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Alice and Caleb use Resene paint to transform their kitchen

Renovating power couple Alice and Caleb Pearson are embarking on their latest project, which they’ve dubbed ‘That 70s Reno.’ 

Over the past 13 years, Alice and Caleb have renovated 11 of their own properties, as well as houses on The Block NZ in 2013 and The Ultimate Reno in 2018. 

This time, with their four children in tow, it’s their first family home that’s getting a makeover. Having previously lived in small houses with the intention to renovate and sell, the couple finally decided they needed to find a forever home to fit the family. Their house on the Hibiscus Coast in north Auckland ticked all the boxes, and still left scope for them to personalise with their signature touch.  

Alice explains, “It was built 50 years ago for a family of six too. The layout is perfect, the location is a dream and it is a renovation. To make the whole situation even better, there’s a minor dwelling for my parents, so we get to raise our kids with grandparents close by. We’ve called that the ‘Parental Pad.’

“In three to five years we plan to do a big-scale renovation, but while we wait we are using paint to tackle some problems and make the house our own,” she says.   

So the concept of this renovation is that it will be a purely cosmetic makeover, with no structural, electrical or plumbing changes made. “It means we have to be creative, problem solve and consider how to give outdated and tired elements of our house a brand new look. The kitchen was the biggest challenge with this concept – but also provides the biggest transformation,” says Alice. 

The kitchen was a 70s time capsule and although Alice was inspired by the original colours, major changes were required.
Alice and Caleb knew they had to be creative and consider how to give outdated and tired elements a new look.

The couple wanted their kitchen’s update to be fast, effective and bold, and knew that paint was the best way to achieve it. Having worked with Resene successfully for many years, a visit to their local Resene ColorShop was the first port of call. “Regardless of what store you walk into, the staff are passionate about colour, homes and painting. It’s infectious and inspiring. Whenever I have a question, they find a solution and the right product.”

As Alice is primarily in charge of interior design, the colour scheming is her wheelhouse. “There are two strong deciding factors. The first is the house itself. I fell in love with this house because of the amount of colour used, from the pink kitchen to the mustard velvet carpets and the many, many patterns on the walls and floors.

“I always say my design inspiration starts with the original house, and that is very true in this case. I will use a lot of colour in this renovation, trying to avoid whites and bring plenty of that big 70s energy into the colour scheme,” she says. 

The other reason is more personal. “For years we’ve renovated houses that ultimately someone else will live in, but as I’ve designed for others I’ve created a colour wish list of my own, wanting my favourite Resene colours in my house. So this renovation is about making my colour wish list a reality.”

Alice sought advice from Resene Colour Expert Brenda Ngatai at her local Resene ColorShop.
Caleb got tips from Isaac about prepping and painting the existing benchtop.

Alice spoke to Resene Colour Expert Brenda Ngatai about the colour palette she’d curated, which included Resene New Denim Blue (a charcoal blue) and Resene Rascal (a light sandalwood brown). Brenda gave it the major seal of approval and suggested Resene Quarter Solitaire would work better on the ceiling, rather than the full-strength colour – it’s a candlelit peach cream with a soft ambient glow, making it the perfect choice to create an inviting feel in the home’s social hub. 

And it’s not just hues the Resene ColorShop crew are there to advise on, says Alice. “We have been painting ourselves since we started renovating, but for each project I always ask the Resene team what products to use, because every house is different and may require something different. I can’t stress this enough – using the right products in the right places is crucial.” 

Caleb spoke to Isaac about the best way to go about painting the kitchen’s old benchtop. “You start off with wet and dry sandpaper, then Resene Waterborne Sureseal pigmented sealer. After that, apply Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat and wait about 48 hours,” explains Isaac. “Then you use Resene Uracryl 403. It’s hardwearing, chemical resistant and water resistant – great for a benchtop.” 

Alice was also looking to make a statement on the breakfast bar, so Brenda recommended the Resene Anaglypta Wallpaper Collection. “It’s wallpaper that you paint,” Brenda explains. This textured paper was the perfect choice to complement the 70s vibe.

Prime time! Alice got stuck in to the pre-painting prep work.
Alice used a PAL Speedbrush to apply Resene Colorwood stain to cork tiles for the flooring.
Caleb custom-made a microwave cabinet and rangehood cover.

The couple then set to work. After the all-important prep, they primed all the cabinets with Resene Waterborne Sureseal and everything else with Resene Quick Dry. 

Caleb custom-made the microwave cabinet and rangehood cover and they backed it with the same Resene Anaglypta Wallpaper Collection as the breakfast bar, to enhance the sense of connection between areas. They used Resene Lustacryl on all the working surfaces and Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen for the ceiling. 

The new flooring is another inspired nod to the 1970s and as Caleb says, “You can’t get more 70s than cork tiles.” Alice wanted to do something different, so applied Resene Colorwood natural wood stain to each individual cork tile, then painted on patterns using the colours Resene Becalm and Resene Rising Tide from the Resene Colorwood We Speak Beach range. The floor was then sealed with Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K waterborne flooring urethane.

Caleb says, “From what this kitchen was to what it is now has been quite the transformation and the process has been really satisfying.”

“It’s amazing what you can achieve with some clever ideas, hard work and a few cans of paint!” says Alice.

Stay tuned for upcoming episodes on the kids’ bedrooms and an outdoor area.

The finished result was achieved using a truly inspired selection of Resene paint and paint products, including the key colours Resene New Denim Blue and Resene Rascal. The ceiling, trim and facing wall are painted in Resene Quarter Solitaire.
As this is the ‘pre-renovation’, Alice and Caleb’s kitchen makeover has been purely cosmetic.
The new flooring is an undeniable triumph. Cork tiles painted with Resene Colorwood natural wood stain, Resene Becalm and Resene Rising Tide.

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