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Rocking the stone look: Armstrong Interiors


Metropol catches up with award-winning interior designer Angelique Armstrong about how we can rock the natural stone look in our interiors.

 

 


A granite or marble feature wall in an interior can look incredible, how can we match our tile choices to the feature wall?

On our Instagram and Facebook, you will see natural stone is something we enjoy using.

Timeless, classic and durable, it will make a lasting statement in any space. We admire the history that exists behind the process of sourcing and producing stone slabs, and we love knowing that each piece is original in colour and veining, ensuring that every installation comes with its own authentic sense of style.

Stone feature walls can give a home an organic texture, warmth and sense of sophistication.

When choosing tiles to complement the feature wall, we consider the overall feel and purpose of the room.

Sometimes the best result is to use something completely different so the stone becomes the feature, or another option is to pick out a colour within the stone you can work with.

Pictured is a project we recently completed at a country estate in Canterbury.

The schist worked in beautifully with the parquet sideboards we had custom made, along with the detail of the kitchen design.


With flooring in our bathrooms which natural stone do you recommend?

Natural stone is a sensible choice for a wet area like the bathroom, laundry or entrance way where durable flooring solutions are needed.

Stone options include Travertine Bluestones, marble and granite.

The finish of the tiled stone is also optional based on the look you want to achieve.

Examples include; honed, leathered, gloss and matte finishes, and the size module and lay is also optional.


Our fire places are generally a focal point of our living areas, how can we incorporate natural stone to add interest and dimension to this area?

The look you are wanting to achieve for your home will help determine the right choice of stone and grouting.

You may want your fireplace to be elegant and formal, clean and simple, contemporary or rustic.

A stone surround will enhance the room creating an eye catching focal point. Book-matched stone, along with a beautiful stone hearth can offer one of the most enchanting results.

Phone: 03 356 2636
Email: office@armstronginteriors.co.nz
Instagram: armstronginteriorsltd

 


 

Sit down with Sophie: Sophie Divett Jewellery


There’s nothing more personal than getting a piece of jewellery custom-made. Local Cantabrian Sophie Divett is providing a one-of-a-kind experience to her customers in creating beautifully bespoke pieces. Metropol sits down with Sophie to get to know a little bit more about her and her bustling business.

 

 

Tell us a little bit about Sophie Divett Jewellery. Where did your passion for jewellery come from?
It started when I was studying for my Bachelor of Fine Art, back in 2012. I was making these very small, delicate sculptures out of organic materials and wire. Jewellery was a very natural progression from that.


Is there a certain style or inspiration for your work?
I get a lot of inspiration from things that are ‘perfectly imperfect’; Ancient treasures, well-worn and weathered surfaces, objects that become more beautiful because they have history. Everything I make has a very organic feel.


What’s your environmental policy?
I think about minimising the impact on the planet with everything I do. Metals are recycled, ethically sourced and conflict free. I use sapphires from small-scale operations in Australia, ethically sourced salt-and-pepper diamonds and recycled white diamonds, which are natural diamonds that have been reclaimed from pre-existing jewellery, so no new mining needs to take place. All of my gold rings come in beautiful handmade Rimu boxes and proceeds from these go toward forest regeneration initiatives.

For more information on Sophie’s creations, head to her website.


 

Flower Power: Victoria Florists


Flowers bring colour, texture and feeling to your special day. Metropol catches up with Leanne Lovell from Victoria Florists about what colours and varieties we can expect to see adorning upcoming weddings.

 

How much are floral colour choices for weddings influenced by trends?
Mostly as many brides get ideas and are inspired by what they see in magazines and online such as Pinterest.


What colour preferences are you seeing coming through at the moment?
Whites and greens are still dominating colours with blush and plum also very popular.


