Home Shows & Expos: Get the most out of your visit.

Auckland Home Show

Whether you’re renovating, ready to purchase a big ticket item or just looking for inspiration, home shows and expos are a fantastic place to get expert advice and great deals.

This week, thousands have flocked to the iconic Auckland Home Show. If you’re planning to catch the last couple of days this weekend, here are a few product highlights and some tips to help you get the most out of your visit.

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1. Do your research

Knowing who will be exhibiting before hand is very helpful, especially if you have something particular in mind you want to see.  An exhibitor directory and show specials are all listed on the Auckland Home Show website . Take a look before you go and make a list of what you want to see and the stand number so you don’t miss anything. With over 500 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and trends, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

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2. Parking & crowds

If you can’t find anyone to drop you off & pick you up, be prepared to wait in lines for parking. Don’t forget cash. You’ll need it for venue parking. There is a cash machine on site and most vendors have eftpos, but for small purchases and buying lunch, cash will save you time and hassle.

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3. Do a ‘warm up’ lap.

When you arrive, get your bearings by doing a walkthrough of the expo. Take note of the stands you want to revisit on the second time round. It’s also a good way to identify stands selling the same or similar products.

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4. Ask questions. Ask for demos.

That’s what they’re there for. If you find a product that you’re interested in, ask questions and get as much info as you can. Exhibitors are more than happy to give demos and many will have info or even samples to take away with you.


5. Be inspired. Get snap happy.

One of the highlights is the designer living pavilion and landscape areas where many of the stands are set up as rooms and living areas to help you visualise how things can be put together. Have your camera handy to take snaps of displays and products that spark your imagination and give you some inspiration.

The Auckland Home Show runs until this Sunday 13 September, so don’t miss out. Visit their website or facebook page to find out more

One man’s trash: unique ‘recycled’ homes…

‘One man’s trash, another man’s treasure’. That saying couldn’t be more true when it comes to these houses. All are made (or decorated) using salvaged or recycled materials. Would it inspire you to build something as interesting and unique as these?…..

1. The Beer Can House


Photo credit: “Beer Can House” by Andrew Wiseman

What started out in 1968 as a project for John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, The Beer Can House is now a folk art house in Rice Military, Houston, Texas,covered with beer cans, bottles, and other beer paraphernalia. www.beercanhouse.org 

2. Horace Burgess’s Treehouse

Photo by Joelk75

In 1993, after a visionary commandment from god, Horace Burgess, using tons of reclaimed wood, began construction of his 10 story treehouse. Unofficially the worlds largest treehouse, the structure was closed to the public in 2012, as it had become a public attraction, but did not follow fire safety codes.

3. The Paper House

Paper House OutsidePaper House Inside

You guessed it. An actual house made from newspapers. Built by Mr. Elis F. Stenman, a mechanical engineer who designed the machines that make paper clips, began building his Rockport summer home out of paper as a hobby in 1922. Not only is the house made of paper, but much of the furniture as well. paperhouserockport.com

4. The Tombstone House

Constructed from the tombstones of Union soldiers, if you’re the superstitious type, this home in Petersburg Virginia USA probably wouldn’t be for you, because it would be haunted for sure! In an apparent cost-cutting exercise by the Poplar Grove Cemetery,almost 2000 marble headstones were removed and sold to Mr. O.E. Young who built the 2 storey house.

5. The Scrap House

The Scrap House

Photo by Cesar Rubio Photography via Scrap House.

Although only temporary, The Scrap House was a rather stunning building. Constructed on Civic Center Plaza in front of San Francisco City Hall for World Environment Day in 2005, using only scrap and salvaged materials. srcaphouse.org

6.The Junk Castle
The Junk Castle

The Junk Castle is a magical little building, built by former art teacher Victor Moore and his wife Bobbie in a defunct rock quarry in Washington State. It is constructed from many salvaged materials found at a local junkyard and around the site itself, all for just $500!

