Home & Garden

Deep Creek by The Untrained Eye

Interior stylist Ange Dye’s Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland practice is called The Untrained Eye, but it’s plain to see she’s more than qualified to make a home look spectacular. Our own peepers were drawn to her recent project, Deep Creek, a property otherwise known as ‘the bach pad’ on the North Shore. Built in the 1960s, it belongs to retired lawyer John Feast, a father of three adult children. Ange was introduced to John by architect Hamish Gunns of Watgunlow, who after making some minor alterations to the two-bedroom house thought John would enjoy working with Ange to style an entryway, a dining space and living spaces both he and his offspring would enjoy. 

ABOVE Many people overlook the benefits of hiring an interior stylist, but as Ange says, “We’re professionals who know how to shape a home, and work hard to add value to an environment. Clients who engage me are busy with work and family — they want their home to be their sanctuary but don’t have the time to spend on getting it right. Sometimes I’m brought in near the end of a build to work on finishing touches, and at other times, I’ll be hired at the initial design stage and finish with furnishing the home.” Initially, Deep Creek was mainly about furniture selection, but as Ange and John moved through the process, he became keen to utilise her to select other items to complement that.

So Ange, what sort of canvas were you working with here? It was very much a blank one when I was introduced to the project. The house has two levels, but John had previously preferred to spend his downtime in the games/TV room downstairs. I was called in to update the first-floor rooms, and started by painting, and resurfacing the original floors and updating the carpet, then added furniture, art and objects sourced with a view to enticing John back upstairs. I’m happy to say I was successful in that regard!
Deep Creek was unique in that it was the first project on which I aimed to create a narrative rather than simply a beautiful space. It felt more like I was writing a script, then creating a set for it to play out on, and I really enjoyed the experience.

What mood have you used your curated items to set? In one of our initial conversations, John put in a request for “nothing fussy” — and that really stuck with me. The narrative was built around his lifestyle and personality. I’d describe the aesthetic as modernism with a twist of industrial, robust with bursts of sophistication, and there’s definitely a sprinkling of ’60s bachelor pad in the mix as well. 

ABOVE A mid-century chair and ottoman designed in 1956 by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller invites rest and relaxation in the sunken living space, beside a String shelving system from Homage, a vintage crushed-metal side table from Italy, and a vintage marble plinth from Babelogue.

What are some of the stylist’s tricks you’ve employed here? With Deep Creek, it’s all about balance. The floorplan is long, with a living area branching off to the right. Everything’s in view in this space, so in terms of the interior styling, it was important that there was a certain synergy. Although the look is modern, most of the pieces I sourced have a ’60s feel, and muted tones of blue, green, orange and red mixed with timber and metal create a theme throughout.

ABOVE More of Ange’s key finds for this home include a petrol blue rug from Source Mondial (pictured in the main image, top), a Blood Resin side table by Jake Feast and Kasper Raglus prints from Modern Times (all of which you can see in an image further up this page), but Ange confesses, “It’s the smaller details I enjoy the most, like the vintage Murano glass fish I sourced from Italy [arranged on the Artie buffet by GlobeWest, below], and the vintage photos of Tom Hanks and David Bowie shot by Herb Ritts [on the wall above], which are postcards I sourced from Chicago.” She likes to procure pieces from near and far. “There are lots of great local stores, such as Public Record, Babelogue, Simon James, Cult and ECC. Online, I love etsy.com for vintage, thedom.store for glassware, and carolinezimbalist.com and moderntimes.com.au for art and objects.”

Do you have any tips for tackling a styling update all in one go, as opposed to refining an interior gradually? Know the direction you want to go in, keep the style of architecture in mind, and make sure your ideas fit your lifestyle. Start by creating a concept by pulling together images that capture the look and feel you’re wanting. I start with digital mood boards, to which I add a colour palette, materials, furniture, lighting, and lastly art and objects. 

How do you ensure new and existing items look good together? To successfully combine new and old, you have to find commonalities through colour and form. For example, you might need to regroup a collection or reframe an existing artwork. I ask my clients questions like, “What are the must-haves?” and “What pieces are we keeping?” We’ll often retain family heirlooms. The most important
heirloom in this home is the oil painting that belonged to John’s parents above the buffet in the entryway, beside the dining table. I’m so pleased we kept it, because even though other people may not realise the significance of it, John and his family do.

Can you share any current sources of inspiration for anyone embarking on their own interior update? The first thing that comes to mind is the Netflix series Abstract: The Art Of Design — I especially enjoyed the episode with British interior designer Ilse Crawford. I buy books — a recent purchase is Spaces for Living by Tamsin Johnson — and I recently loved listening to the Business of Home podcast featuring Douglas Friedman. I can imagine myself reclining on the Eames chair in the relaxation zone in this home and listening to podcasts for hours.
the-untrained-eye.co.nz

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography Jono Parker


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