What are the main varieties brides-to-be choose for their big day?
As with so many aspects of our homes, fashion and food, sustainability is big news in wedding flowers. Locally sourced flowers and wildflowers, garden flowers, dried and fresh mixed, all get used in our bouquets.
We’re seeing plenty of foliage like eucalyptus, olive and berries for opulent bouquets which give instant ‘wow’ factor with inclusion of all-time favourites such as peonies, hydrangeas, proteas, dahlias, gypsophila and roses.


What about your own personal favourites?
I just love the mixture of dried wildflowers, fresh flowers and the different foliages available now! With the trend being big and flowy, I can let my artistic flair go wild. I must say over the last 36 years, floral wedding bouquets have changed so much and I really love what’s on trend now.
Are there any new varieties to the bridal line-up that are proving popular or do we tend to stick to the classics?
Yes, dried flowers are officially all the rage now and all things natural in table decor and backdrops are either all dried and/or fresh flowers. Meanwhile, some brides do like the classics and we can cater for all styles. Succulents are increasingly becoming popular and we’re seeing a lot of flowers adorning wedding cakes.


What are some other unique ways of incorporating the beauty of flowers into the big day?
A modern take on the traditional wedding arch makes a statement backdrop for the ceremony and can be reused for the photo booth or top table. Also hanging floral displays are a popular way to wow your guests.


 

Kiwi icon of comedy


It’s all about hearty belly laughs – even in times of adversity – for this Kiwi icon of comedy.

 

 

Peter Rowley is an actor well-loved by those who were glued to the telly in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

He was the straight guy in many a Kiwiana satirical series, such as McPhail and Gatsby, and most notoriously, the Billy T James Show, of which Peter also wrote the scripts with his late, great best-bud Billy. More recently he stared in 2018’s Mortal Engines.

This eternal funny guy still rocks the enthusiastic energy he’s infamous for, even at the suave age of 68.

During Stage 4 lockdown he got up-close and personal with his ‘lockdown comedy’ on Facebook every single day.

The rendition of traditional funny-bone ticklers, showcased his repertoire of impersonations, accents and elastic expressions – adding the odd sound effect with a click of a talented tongue.

He does a Billy Conolly arguably as good as the Scotsman himself. Being too PC or polite doesn’t feature in a Rowley script. It’s comedy in its riotous raw. A

“I resonate with today’s straight-shooting comedians like Ricky Jervis and I admire Spike Milligan for introducing absurdity into comedy.”

Being exceptionally observant is his recipe for creating good comedy.

At this year’s World Buskers Festival, he took to the Spiegeltent stage for the Palaver Grand show. “My happy place is stand-up comedy, so I’m all for its resurgence.”

Born in Timaru and Christ College schooled, he became the “funny boy” so people would like him – and his grandmother was also a comedian.

Peter’s been ensconced back in Christchurch where he grew up, since 2018, after a stint as a Central Otago radio jock.

Prior to that, Peter lived in Melbourne, acting in shows such as Underbelly and Neighbours… and even a Viagra commercial!

“I was pretty much an unknown over there, until I walked into a pub and mentioned I was the voice of Dog in the movie Footrot Flats: A Dog’s Tale. It was all matey hugs and beers after that! The Aussie’s love it.”

Son of a wartime fighter pilot, Peter’s other passion is flying and he’s also enjoyed MCing and livening up many a corporate event.

A voluminous CV of screen and stage stints has led to opportune moments, like having a cuppa with Joan Collins and smoking a cigar with Tommy Lee Jones and Dudley Moore.

This comedic character once owned a Russian Vodka bar.

And recently he conjured up the recipe to his own gin label.

Unsurprisingly christened Laughing Club Gin, the tasteful tipple of London Dry style botanicals, has a beguiling backstory involving Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, sea voyages and British Kings – well matched to its rather glam Art Deco logo.

And why gin? “Because you can always have a great laugh with friends over a really good gin – responsibly of course!”

A boutique Marlborough distillery is preparing for production. “We’ll use a traditional copper still to produce a top-quality mellifluous mouthfeel, which will be PH perfect.”

Peter, who bounced back from a heart attack in 2005, is even more in tune with his creative life mission.

