention.

Trim and tidy
Pruning ensures hedges’ long term health, but the right tools are needed for the job. Using a shear like a power trimmer or handheld pruner to trim your hedging enhances the production of buds, and also lets crucial sunlight through to the shaded interior growth.

Shape up
Contrary to popular belief, hedges should be shaped to be thicker at the base – this ensures the lower part of the hedge remains covered in green growth.


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.


Extend your shelf life

Styled well, shelves can be a catalogue of beloved life knick-knacks on show for all, but done with less consideration can appear as a clustered after thought. Rather than being s(h)elfish we thought we would share our top tips to styling your shelves.


Book smart:
This may seem obvious, considering bookshelves are not new on the home décor scene, but experiment with the configuration of your books, stack them vertically, horizontally or in an L-shape. You can even try colour coding the spines, or displaying a particularly special title front on.

Texture and accents:
Add contrasting textures like glass and ceramics, plants, and metallics to bring some eclecticism to your shelves. Rearrange items and try different combinations – layer items, arrange in odd numbers, and with greenery creeping between shelves.

More is more:
A shelf serves the function of display and storage. Interior designer and blogger Chris Carroll says to avoid only displaying three or four items like your home is an art gallery. Instead, give your shelves personality by creating a visual story.

Quality over quantity
While too much negative space is not a positive, too much clutter is also not the goal. Instead, balance the space and interest by only incorporating items you truly love – whether that’s treasured family heirlooms, your favourite book titles, or a coveted vase.


Hillside sleek: Smylie Builders

In completing this stunning SDMC Architecture-designed home on Cannon Hill, Smylie Builders have provided a fabulous outcome for the owners, who faced tribulations in getting back onto their much-loved site post-earthquakes.


“Topography dictated the design, and we were involved in the whole process from design to completed build,” says Smylie Builders Creative Director Chelsea Smylie.

“We were able to achieve a seamless build that fitted within our client’s budget.

“The strength was in the partnerships we have between the designers and subtrades.”

The homeowners had a clear vision of the aesthetic and Chelsea was able to work with them on all their interior choices.

The result is sleek featuring dark cladding and kitchen, fused with some elements of fun – a kiwi bach vibe, think retro wallpapers and tiles, splashes of colour, and plywood ceilings with negative details throughout.

Colorsteel cladding and a 22m roof all on one plain enclose a hidden, plywood-lined band room-slash-teenage hangout accessed via a step from the garage, creating a cave-like feeling.
The study is connected to the hub of the house with an internal window above the feature barn track yellow door.

“The building process was highly interesting with the combination of timber retaining walls, concrete retaining walls, suspended concrete floors and suspended timber floors, lots of structural steel and suspended walkways, including drive on deck,” says Managing Director Nick Smylie.

“We were determined to deliver a home that would make this family feel it was all worth it: personalised; and it had to feel like a fresh start.”


Rattan revival

The appeal of natural fibres in the home refuses to wane, epitomised by the resurgence of rattan, cane and wicker furnishings. Playing into trending aesthetics of modern bohemian, rattan freshens up the mood of any room.


Airy and durable, rattan has been used in furniture design for centuries. The climbing vine, which grows mainly in southeast Asia, can be peeled off in strands and chiselled and hammered – often laboriously by hand – into flat rattan ready for weaving.

Cane is from the outer part of the rattan tree and the inner core, along with bamboo, willow and raffia, is often termed wicker.

While popular in the ‘70s, modern cane, rattan and wicker seldom features in full dining or lounging sets anymore – unless for outdoor furniture. Instead we’re seeing more standalone statement pieces.

Think situational chairs with boxy wooden frames and webbed rattan insets, or buffet and side tables with the same style panelling.

When it comes to home accents, we’re seeing baskets, bed heads, light shades, shelves, mirrors, trays and even book ends in the light organic wood composition.

These vintage vibes have been making a comeback for some time, and don’t seem to be going anywhere fast – touted by Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue as decade-defining.

Oft seen in the pages of the world’s most stylish magazines and in curated social media feeds paired with soft, neutral fabrics and ever-popular indoor greenery, the light wood also lends itself to being coupled with bright pops of pinks, oranges and blues.

Statement or subtle, weaving rattan, wicker or cane into your décor will bring a little romanticism to any space.


Growing an English Rose: DJ Hewitt Builders

The family of a Strowan home describe her as a beautiful English Rose – an ode to iconic Christchurch history.

Angee and Chris Robertson fell in love with the spaciousness and strong bones of their character villa two years ago, now renovated with robust modern comforts by DJ Hewitt Builders.

“I kept hearing Daryl’s name come up when parents chatted about their home-build experiences,” says Angee, a former English teacher at Shirley Boys and St Margaret’s College.

“We had endured the highs and lows of building before, and as busy professionals with two young children we wanted a team of reliability, high quality and integrity.

“They guided us through every step of the project. Everything was on time and pre-calculated, with no surprises. The workmanship was faultless! It shows they love what they do, and Daryl did some of the work himself.”

Utilising the sunny 800sqm section was the next plan, but the Robertson’s since chose an adventure in Auckland. Elmwood is now for sale, after having only three owners in 110 years.

Transformed with personality from a house to a home, clean lines and clean colours created a classic palette.

“It’s so light and bright. To me a home is synesthetic, to involve all your senses.

“With the styling from Lume Design, the massive, beautiful kitchen was modernised and a long island bench created our home’s hub and heart. Bathrooms tend to be a quiet space of luxury, so we chose art deco-style Italian tiles and double showers with deluxe rain heads.

“Everything was completely rewired and well insulated, with new windows, and there is a heat pump, gas fire and log burner.”

The old garage on the north-facing section, was completely rebuilt to look like it has always been there, and includes a guestroom or fourth double bedroom, with its own elegant bathroom.

“Both Daryl and Tara treated us like family, making the process simple and pain-free. They were knowledgeable, genuine and warm. We never felt like a number, and through DJ Hewitt we created not just a point of difference, but a point of excellence. Any family would feel at home here.”

Visit to view the home.