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burlap pillow cover diy In Wellington a 1900s heritage home is full of light, life and love - sofa pillow covers

A clever reconfiguration, embracing imperfections and lots of white paint transformed this historic Wellington house into a dream home for this busy family of seven

Matt Christie (manager at IBM), Sarah Christie and kids Boston, 14, Baker, 12, Anabelle, 8burlap pillow cover diy, Bridie, 6, and Paddy, 3, plus Kybi the Labrador, Oreo the cat and Mr Bunny the giant rabbit.

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Words by: Sharon Stephenson. Photography by: Nicola Edmonds.


Despite having five children under 15, Sarah has the sort of relaxed attitude to interior design that has allowed her to renovate her Kelburn home in various shades of white, cream and beige.


Downstairs, the first things to go were several walls, which allowed Sarah and Matt to reconfigure the space to incorporate a living room, dining area, kitchen and additional family room where slouchy, oversized sofas add to the relaxed vibe.


Sarah opted for grey subway tiles for the kitchen splashback because they pick up on the colour of the building’s original sarking, which has been left exposed on the opposite wall.


The two striking painted wooden artworks in the family room and dining room started life as headboards in China. They came from Redcurrent and are apparently meant to bring good luck.


Sarah had a bit of a challenge getting the builders to install full-length windows in the kitchen and family room, but fortunately she won and the result is a light-filled space that provides sweeping views across Kelburn’s hills.


The original?chandelier was moved from the entrance to the dining room.


The vintage French kitchen island, which Sarah bought in Martinborough, is the beating heart of this home and it’s not unusual to find 15 kids clustered around it after school.


The built-in seating opposite the kitchen island provides extra seating for when the kids have their friends over and also provides excellent space for toy and book storage underneath.


The wooden floors throughout the 270-square-metre home are the original matai boards, liberated from layers of manky carpet.


“I love the vintage Scandinavian look, which combines a modern aesthetic with vintage items and fabrics such as raw linen,” says Sarah.


Gorgeous old furniture and reclaimed pieces fill the house with character.


Sarah and daughter Anabelle, 8, relax on the gorgeous linen covered ECC furniture couch she absolutely “had to have!”


“I’m not a fan of perfect surfaces. Imperfections add character,” says Sarah.


Designed by prominent architect William Gray Young in the 1900s, the two-storey home looks nothing like it did when Sarah and husband Matt first set eyes on it in 2014.


Sarah is a fan of vintage scales and the proud owner of several; a large specimen, and one of her favourites, stands in the entrance hall.


By reworking the bedroom configuration upstairs, the Christies achieved ample space for each child.


Anabelle and Bridie enjoy spending time in their rooms, as does pet rabbit Mr Bunny.


Not being a fan of built-in cupboards, mum Sarah loves scouring secondhand and vintage stores for freestanding storage.


The open bathroom leading from the master bedroom – with a claw-foot bath and views over Kelburn Valley – is Sarah and Matt’s private haven.


In a big family, bathrooms are important. The main upstairs bathroom is for the children.


The entire space was doused in litres of Resene ‘Bianca’ for the walls and Resene ‘Alabaster’ for the trims, to create a light-filled, airy, welcoming feel.


Sarah bought the painting above the bed but removed the frame as she prefers the more organic look of the bare canvas.


The renovations have made this huge heritage home perfect for the busy family of seven.


The exterior weatherboards are painted in Resene ‘Foggy Grey’.


Photography by?Nicola Edmonds.

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