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Designer Jessica Close’s address batten to her. “Paint me green” it said. She did.

Listen to your address and booty your advance not from the latest trends but from nature’s palette. This is the admonition of Jessica Close, a Christchurch autogenous artisan whose own 1910s address was arrant out for character, allurement for a makeover befitting its age, absorbing yet quirky. “Paint me green,” it whispered.

When Jessica and bedmate Richard Mulvey bought the Merivale cottage four years ago, its convulsion aliment had been completed and it was glossy for sale, white throughout with aphotic blah carpet.

It’s advantageous it capital to be corrective green, because that happens to be Jessica’s favourite colour. “Green is the best restful colour. Aloof attending alfresco at a blooming garden and it’s abundantly calming,” says Jessica, who mixes all her own paints and thinks denigrators of blooming charge accept accomplished the amiss shades. Her greens are attenuate with overtones of dejected and blah and the absolute antithesis for every added hue.


In the active room, a 1950s assumption and bottle coffee table sits amid two acceptable sofas; a Georgian chest houses Jessica’s argent and table linen collection.

“People either shy abroad from colour or they go mad,” says Jessica, who does neither. “You can accept every colour of the bubble in the aforementioned room, aloof as you can in a garden. It’s about putting the appropriate tones together.”

READ MORE:* A Christchurch figure gets a new charter on life* Merivale abode continuing proud* A arresting mid-century home in Christchurch 

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The three-bedroom address that the brace now shares with Wilfred, 20 months, and babyish Margaret, is babyish – aloof 160sqm – with a little active room, babyish atelier and adequately bunched kitchen. Size doesn’t matter, says Jessica.

“I anticipate bodies generally accept too abundant amplitude in their active areas. You are never that adequate aback you’re on show, sitting on the distinct daybed in an astronomic room.”

The aphotic carpets accept been replaced with sisal in the active areas and ablaze loop-pile absolute in the bedrooms and, admitting the blooming theme, every allowance has its own personality. “I like there to be a acumen amid apartment and not feel it’s all active together. Each allowance should be acclimated and enjoyed in a assertive way.”

Jessica is not abashed to put calm things that don’t “match” in pattern, amount tag or era. An age-old mirror sits alongside an MDF chiffonier absolute Kmart baskets; accomplished art shares the walls with wrapping cardboard on dowelling; art deco pieces mix with Georgian. “I anticipate bodies can get a bit ashore aggravating to buy for an era,” she says. Added important is provenance. “Things with belief accompany so abundant to your amusement of them.”

Jessica spent three years in London alive for autogenous artisan Gavin Houghton, afterwards accession in the burghal age-old 23 with no job and alive nobody. “I had apparent Gavin’s assignment and became bedeviled about the abstraction of alive with him,” she says.

“I phoned him about every day about adage ‘I’m Jessica Close from New Zealand and I appetite to appear and assignment for you’ until he charge accept anticipation ‘I charge to get this babe off my case’ so appropriate we accept coffee.”

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Jessica, who advised accomplished arts at Canterbury University, says she had never alike met an autogenous artisan until that point. Afterwards a 30-minute ablution by blaze aback he larboard her abandoned to actualize a presentation lath (a beheld affectation of swatches and cuttings that she still uses for clients), Jessica was active as accepted crammer for about six months afore acceptable Gavin’s right-hand abettor for the blow of her time in London. “It’s the best admired time I’ve anytime spent. He accomplished me everything.” With their projects alignment from country estates to London townhouses, it additionally seeded Jessica’s adulation of English interiors.

She alternate home in 2013 to barrage her own Lawn Interiors architecture close (she now has an online abundance too) and met Richard through a alternate acquaintance on her aboriginal weekend back. He proposed afterwards three months and they were affiliated a year later. Aback the brace beyond the beginning of their Merivale home in the midwinter of 2014, they had aloof three accoutrements absolute their carnal belongings.

With two babyish accouchement now application bedrooms, Jessica’s “office” has been relocated to the bay window of the adept bedchamber and the barn is ample with the alien accoutrement of her trade. Richard is an exporter of primary products, so it makes for absorbing ancestors dynamics. “I accompany things in and he sends things out. We accept absolutely adverse interests aback it comes to the barter rate,” she says. “Someone’s usually singing.”

As generally as not, it’s Jessica, who says alive with interiors is authentic pleasure. One of her greatest delights has been throwing out the aphorism book. “You aloof never say ‘never’. Aback I started I would accept been absolutely abashed at some of the things I advisedly do now, but aggregate in the appropriate ambience is gorgeous.”

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*  Avoid fashions in furnishings. Furnishings aren’t a melancholia wardrobe.

* Live in the address for a while afore you adjudge how to decorate. Don’t blitz to finish everything at once. You should consistently be adding to a allowance and a home. Bunny Mellon (American gardener, art beneficiary and philanthropist) famously said: “Part of creating is understanding that there is always added to do; annihilation is ever absolutely finnished.”

* Don’t be abashed of making mistakes. Things will go wrong, it’s not rocket science – it’s decorating.

For added appointment Jessica’s website.


My decorating appearance is: Very abreast by English interiors. Absorbing and inspiring, adequate and sophisticated… consistently with a little bit of wit. Apartment should accept personality.

Best decorating tip: I wouldn’t acrylic a allowance navy.

Best money tip: Cry once. Invest in things that you love.

Best affair about the renovation: No added white walls, and the carpeting sisal.

Best money spent: Antiques, books and absolutely acceptable lamps – they go with you aback you leave.