His advice to artists and entrepreneurs?

“It’s courage. When you don’t have fear, then you can allow yourself to be brilliant.

Take your life and make it into the best story in the world!”


 

All about Alison


Alison Aitken has been in the real estate game for three decades, so to say she is at the top of her league is an understatement. The Harcourts Grenadier agent is greatly recognised by both her peers and the community – she was inducted into the prestigious Harcourts’ Hall of Fame in 2011 and in 2019 became the first (and only) Harcourts salesperson to achieve $1 billion in settled sales. Often you read all about properties and what distinguishes them from the rest. We thought we’d take the time to do the same for Alison.

 

 

How was lockdown for your bubble?
Extremely comfortable, we got back to the basics of cooking, gardening, exercise, reading (no TV) and plenty of relaxation. I did very little work except talking to my great client base simply to see if they were ok.


Was your heart always set on real estate?
No, an interesting journey through farm cadetship, banking, hospitality and small business ownership – they all helped shape and form me.


What distinguishes you from the competition?
I work for a great company, part of a superb global network. I have a fantastic team of different ages and different skills which complement each other. We work hard and love what we do.


What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to start in Real Estate?
Get a good platform, a company with good management, training, and resources. The best start is to become part of a high performing team. Be prepared for the sacrifices you need to make, without them there are no rewards.


 

COVID-19’s impact on residential housing: Designer Homes


The world is going through a period of radical change with the arrival of COVID-19 and the economic impacts will be far-reaching. We caught up with Designer Homes Executive Director of Marketing Ajit Kumar about the effect of COVID-19 on New Zealand’s residential housing market.

 

 


Ajit, how does the situation look for purchasing property at the moment?

From data published by QV, we know that residential house values are increasing in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown, and property investments are still more popular than bank investments.

Current interest rates offer little reward for retaining cash investments and property is still considered a safe bet that doesn’t experience large down-swings, even during a recession or a pandemic.


What would your advice be to first-time home buyers?

The same advantages still apply – you avoid paying rent and capital gains secure your future.

Plus, you can’t beat the autonomy of owning your own home, avoiding the interference of a landlord.

As per a recent report released by Trade Me Property, first home buyers are flooding the property market to take advantage of low interest rates and the Reserve Bank scrapping LVR restrictions.


What is your take on getting into property as a new investor?

Examine your investment time-frame. Property looks to be a solid investment option if you are looking at an 8-10 year horizon.

Even taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Zealand property market seems to be comparatively better compared to other sectors: home loan rates are low and expected to reduce, while the current global uncertainly means Kiwis abroad might return to their roots, and either buy or rent, so there is an opportunity for investors to benefit.


How is Designer Homes placed to help with decisions about property investment?

We’ve been established since 2016 with our head office in Christchurch and our branch office in Auckland.

Since our inception we’ve had just one goal: to create affordable, innovative homes that reflect customers tastes and the way they live their lives.


What advantages can Designer Homes offer a first or second home buyer or investors?

You choose from a range of very affordable packages – house and land, or house only.

With Designer Homes as the central stakeholder, customers have a say in the architectural style of their home.

Emphasis on quality materials means the home will still look superb thirty years from now.

There is total flexibility in colour palettes, and you can access your construction status from anywhere using your unique I.D.

Select customers get Smart Home Options at no additional charge.

We also offer amenities like central air conditioning, and clients specify interior corners, facilities, ceiling, washroom and kitchen utilities.

We are handling 35 residential projects in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown and we would love prospective clients to view our work.

For more details please get in touch on enquiry@designerhomes.kiwi.nz.


 

Karen Walker’s love affair with denim


They’ve been torn, patched and intentionally abused by stone and acid washes, and despite a troubled upbringing as the unofficial uniform of 1950s youth counter-culture, denim has maintained its standing as a seasonal staple, reinvented and reinvigorated season after sartorial season. We caught up with our fashion favourite Karen Walker about her love affair with this popular fabric.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF SNAPPER ONLINE

When did you fall in love with denim?

