Tuesday 28th May 2024
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Room with a view best in country

Angela relaxes at home in her winning conservatory. Photos Wayne Martin

Rural Living contributor ANGELA KEMP found herself in the news after being named supreme winner in the NZ House and Gardens Interior of the Year competition. By bringing the outside in she created a green oasis in her rural home.

Nobody could have been more surprised than Angela when her name was announced as this year’s winner of the country’s prestigious interior design competition run by NZ House and Gardens.

She still finds it hard to believe her small conservatory caught the judges’ eye.

True it’s not on a grand scale, contains just a couple of wicker chairs and a coffee table in the way of furniture – well, that’s Angela’s modest assessment – but it’s packed with a heck of a lot of plants.

“The plants are the thing. I took inspiration from the Wintergardens at Auckland Domain and set out to create an exotic sanctuary where we could relax and read especially on a stormy day,” she said.

Angela, and husband Geoff, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland, had the conservatory built when they moved to their Pukekawa villa five years ago.

“It had always been my dream to have a conservatory and it’s the favourite room in the house especially over winter when it’s full of orchids, palms, bromeliads, ferns and anything else I can squeeze in,” she says.

“There is a stone water feature which is a focal point and a colourful rug I bought at Trade Aid in Pukekohe which seemed to impress.”

And, that might be a bit of an understatement as the judges applauded Angela’s originality and creativity describing the room as, “truly a world apart”.

Angela entered her room in the ‘out of the ordinary’ category whose finalists included another Franklin resident, Mark Eisig of Hunua.

Mark’s entry was a 100-year-old railway worker’s hut he moved onto his farm which he rents out for a “glamping” experience. Judges called it “a tiny, perfectly formed space. Mark has created an adults’ playhouse; a bolt-hole for a fun weekend”.

But it was Angela who beat all-comers including the winners of the living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and indoor/outdoor categories to carry off the supreme award.

She won a luxury stay at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Northland and a $1000 cash prize but says she is most pleased to have received the winners’ trophies made by Canterbury glass artist, Lorraine Natusch.

“The trophies are glass houses, one in a colour called rhubarb which looks peach in natural light but transforms to a glorious lime green under certain light. The other is pink which also magically changes colour.

“Lorraine couldn’t have known it at the time, but she was making glass houses for a glass house winner and that gives me the biggest thrill of all.”

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