Our self-confessed white-obsessed columnist shares the creative thinking behind Landmark Homes Bay of Plenty’s new show home.

Photo Amanda Aitken

The design inspiration for our latest show home (see here) didn’t just happen overnight. The how-I-pulled-it-all-together story started long ago, and the creative sources were many. I had my own vision before I started looking, and it went from there.

Over quite a long period of time, I collected magazine clippings of things I liked, saved hundreds of images in an Instagram album and was pretty busy on Pinterest. 

My husband Logan and I meet and greet lots of industry reps, so I’d flick through their brochures on tapware and curtains, and put things I liked in a folder. Driving around identifying what you like about other houses is also a good idea to try. 

Sticking to the design plan is something I managed through keeping my ideas folders and inspiration boards close at hand. I’d flip through them constantly to make sure I didn’t veer off the style plan and could easily identify any piece that would complement the house. 

There was no doubt in my mind from the start that the show home would be white. For starters, it’s my favourite colour, plus white without any black touches hasn’t been done that widely in New Zealand yet and I felt it would go gangbusters. People are reacting to this look really well. I like white teamed with natural hues, but it’s also a fantastic blank canvas that makes other colours pop, if that’s what you prefer. In winter, you can bring in warmer colours in the form of throws and cushions, and even switch out your artwork. In summer, you could add aqua and turquoise to suit our coastal setting. 

That was the other thing – this house is in Omokoroa and close to the water, so a coastal theme made sense to me, with the inclusion of Hamptons and Scandi touches. White does that so well. I think it makes for a classy home.

On some things, you can’t compromise, so some DIY was necessary when I couldn’t get big white pots for my plants. I wanted palms dotted around the house and couldn’t find the right pots anywhere, so I bought nine bright blue ones and painted them. It was the same with the fence, which I felt had to have a lovely white-washed stain. People compliment me on that now, so I’m glad I stuck to my convictions. 

“No, that’s not possible” and “No, that’s not available” don’t have to stop you in your tracks. If you have a vision of something special that you want to include in your home, my advice is don’t listen to naysayers, as there’s often an alternative way to achieve what you want. 

Landmark Homes Bay of Plenty owners Logan and Carly Stewart and their latest show
home (above).

All the better, too, if you have good builders who are accommodating. I had my heart set on double mirrors with arched tops, back-lit to go above the double bowls on the ensuite vanity, and spent a lot of time unsuccessfully trawling to find ready-made ones. In the end, I drew what I wanted on paper and approached a local cut-glass company. Along with our electrician, they made them happen – and now they’re one of my favourite features.