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Meet the MasterStroke by Resene Talent Tribe

Meet our MasterStroke by Resene experts and everyday DIYers and get to know them – and their ‘helpful’ pets – a little better!

Jay Sharples

How do you describe yourself and what you do?

I’m a trade sales representative for Resene and enjoy my job. I’ve worked for Resene coming up to 11 years – I started part-time as a retail assistant in a local Resene ColorShop, then moved on to manage a shop and I’m now in the sales team.

How did you get involved with MasterStroke by Resene?

I was asked and didn’t say no! I have been involved with The Block NZ for a couple of years and answer questions every six weeks or so on Peter Wolfkamp’s show on Newstalk ZB, which I enjoy, so I figured helping with MasterStroke would be fun and interesting.

Any painting projects coming up?

I need to re-stain my house this summer, I’m just waiting on some consistent nice weather. I live in a single-storey, cedar weatherboard house. I’ll be using Resene Woodsman wood oil tinted to the colour Resene Dark Oak. I re-stain every couple of years.

What’s your favourite Resene paint product? 

Resene Qristal Clear. It’s a clear coat for interior timber, it self-levels and ends up looking amazing. I’ve used it on multiple projects around my home.

Favourite Resene colour: 

Resene Element.

Do you have a favourite paint hack?

My favourite hack I only learnt recently and from MasterStroke. It was wrapping the brush bristles closest to the handle with tape. Next time my wife or kids ‘help’ with the painting I’ll definitely be using it.

What’s your least favourite household job?

My least favourite area of the house to paint is the ceiling. It usually the first area I check when walking into a house, restaurant, shop, etc and any imperfections really stand out.

What do you want to change next around the house?

The next interior area of the house we will be tackling (when we have the funds) will be the main bathroom. It’s functional as is but is a bit dated. It’ll be a while until we get to it, but I’ll keep you updated.

Greatest DIY achievement?

My favourite DIY achievement is my dining room table. We purchased a macrocarpa slab from Cypress Sawmill, cut it to size, sanded it (a lot), applied a coat of Resene Danska Teak Oil, a coat of Resene Qristal Clear gloss and two coats of Resene Qristal Clear flat. It’s a few years old now but I still love it.

Best renovating advice you ever received?

Don’t be afraid to give something a go and make sure you plan before you start.

Biggest renovation regret?

Before I worked at Resene, my rental needed painting and the letting agent said they’d pay for the paint if we applied it. They said don’t buy the most expensive paint, but don’t get the cheapest either. We got middle-of-the road-paint, and for a 90m² place we ended up using 4 x 15L – it was honestly like painting with water. One 10-litre bucket of Resene Zylone Sheen would have done a better job and saved hundreds of dollars.

Jay's favourite DIY project was his macrocarpa dining table, which he finished with Resene Danska Teak Oil and Resene Qristal Clear.
 

Alice and Caleb Pearson

How you describe yourself and what you do?

We are regular renovators (currently at property #12), a husband and wife duo, and winners of The Block NZ way back in 2013. We share our renovation journey through our social media and website, Pearson + Projects. It is all about projects, ideas and inspiration for DIY enthusiasts, homemakers and renovators.

How did you get involved with MasterStroke by Resene?

We first worked with Resene in 2018 on a TV show called The Ultimate Reno. We were so impressed with their passion for colour and paint that we quickly became ambassadors for them, and used their paint and wallpaper range in our last four renovation projects. When MasterStroke was started, we were first in line to be involved and renovated a retro caravan!

Any painting projects coming up?

The answer will never be no with us! We have two renovations on the go currently. The first is That 70s Reno, which is what we are calling our pre-renovation renovation. In the mid-term future we plan to do a big-scale renovation of our first family home, but while we wait, we are using paint to tackle some problems and make the house our own.

We are also renovating the minor dwelling on the property for Alice’s parents, which we have called the Parental Pad. There are plenty of paint projects coming up with that transformation too!

What’s your favourite Resene paint product?

Is it lame that it’s a primer, but Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer is a game changer. It has meant we could paint laminate, glass, metal and plastic – and it works! It is how we painted the fridge, dishwasher, glass and laminate vanity, tiles and even metal windows! We’re big fans.

Favourite Resene colour?

Resene Good As Gold.

Do you have a favourite paint hack?

Using an old plastic bag and plastic roller sleeve to cover your paint brushes loaded with paint between coats. And storing your paintbrushes well after you have used and cleaned them, so they hold their shape and last longer.

What’s next around the house?

The bedrooms! They have so much pattern going on, and I want them to feel more relaxed and reflect our style.

Greatest DIY achievement?

