Home & studio shoot for the NZIA Architecture Awards 2019


Lots of people over the years have popped into our Tennyson Street studio in central Napier to say hello, plan their wedding or make some memories in the studio. For almost a year now, the sign has been down and not everyone has realised we’ve moved to a purpose-built space in Bay View (10 minutes from Napier), as part of a pretty massive personal project to build our own home, incorporating a workspace for me and my little team. This came at a full-on time for me and my husband, Brad, as we were also building our family (job done now, thankfully, with Edward, 4 and James, 2) and Brad’s business, Turfrey, which specialises in construction sub-trades.

I’ve not done any architectural photography before as my passion lies in telling emotional stories based around people. But the opportunity to enter our home in the 2019 NZIA Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay Architecture awards provided a really good challenge to me to try something new. Thanks to some help from Andrew Caldwell (who works with me shooting weddings and is an outstanding architectural photographer), I created a set of images of our home that I was really proud of. They did the trick and caught the judges’ eye, and after a site visit, we were really chuffed to have our home and studio recognised at last week’s awards.

Although I’ve definitely retired from over-sharing my private life after a decade writing a syndicated newspaper column on exactly that topic, these photos and all the hard work that went into creating our home is something I felt was worth sharing.

We bought our coastal section almost 6 years ago now, and knew from the start that we wanted to invest in an architect who could help us create a future classic, and a space that would take us through all the changes ahead of us as a family. We found Nick Bevin (then at SLESSOR ARCHITECTS) after seeing another of his NZIA award-winning homes and he made a potentially intimidating process really easy (well, not nearly as hard as I imagined it would be!). Best of all, he educated us on how to use smart design to bring our young family together, so that we are close and connected while still being able to enjoy our own space when we want it.

We also wanted a home that presented some cool construction challenges for my husband, who stepped out from behind the desk and did most of the plumbing and roofing himself, with support from his amazing team and of course our truly wonderful builders, Ainsworth and Collinson. As sexy a he looked in blue overalls, I wasn’t too impressed by this DIY decision during wedding season when I was juggling a newborn, a toddler and a busy little business, but now that we are in our forever home, I’m so proud to look around and see so much of it was built by Brad. The roof (made of espan-340 aluminium from Metalcraft and featuring Canterbury Prickles across a 19-metre single span that wraps right around the house) is one of my favourite features. And it’s also cool that Andrew can come and go from the studio while I’m at the other end of the house being a mum and not even know he’s there ( I’m not sure the same can be said in reverse as two little boys can sound like 200 sometimes!).

From left: Brad Turfrey, Nick Bevin, me and Flint Collinson from Ainsworth and Collinson.

From left: Brad Turfrey, Nick Bevin, me and Flint Collinson from Ainsworth and Collinson.

To me, our home feels a bit like our third child. The conception and construction was so massive and so personal and what we have as a result of so much creativity and hard work is a space we will live and work in and love forever. We think Nick Bevin and our builders are pretty special people for helping us turn such a big dream into reality.

To see the other three awarded homes and read the judges’ citations, check out THIS NEWS STORY.