Through a different lense….

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A talented local photographer, Biance Brons recently took some photos of our Taranaki Suite, and guest lounge.

I just love them, the light, the way she captures the combination of character and modern elements that we created, the warmth of the environment….it is so lovely to see the House through different eyes.

Outdoor Shower

We fell in love with outdoor showers during our past few trips to Fire Island.  There is just something quite simple, but quite relaxing about being able to look up at the stars.

We are starting to hit the events season this year, and we thought having outdoor facilities would be a great addition (beats hiring a port-a-loo =)  Plus Ms. Weston doesn’t like cold water, so every day when she gets back from her walk in the park, or swim at the beach, we have to fill buckets with warm water and wash her off.  So a warm water tap outside would basically make our dog happy.

So in typical Rodney style, his can-do attitude and amazing work ethic meant that this quaint and amazing outdoor sink, toilet and shower were created in after-work hours in just one week.  He put the final finishing touches on it about 1 hour before our first event.

Well done babe!  A great addition to the House.

Goosebumps

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The Excitement Never Ends
Tell us about the last thing you got excited about — butterflies-in-the-stomach, giggling, can’t-wait excited.

We hosted a wedding for friends and 60 of their guests here at the House in February.  It was over a year in the making, and the bride and groom were so creative in their choices and worked hard to transform our garden into a beautiful event space.

It meant so much to us to help them get every detail right.  The lighting and staging guys arrived a few days early to set up.  That night, when we turned the lights on for the first time, and saw our garden completely transformed, I got so excited it felt like Christmas morning.

I just couldn’t wait for the bride and groom to see it.  It was magical – and the event was perfect in every way.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

These are images from the Deck the Rooms open house benefiting Taranaki Women’s Refuge.

We spent Saturday opening the doors of Hosking House to over 1,000 people.  So many of which took the time to talk to us, and tell us their kind thoughts of the House and decorations.  We heard stories of people coming to the House when they were children, or knowing previous owners.  So many were delighted to see the rooms, and gardens and were seeing the House for the first time.

I truly felt like it was Christmas morning from the time we started decorating on Friday morning, to receiving such amazing flowers from Nicci Goodin, straight through until we closed the doors on Saturday evening.  It was a magical experience.  One I will never forget.

Seeing the House looking so beautiful, filled with happy people and knowing we were helping to raise money for such a worthy local cause were the true expression of the beauty and spirit of the Christmas season for me.

Wishing you all the joy, beauty and spirit of the season.  From our House, to yours.

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The kitchen has been humming along lately – we’re getting the breakfast routine down.  It feels like quite the achievement to have fed 6 people breakfast on a Saturday morning before the time we’d normally be waking up.

As much as I’d love to have a sleek modern kitchen with clear surfaces, the reality is, is that we live in a old-style villa, and that I use a kitchen like a cook (mis en place and many things going at once,) and that we cook a lot.

I need utensils and pots to-hand, and dislike having to put things away only to have to take them out again right away.  I am a huge fan of exposed shelves, with ingredients and tools out to inspire and remind me of possibilities.  I loved reading about Julia Child’s focus on function and comfort that she used when designing her kitchen.

On top of guest breakfasts we cook at home about 6 nights a week.  My London days were about the reverse – with take out sushi, nights at the pub, and beautiful meals out as the norm.  Now, my cook books are getting much use (I am in love with Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and I’ve become quite precious and protective of my one night out a week.

We were storing our pots and pans in the cupboards of a center island bench.  So each morning for breakfast we were bending over and rearranging them to get to just the right egg pan, or grill pan for sausage.  We saw a great pot rack in a local Freedom store and it gave us the idea for this.  Rodney whipped it up in barely a day and used a lovely old piece of wood.

It’s a lovely little addition to the kitchen, and the man shed has earned another week.

Week Twelve

DSC_0215Back to the story of the “Making of Hosking House”…..

When we last left off, we were finishing the construction and starting to get our heads around budgets and for me the next stage was – DECORATING.

This has been an amazing journey.  I have never undertaken construction in a home I’ve lived in, nor had to decorate a home for business purposes.  Add to that living in a new city, in a new country, not knowing where to shop and you get a good idea of the frenzy I’d worked myself into.
I kept going to places that I liked, picking up the price tags, sighing and walking back out.  We needed to create a luxurious, modern, traditional, elegant, accessible space that appealed to male and female domestic and international travelers.  Just reading that sentence made me want to sink into a deep chair with a lovely pour of red wine.

I was lost.  I had a clear vision in my mind of the finished product….but couldn’t figure out how to start.
Until we met Megan.

One weekend we went to see a show home of a local builder in the Bell Block neighborhood.  One walk through was all it took and I knew the interior designer was some one with true talent and a clear, bold and beautiful vision.  We talked to the owners, and they commented on how lovely she was to work with, that they were able to bring their ideas to her for a true collaboration of ideas and how creative she was.

So with my goals in mind, ‘small business’ pressures, and after weeks of being surrounded by a male partner, male builders, electricians, plumbers, gib stoppers…lots of male opinions, I met with Megan Ekdahl, Interior Designer.

Megan came to see 1 Victoria Road, and we were met with the same excitement and energy that we encountered from our other partners and suppliers.  She loved the bones of the house, our vision for a clean neutral palette, and understood our small business needs.  Megan confirmed our choices, challenged us with new design elements, and introduced us to linens, furniture lines and stores we could never have found.

I came back from meeting with her in her amazing studio, literally with tears of joy (and connecting with my girly side.)  I was so happy to be done with the sawdust, build, and construction and happy to start decorating.

Life lesson that I’ve always needed to learn – to ask for help.   Well, learned.

Week Eleven

At this point the major construction was winding up.  The plumbing was in, electricians putting the final plugs in and the jib was nearly finished.  It was time to start putting in the decorative touches.

Our major goal in creating the ensuites that needed to go into each room was to ensure they did not block the light coming into the rooms.  We love rooms with lots of natural light, and were blessed that the rooms all had beautiful large windows.  Our problem was that where we had to create some of the ensuites was directly in front of some of the largest windows.

When we described our goal to the draftsman, he almost immediately came up with the idea of creating open ‘louvers’ to separate the bathrooms from the bedrooms.  They would allow light in, but still give a lot of privacy.  The best thing is that they would give us some texture with the natural wood and were a chance for Rod to be a bit creative building them.

This was definitely a time where we had to trust our gut, and overall vision for the space.  Who knew truly what the final finish would look like?  But as the wood arrived, Rod worked his magic,d we began to see how beautiful they were – and how such a hand crafted feature would be a perfect addition to the rooms.

Now installed they add a rich texture and finish.  They are unique, and functional – and truly a custom part of Hosking House.