7. Villa Welpeloo

Villa WelpelooConstructed in 2005 by Superuse Studios, Villa Welpeloo is a house and art studio in the Netherlands. 60% house is made up of from materials salvaged from the local area. The main structure is made out of steel profiles that previously made up a machine for textile production, an industry once very important in the region. One of these machines gave us enough steel to construct the whole villa. SuperuseStudios.com

8. The Glass Window House

Quit your job, move to the country and build the home of your dreams. Sound like bit of a fantasy? Well, young artists Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz did exactly that. And their dream home is built out of salvaged window frames! Quite beautiful don’t you think?….

Rekindle: The object of my affection.

From the moment I set eyes on it on The Block NZ last year, I was in love. Yes, it just knew it had to be mine.

rekindle table

Unfortunately, my living situation at the time (read: living with the in-laws) meant that there was no way I was getting my hands on that dinning room table anytime soon.

I was sure I’d heard it was made out of recycled timber from Christchurch. Resigned to the fact that I could not have it immediately, I decided to torture myself even further by tracking it down and ogling it online.

What I discovered was that there was a whole lot more to love about this table than just it’s good looks.

One beautiful piece at a time:

Rekindle is the social enterprise that is responsible for not only making the dinning table I love, but also other fantastic pieces of furniture, jewellery, art and other useful objects, all out of waste wood.

Their mission is to support communities to fully utilise their waste wood, develop employment opportunities and enable youth to gain real and transferable work skills.

It’s hard not to be inspired by the vision being pushed by founder and occupational therapist Juliet Arnott. Her belief that participation, especially for young people, in a meaningful work role has the potential to transform lives.

What better place to set up their first workshop than in Christchurch, where the team has worked to intercept as much of the reusable timber as they could from earthquake-damaged homes in the area.

rekindle products

The one of a kind pieces are not only beautiful but demonstrate the ongoing value of the materials used, bringing new life and function to what otherwise would have ended up on the scrap heap.

Whole House Reuse

Whole House Reuse: Rethinking what waste is.

In a symbolic act of respect to the thousands of homes demolished in Christchurch and to highlight just how much can be done to recycle the materials for future use, Rekindle, with support from the Sustainable Initiative Fund (SIFT) launched the Whole House Reuse.

The project involves salvaging one whole house that was due for demolition and turning it into an array of purposeful works and items across different creative disciplines such as: art, design, craft and micro-architecture.

19 Admirals Way: 

The deconstruction of 19 Admirals Way occurred over seven days in late August and early September 2013. A crew of professional salvagers pulled apart the house by hand, and a team of volunteers worked to load the materials onto trailers and ferry them into storage.

19 Admirals Wayssalvage work

From the salvage, 480 material listings were recorded in a Catalouge of Resources that is now being presented to the creative community of New Zealand within a book: Whole House Reuse – Deconstruction.  As we’ll as the materials catalogue, the book tells the story of the project so far with written and photographic documentation on the salvage work.

Whole House Reuse Book

It’s been a very busy few months for  project director Kate McIntyre with the launch of the book and a new website. I asked her a few questions about how the project was coming along and some of the surprises along the way so far:

1. What stage is the project up to now? What is the next step?

We are now in the Design stage of the project – which is when the creative community of Aotearoa/NZ become involved. Following that is the Reuse stage. This is basically when the works that result from the design stage are showcased, and the whole story of the project is outlaid for the public to experience. After this exhibition period, the works that have either found a home through the exhibition process, or were made with a specific community use in mind will be put to use again.

2. What has surprised you most about the project so far?

Two things – the hugely enthusiastic response the project illicits from such a huge range of people. I think this is because of the empowering nature of it – the fact that it is giving people a chance to engage and do something about a problem that they have felt so much frustration about – the senseless waste generated through demolition.