I’m a child of the ‘70s and that’s a decade that was awash in the stuff. One doesn’t recover from that romance.


What do you love about this overwhelmingly popular fabric?

It’s a living fabric that improves with age and pays you back every time you give it an outing.


Do you have a favourite pair?

I always have three or four pairs of jeans in my wardrobe but my favourite cut will always be the Levi’s 501.

I’ve been wearing them since I was in my teens and adore them There’s a reason they’re the legend they are.


What do you think makes the perfect pair of jeans?

It’s all about the fit.


How do you love wearing denim?

I guess the thing that keeps denim so central to all our wardrobes is that you can really do anything you like with it and it works; that’s why I reach for denim so often – because you can throw anything into the rest of the look and it works.


Jeans have long been a wardrobe staple and they’re reimagined year after year. Why do you think they’re such a popular addition?

For all the above reasons. They get better with age and they work with everything you can throw at them.


How do you like to incorporate denim into your designs?

Our approach to denim is usually to take it on a fashion journey in terms of really questioning the status quo around what denim’s silhouette and detailing can be.


Michelle Obama pairing your Temptation Blazer and Original Sin Flares on her Becoming book tour was a favourite of ours – and the world’s! They were a darker shade of denim. What are your favourite denim colours right now?

Nine times out of 10 it’s unwashed dark indigo.


Pulling back on the wash cycle has been thrown around a lot recently, particularly as it relates to denim. What are your top tips for looking after denim?

I’m not a huge fan of the freezer over the washing machine thing but neither do I think you have to wash your jeans after every wear and of course, when you do wash them, have them inside out on cold, line dry and all that.

I get the freezer treatment but if you’ve bought a pair of jeans which has been pre-washed, lasered or ripped to within an inch of its life, throwing them in the washing machine on cold every now and then is the least of your worries.

My preference is to start with denim that’s unwashed or had minimal washing and no rips so they last for decades and you earn the wear the hard way.


 

Beauty is back in business…: Lovoir Beauty


We know a lot of you have been missing your beauty services, so we caught up with Teresa Sime from Lovoir Skin Body & Beauty, which recently celebrated its first birthday, to give you your much needed beauty world updates.

 

 

How did you spend your lockdown period? What were some of your beauty routines?

“Our staff have been upskilling during this period with online training; it’s been the perfect time for this with everyone having ample time on their hands. It has not all been work though. All this extra time made way for the usual house reorganising, family time, exercise and food!
“I incorporated soaking rituals from our organic skincare range into my normal highly active cosmeceuticals regime. I have absolutely loved it, not only for my skin but also my mind. I think now more than ever we could all do with some mindfulness and self-love included in our normal daily routines.”


Did you see or hear of any crazy quarantine beauty trends?
“I saw plenty of waxing fails with interesting results – they mostly looked painful and full of regret! We have also had plenty of messages from clients who could not resist having a go at their eyebrows. It is fair to say there’s a lot of fix up jobs to be tended to!”


What are some trending treatments that you’re offering?
“We utilise skin needling, LED, cryotherapy and infusion technology to create bespoke treatment plans for our clients. LED Light Therapy (Light Emitting Diodes) is one that we absolutely love. Originally the technology was developed for NASA. Scientists are learning more all the time about this amazing technology which uses specific light energy to stimulate different responses in the cells. For the beauty industry we use it for anti-ageing, reducing pigmentation, inflammation, healing the skin and effectively treating acne. I think that this technology will become a lot more widely used and utilised in the coming years for entire body anti-aging!”


Do the levels effect how your customers can come and see you?
“Now that we can open again we are doing everything that we can to keep Lovoir’s atmosphere the warm and inviting place that our clients love. We have sourced an amazing antimicrobial surface protectant, skin sanitiser and laundry treatment to ensure that every angle has been covered, whilst maintaining our pampering experience!”


