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The living is easy - NZ House & Garden #161

The living is easy

NZ House & Garden #161

Summer time, and the living is … all about the outdoors, so in its first issue for 2008, NZ House & Garden features homes that are firmly focused on soaking up the sun and enjoying the views.

Two very different houses near Wellington reveal New Zealand’s diverse summertime environments. On the Kapiti Coast Shona and Bruce Moller’s home is just a boardwalk away from the beach, and even has an old P-class dinghy embedded in one wall. Around in Lowry Bay, in Wellington Harbour, Andrew and Sue Bascand have escaped from London’s rat-race to a microclimate in which they grow citrus, olives and hibiscus. With a bush-clad hill just behind, nature comes down into the garden in the form of an abundance of wood pigeons, bellbirds and tui.

Up in Taupo, it’s yet another take on summertime. For more than a decade Peter Jarvis’ Acacia Bay, Taupo, home gave his family a perfect holiday destination, but the 0.8ha section was left to the blackberries and untamed grass. Three years ago Peter took up fulltime residence and threw himself into reclaiming the section. Now the lakeside land is not only a much-loved home, but also a backdrop to Peter’s extensive collection of art and sculptures.

Summer gardens in Canterbury are different yet again – especially for gardeners who have fond childhood memories of England’s Sherwood Forest. Elizabeth Jenkin’s Okuti Valley home has a Welsh slate roof and is surrounded by lupins, climbing roses, cherry trees, alders astelias and a wisteria-covered pergola – every inch the quintessential English cottage garden.

Just as English is the summer institution of the picnic and, to quote the wise words of Miss Piggy (“Never eat more than you can lift”) Jo Wilcox unpacks a lakeside picnic feast – complete with Strawberry Cheesecake Slice.

With New Zealand’s emphasis on seaside leisure, NZ House & Garden also offers up suggestions for those with a creative bent stemming from shellfish – for décor as well as dining. From home-made shell candles to Mixed Grilled Shellfish with Wasabi and Lime Butter, soak up the ideas on how to make the most of molluscs.

Just because the outdoors are inviting, however, it’s no reason to neglect the indoors. And with the thought of New Year in mind NZ House & Garden advances the water theme by looking at new ideas on how to design stylish laundries and bathrooms. One bathroom even opens out to make the most of the bush and river view.

And for those with a little time on your hands thanks to the holiday spirit, NZ House & Garden suggests ways to keep you and your family entertained. Highlights like a florist-café in Auckland’s Eden Terrace, to a rock concert in Wellington, an antiques and retro extravaganza in Nelson and a vintage clothing boutique in Dunedin, are just some of the fascinating things to see and do in our summer months.

The January 2008 issue of NZ House & Garden is on sale from Monday 17 December.


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