And the other thing – I knew that I didn’t know how much work was involved to fully deconstruct a simple home, but I still felt blown away. Even more than the act of deconstruction, just the transporting of the materials from one place to another could have benefited from a small army. It just goes to show how substantial just one home really is.

4. What is your favourite thing that has been created and sold in the rekindle store?

I really love the chairs. I think specifically for the way they speak directly of the value of the materials through practical function, and how they show that the story of those materials still continues.

If you want to keep up to date with the progress of the Whole House Reuse project, or you would like to get involved in the design stage, visit their new website www.wholehousereuse.co.nz. for all the information. I can’t wait to see what is created.

Seeing as I still don’t have my own dinning room, I haven’t managed to acquire that dinning room table yet! Thankfully there’s plenty of other little treats in the Rekindle store to keep me happy. Let me know what your favourite Rekindle piece is on our facebook page.

For sale: one clever, beautiful, award winning home/studio

Open2view ID288906 - William Denny Ave 24A

There is much talk in Auckland at present about land supply and the housing shortage. If everyone took a leaf out of Liz Sharek’s book, however, these issues would quickly resolve themselves.

The UK-born artist (check out her work here) has lived in Westmere for the last eleven years in a home she and award-winning architect Andrew Lister designed back in 2001. Lister’s job, alongside Warren Adolph of Warren & Adolph Construction, was to build a house that fitted Liz’s character while simultaneously fitting into a 15 metre wide section. No mean feat.


Some glass rabbits out and about at Auckland Domain. Liz’s art ranges from the stunningly beautiful to the sublimely quirky.

And yet it works perfectly. The long, narrow 200 square metre house-slash-glass studio still feels incredibly roomy thanks to a combination of open plan living, a large deck, a skylight in the bathroom and bifold windows that open up onto the garden. For his work Lister received a New Zealand Architecture Award in 2003, and the house itself has graced the pages of many a magazine.

Liz has put the 12 year old house up for sale and Open2view were privileged to shoot the photographs. I asked Liz if she was feeling any sense of loss now she was moving on.

“Oh! Yes!” was her adamant response. “This is a pretty special place and a great community. But I’m ready for a new adventure and something has to give!”

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A recent House & Garden article talked of Liz’s plan to one day buy some land in Matakana and open her own ‘Huttenpalast’. Liz stayed at one in Berlin last year; she described it as “an indoors “glamping” [glamour camping] experience with caravans and huts as designer sleeping quarters all inside a vacuum cleaner factory.”

So is her dream about to come to fruition? Maybe by next summer, she says. “[There’s] no old vacuum cleaner factories in Matakana but part of the plan is to develop a homestay/B&B experience loosely based on this kind of thing which, I think, would go down a treat in New Zealand with our love of retro caravans and camping.” In the meantime Liz is looking forward to experiencing “some country living with more space to develop a garden, grow veggies, that kind of thing.”

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Making the most of space has clearly not been an issue for Liz in the past, as her unique house demonstrates. Liz says she could not have done it without Andrew Lister’s skills.

“It was his vision and interpretation of my brief which created this home and which changed very little over the build period. The way the property sits on this smallish inner city section and its use of the “borrowed landscape” to give visual space and light is genius.”

“Andrew has an exceptional eye for detail and the innovative use of materials and textures on the exterior; his use of glass and reflective surfaces throughout the house’s interior lends a lightness and complexity to the spaces and forms of the house.

“I just had the fun stuff to do like choosing the tapware and lighting!”

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In their award citation, the NZIA described the house as “an extraordinary synthesis in which architect and client seem to have drawn more from the other than each expected, creating an engaging whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts.”

She was so pleased with his work that Liz has enlisted him to design her new house. Like her old place, the Matakana home will reflect her offbeat artistic style.

“It sits beautifully on the land but has a very similar aesthetic,” she says. It will feature floor to ceiling glass windows looking down the valley in quite an austere shell, softened by the use of cedar cladding. “And as if to demonstrate her aptitude for utilising space, she adds that “The studio space/glamping spot is under the house as a self-contained unit.”