 

Supporting tourism and hospitality: Peter Morrison


Peter Morrison is known as a guru of hospitality, or more formally as the President of Hospitality New Zealand – Canterbury, and senior member of the New Zealand Board. He is also World President of SKAL International, representing New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality sectors on the world stage and connecting tourism globally. Metropol caught up with Peter about how we can support our tourism and hospitality sectors moving forward.


How has lockdown been treating you Peter?

Yes, like everyone else it is very challenging in these such unprecedented times.


What are you most excited about post-lockdown?

To get my beloved hospitality and tourism industry back to being the number one export earner for New Zealand.

World tourism has taken a real beating and our Skal members world-wide are struggling.

Realistically this will take some time as we have been hurt the worst with social distancing, border closures and many more major issues putting big obstacles in our way.


You’ve long talked about the importance of community support for hospitality, what are some of the best ways we can look to support our tourism and hospitality businesses?

For hospitality venues – hotels, motels, backpackers, bars, restaurants and cafés – to survive, we are really going to need our local residents and domestic travellers to ‘come to the party’ and give us all the support they can possibly give.

This will apply to all retail shopping as well, not online!


What would you like to see coming through from Government level?

We are very appreciative of the Wage Subsidy that has been given; it is imperative that this is extended.

We are talking with Government to also give our industry priority.

We have been the worst industry affected and really been under siege.

In Australia the wage subsidy is for six months and small to medium businesses (SMBs) have been given between $20,000 and $100,000 to help with all the costs and overheads that still must be paid while businesses have been shut.


What advice would you give to businesses that are being hard hit during these challenges?

While we are aware how unprecedented this crisis is, we are together in sharing the immense challenge, change, sadness and uncertainty.

COVID-19 has been able to grip the world in a way we’ve not experienced before, but because of our connectedness, the tourism and hospitality industry’s strong ties are what will ensure that we will build our industry again – doing business amongst friends!


 

the voices of hope


When you are experiencing mental illness, it can often feel like there is no way out.

Metropol caught up with Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton from Voices of Hope to get their top tips for those who are struggling and to find out what resources are available.

 

Genevieve Mora (left) and Jazz Thornton (right)

 

Can you tell us a little bit about Voices of Hope and what your purpose is?
Gen: Voices of Hope was started by myself and Jazz in 2017. We wanted to create content that we wish we had had when we were unwell. When you are experiencing mental illness it can often feel like there is no way out, that this will be your reality forever. Voices of Hope aims to give hope to those struggling by sharing stories of those with lived experience. People who have been through it and are now well. We believe that sharing your struggles and successes allows others to feel safe to do the same.


How much harder is lockdown for those who are suffering from mental illness, whether it’s anorexia, depression or anxiety?
Jazz: Lockdown is really difficult for everyone, but especially those dealing with mental illness. It is mentally isolating, so adding physical isolation makes everything 10 times harder.


Is there some overall advice you could give to people who are suffering from mental illness during this time?
Gen: Be kind to yourself. We are facing a lot of uncertainty and change and with that can come heightened anxiety and struggles. Remind yourself that you are not alone in this, we are all facing this ‘new normal’ together and that it’s understandable that you are struggling a little more now perhaps. In saying that, make sure you reach out for help, tell those around you that you’re struggling and know that this will pass.


What are some of your best ways to keep happy and healthy during lockdown?
Jazz: Keep a routine. Go to bed and get up at a reasonable time. Keep a schedule as much as you can doing things you would usually do (showering, get changed, eat at normal times). Make sure you connect with people too because while we are physically isolated, we don’t have to be socially isolated. Reach out, get on facetime or zoom – you are not alone!


If there were some messages to get out to people who are suffering right now, what would they be?
Jazz: You are not a burden! Just because we are in a current world crisis doesn’t make your struggles any less valid or real. Don’t let it silence you, continue to speak up and ask for help.


What other resources do you recommend for people who are struggling?
Jazz: At Voices of Hope we are hosting online events three times a week to create some sense of community for those who need a boost. As well as this we have had many people blog for us on this topic.