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Demo to Reno: Dining room transformation

Seasoned renovators and professional house flippers Tyge and Christina Dellar launched their business Demo to Reno four years ago and have gone from strength to strength since, transforming over a dozen properties along the way. Their skillset is a match made in renovation heaven: Tyge has a background in construction and project management, while Christina loves all things interior and is passionate about creating and decorating beautiful spaces. 

It was a life-altering medical event that compelled the couple to reassess where they were in their journey and what they wanted to achieve together. South African-born Tyge experienced a stroke, a terrifying experience for both he and American-born Christina and their young children. However, it gave the couple a new lease on life and the motivation and confidence to make their often talked-about dreams a reality – and Demo to Reno was born. 

This time it’s their forever home in Auckland’s Stillwater that they’re working their magic on, with sons Valor (seven) and Zeph (four) in tow.

“For us it was love at first sight. The house felt very American, with that farmhouse feeling. We had never had land before but always wanted that lifestyle for our boys,” says Tyge. “We want the house to feel like a large family home – still super cosy but with that touch of luxury. Our inspiration comes from famous movie houses, like the ones from Father of the Bride and Home Alone, but with our touches and style.”  

Tyge and Christina are making over the interior rooms of their house to complement the classic American style of the exterior.

With the help of MasterStroke by Resene, the couple are enhancing the classic white weatherboard exterior with a bright, Hamptons-inspired interior renovation.

“We – and by ‘we’ I mean Christina – knew that wainscoting was going to be a big part of the transformation,” says Tyge. “Wainscoting is found in many classic American homes and it gives that character this house desperately needed. This house is all about classics. Deep charcoals, Hampton blues and crisp whites.” 

Because Tyge and Christina love to entertain, they’re kicking things off with the dining room. While it is a separate area, which creates a formal feeling, the original space was very basic – plain white walls and some timber joinery. “It’s got no style or oomph, and that’s what we want to give it,” says Christina.

Brenda agreed that as the wallpaper was only going to be used on half the wall, Christina could be a little daring with her choice.
Isaac provided Tyge with the essential instructions for priming the timber and wainscoting efficiently, as well as successfully wallpapering the walls.

Making decisions

The couple had an idea of what they wanted for the room, but headed into their local Resene ColorShop for some help fine-tuning their vision.

Christina discussed her Hamptons inspiration for the wallpaper with Resene Colour Expert Brenda Ngatai. As it’s only going to be used on half the wall, Christina felt confident selecting Resene Eden Wallpaper Collection M37311 – part of the collection inspired by the flora of the Garden of Eden – and Brenda agreed. 

With the help of Resene ColorShop manager Isaac, Tyge ascertained exactly what he needed for the wainscoting, bare timber and wallpaper. Isaac recommended applying Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat on the wainscoting before the topcoat, and then helped Tyge select the size, paste and tools for the wallpaper.

All the varnished timber surfaces required sanding before it was primed with Resene Waterborne Sureseal.
As the original room was lacking in character, Tyge made wainscoting from scratch to fit with the couple's desired style.

Before it was all painted, the room’s timber windowsills, doors and scotias required sanding and prepping to ensure a quality finish. Tyge handmade all the wainscoting, which involves cutting raw timber with 45-degree angles and gluing it onto the wall piece by piece with adhesive to create the picture frame-shaped squares. The couple then applied Resene Quick Dry to the wainscoting and Resene Waterborne Sureseal pigmented sealer to all the varnished timber surfaces. 

Light and bright

Then it was time for topcoats. Resene SpaceCote Flat in Resene Quarter Black White was used on the ceiling – it’s a bright, fresh white that’s ideal for ceilings as it enhances the sense of space and light in the room. Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in Resene Black White was used on the wainscoting, with Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in Resene Black White was used on the sills, doors, architraves, skirtings and scotias for a polished finish. 

The final part of the process was applying the wallpaper. “I’m not going to lie, wallpapering is definitely an art form, but we got some really good advice and followed all the steps and hey, we wallpapered a whole room!” says Tyge. “It gave us that statement we were really after,” adds Christina.

The Resene Eden Wallpaper Collection M37311 is perfectly balanced with the crisp Resene Black White used on the wainscoting.
Tyge and Christina love to entertain and wanted to tie in their dining room into their Hamptons-style home aesthetic.

The room’s original style was very basic, with plain white walls and classic timber joinery, but presented plenty of potential. The finished dining room has become a place to entertain in and enjoy. Ceiling in Resene SpaceCote Flat in Resene Quarter Black White. Wainscoting in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in Resene Black White. Sills, doors, architraves, skirtings and scotias in Resene Lustacryl in Resene Black White. The wallpaper is Resene Eden Wallpaper Collection M37311.

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