Her award-winning Westmere spot is available right now. Check out our other photos, and floor plans, on the Open2view website; if you’d like to see it in person there are open homes this Saturday and Sunday from 12-12.30pm. (UPDATE: There will be another open home on Sunday 28 April at 12pm) (UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: no there won’t – it’s been sold!) 

Get in quick – it is a stunning, yet very practical, work of art.

Home is where the art is: Jane Evans’ cottage of colour

Jane Evans' house Open2view

Open2view photographs thousands of great homes for sale every year. Recently our Nelson team got to photograph a particularly special cottage. 41 Russell Street, Stepneyville was home for 27 years to one of New Zealand’s most colourful, successful artists.

Jane Evans (1946-2012) spent almost her entire lifetime painting. She won her first art competition at 15 and held her first of more than 60 solo exhibitions all the way back in 1965.

Jane Evans

Jane Evans

It was not an easy life. From her teenage years Evans suffered chronic cases of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and was under strict orders to avoid direct sunlight as much as possible. Through her art, however, she could instead bring nature’s vibrancy to her. If looking to describe Jane Evans’ style in one word, this non-arty guy would just say ‘colour’.

This more authoritative description comes from Wild Tomato magazine:

Often home for long periods due to ill health, she began to paint the flowers and colours of her garden. This bold, bright artwork quickly became her signature, although it was often considered precocious as colour was just beginning to emerge, replacing the earthy tones of landscape painting at the time. She still draws on those earlier roots in her more contemporary work.

Jane Evans house Open2view 2

Inside, and out, Jane Evans’ house provided ample shade and natural light while avoiding the harmful effects of direct sunlight.

Friends spoke of her as someone who never complained about her ailments and always looked for the bright side in everything – a bright side that shone through her work, and the cottage where she lived for 27 years.

The story of her house dates all the way back to 1878. It was built originally for Captain Vickerman, a notable seaman in Nelson’s early history. When he wasn’t at sea he would spend his time looking at the sea through a telescope on his property. It would be fair to say that Captain Vickerman liked the sea.

Vickerman was a mate on the Charles Edward before being promoted to captain of the Murray. Vickerman was a popular captain: the West Coast Times declared that this promotion “will give general satisfaction to traders here, as he has always been found courteous and obliging in the discharge of his duties.”

Vickerman captained the Murray for many years. One of his most important missions was transporting budding young scientist Ernest Rutherford, his family and all their belongings to the North Island – including horses, flax milling machinery, timber and trillions of atoms for Ernest to play with.

Captain Vickerman’s land base had served him well, but when Jane Evans purchased it in 1985 wholesale changes were inevitable. Not least because the weatherboard was rotting, but an artist of Evans’ style was always going to put her own mark on anything she owns.

With the help of prominent Wellington architect Ian Athfield they set about transforming it into a Mediterranean style home and studio – reminiscent of what she saw when travelling as a young woman. And, of course, she filled it to the very top with colour.

Jane Evans house Open2view 4

The interior is as colourful as the outside, thanks to Jane Evans’ eye for fashion and plenty of examples of her work.

The house is unique for another reason: according to an NZ House & Garden interview, Evans and her design team invented “a method of cladding an old weatherboard house in clay that, to my knowledge, had never been done before.”

Whatever they did, it worked. 27 years later this still-sturdy cottage is brimming with Evans’ personality. No matter where you are in or outside her house it would be near-impossible for even the most amateur artist to not come away inspired.

Friend and publisher Craig Potton paid what is perhaps the best tribute to Jane Evans: “she was not a turgid, self-involved sad-sack like some of us.” Words I would love to see on my headstone when the time comes.

41 Russell Street is, just like its late owner, one of a kind. Admire this work of art for yourself, and read more about Jane Evans’ life and times here and here.

Jane Evans house Open2view 4