Former MasterChef contestant Tanisha Kemp and her husband Hamish with baby Jordy and Charlie.

Wanting a forever home for her young family with a timeless look to match, MasterChef’s Tanisha Kemp turned to Jacqui Mitchell of Twill Interiors.


A tall pohutakawa stands sentry on the coastal Mt Maunganui corner Tanisha Kemp and her husband Hamish call home. “The tree is an emblem to Kiwis,” says interior designer Jacqui Mitchell of Twill Interiors. “For this newly finished home, it references the classic Mount bach.”

It’s not the only thing that’s classic in this exquisite home. Jacqui’s monochrome colour palette both creates a relaxing ambience and provides a canvas on which to layer lots of lovely texture, like the whitewashed bricks around the fireplace and the herringbone tiles in the kitchen.

For all its traditional touches, with chic pendants over the kitchen island and warm hues in the bedrooms, the home also feels thoroughly modern – and Jacqui herself has a similar appealing duality. She has her finger on the pulse, yet is serene and calmly knowledgeable.

“It’s not easy to describe your own style,” she says. “Much of what I do involves teaching people how to articulate their own taste so that in the future, they have the confidenceto furnish and decorate their homes themselves, but Tanisha and Hamish really knew what they wanted. It made the process of sourcing beautiful pieces and finishings for their new build very pleasurable and smooth.” 

Tanisha and Hamish dreamed of a home they could enjoy long-term as their children grew up. The design by architect Jon McAlpine of Thorne Group Architecture places the focus on family living, with the central open-plan zones connected to the deck and courtyard. The window seating with hidden storage in the living space is one of Thorne Group’s signature features – and the Kemps’ favourites. 

Meanwhile, the home’s stained cedar plywood and batten exterior is the work of builders Calley Homes. “We used cedar instead of the typical pine because it doesn’t expand and contract as much in a coastal environment with lots of sun, so there’s less movement,” says founder and builder Johnny Calley.

A Louvretec roof turns the courtyard into an outdoor room.

Most of the living and sleeping is housed on the ground floor, but there are a couple of cute surprises upstairs. Hamish’s office and a guest room have been tucked into the roof space, which has a sloped ceiling for a cosy feel. “We chose a muted green from Resene’s Karen Walker range for one of the children’s rooms, and a smoky tone for the master bedroom,” says Jacqui. “I can see the family loving life here for a very long time.” 

Twill Interiors director Jacqui Mitchell.

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