“We decided to buy a farm upon finding out we were having a third boy. We thought it would be good for them to have lots of space to run around,” says designer, Kate Festa, from Rochele Decorating. “Neither myself or my husband have a farm background, but we both love to learn new things. We are now the proud owners of sheep, chickens and pigs and in the not too distant future cows!”
Working as an interior designer, with a knack for creating interiors that boast an eclectic and contemporary edge, Kate wanted to renovate the farmhouse in a way that was luxurious, yet still practical with three small boys. “I knew I wanted to inject lots of colour and pattern, as before the renovation the farmhouse felt quite dark. It was also confusing with many small rooms, so we knocked out a couple of walls to create an open plan kitchen/living and dining area,” says Kate. “I selected an off-white (Resene Half Thorndon Cream) for the walls to lighten and brighten the place up but also so that the beautiful original wide board, dark timber floors would be highlighted.”
The home only had one bathroom which could only be accessed from outside, coming off the rear porch – completely impractical with small kids wanting to use the bathroom at night. Given that the house can accommodate ten people, it required a second bathroom. “We ended up creating an ensuite by closing off half of an existing sleep out and changed the access to the main bathroom. The ensuite is now one of the most spectacular rooms in the home, with a stunning copper bath, sourced from Texas in the United States, as its centrepiece, perfectly accented by the beautiful feature wallpaper.
“When the sun comes through the window and hits the copper bath, it lights up the wallpaper to make it look like a bushfire,” says Kate of her favourite space. “It’s very appropriate for the location!”.
I had the idea that I wanted a copper bath in the ensuite as I love the way copper ages and I thought it would be a stand out feature. They are difficult to source though – I ended up importing one from Texas in the United States.”
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Kate has used a Zepel outdoor fabric on the custom sofas for a practical purpose. “Three boys in the country bring with them a lot of dirt and grass so I figured this would make me less cautious with them on the sofa. We also intend to Air BnB the home down the track, so this will make it practical with guests using the home.”
The wallpapers selected for the bathroom and ensuite draw on flora and fauna surrounding the home, while the brightly coloured custom made bedheads and eclectic use of patterns in the bedrooms reflect Sam and Kate’s attitude towards the home which, they both say, is their “happy place.”
The remoteness proved a challenge, as Sam and Kate had to use unfamiliar local trades instead of trades that they typically align themselves with through their business, Rochele Decorating, due to the travel time. “They were all excellent though, with fantastic attention to detail. By pure coincidence, the builder turned out to be the grandson of one of the previous owners of the house, and he remembered the home from his childhood.”
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Downs