Two of our renovations were on the cover of Your Home and Garden in 2014 and 2018. And also back in 2016 we did a reno in 30 days with $30K when I was 20 weeks pregnant. We set a crazy goal, but we got it all done and moved in on time.

Top budget tip?

Paint can restore or makeover so many things rather than replacing them. I have painted light fixtures, benchtops, fireplaces, tiles, floors, handles, old furniture – the list goes on! Sometimes a new lease of life is better than something new – and it will always be the most cost-effective option.

Alice and Caleb's revamped retro caravan painted in Resene Super Gloss tinted to Resene Double Canterbury Clay and Resene Black White.
 

Ingel Janssen

How you describe yourself and what you do?

I’ve spent 47 years involved in the painting and decorating industry in one form or another. My position is Northern Retail Manager for Resene. I have responsibilities to 33 Resene ColorShops and I also manage Resene’s wallpaper range.

How did you get involved with MasterStroke by Resene?

I was asked if I was interested in doing a “how to” video on how to wallpaper a feature wall. Obviously, I said yes!

Any painting projects coming up?

I’m currently working  through my own home, repainting the interior and wallpapering feature walls in all rooms. I’m using Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen on the walls, the three bedrooms will have Resene Van Gogh wallpaper, the toilet will have Resene Versace wallpaper and the bathroom is to be confirmed.

Favourite Resene colour?

Resene Pohutukawa.

Do you have a favourite paint hack?

When I’m painting over a couple of days and using the same colour, I place the roller sleeve I’m using in a plastic bag and leave in a cool place overnight. This means you don’t have to clean out after each use, only when finished.

What’s your favourite Resene paint product and wallpaper? 

Resene SpaceCote and Resene Lumbersider. My favourite wallpaper ranges are the Resene 1838 wallpaper books and the Resene Van Gogh range, from international suppliers, and locally produced wallpapers such as Resene Inspirations, Resene FX Metallics and Resene Habitat – all manufactured by Aspiring Walls in Porirua.

Best renovating advice you ever received?

Plan your project and take your time. There is no need to rush which could lead to mistakes, take your time to achieve a job to be proud of. Plan what you want to do and map your way through it. Doing the project step by step means you won’t miss a crucial element.

 

 

Blair Houston and Gretchen Lowe 

How you describe yourself and what you do?

Blair: A CFO for a medical tech company (very measured, with plenty of attention to detail).

Gretchen: A creative, food stylist, interior designer (not as measured and likes to push creative boundaries) .

How did you get involved with MasterStroke by Resene

We were approached by Resene who had spotted Gretchen’s interior style and renovations on Instagram.

Do you have a favourite paint hack? 

If you are going to be taking your time to renovate, get the undercoat on the walls and ceilings as soon as you can. This will make the rooms feel more finished, but give you time to work through what your preferred paint finish will be – test and learn!

Favourite Resene colour: 

Resene Eighth Canterbury Clay.

Any painting projects coming up? 

Yes, we’re working on the ensuite then hopefully tackling the exterior.

Best renovating advice you ever received 

Blair: An oldie but such a goodie – measure twice, cut once. Also, the importance of quality tape.

What’s your favourite/least favourite household job? 

Gretchen: My favourite jobs would have to be cooking, organising and rearranging. Least favourite is the dishes!

Greatest DIY achievement? 

Blair: Building an arch and a shower from scratch. 

Gretchen: Painting almost our entire interior in various Resene shades and finishes.

Describe your decorating style:

Gretchen: Refined yet relaxed eclecticism. I love layering unique vintage with new pieces to create spaces that are slightly imperfect yet cosy and beautiful.

Top budget tip

Do as much as you can manage yourselves. Even if you think you can’t, give it a try. Confidence builds exponentially as you go.

What’s next around the house? 

Gretchen: I’d love to make the hallway arches more ornate with beautiful plasterwork.

Walls in Resene Double Sea Fog mixed with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium, over a basecoat of Resene Alabaster. Panelling in Resene Eighth Canterbury Clay. Fireplace in Resene Alabaster mixed with Resene Sea Fog.
 

Brenda Ngatai

How you describe yourself and what you do?

I am a Resene Colour Consultant.  I cover the North Shore area of Auckland, so I travel out to homeowners, small commercial buildings, schools and health centres for onsite colour consults specifying Resene Colours. This can be interior, exterior or both.

How did you get involved with MasterStroke by Resene?

Our colour team was asked if we would like to take part in the colour and design side of MasterStroke and we are delighted to be able to help with tips and advice.

Do you have a favourite paint hack?

I love the hack of wrapping your paintbrush in a completely sealed-up piece of plastic or a plastic bag – that’s with paint still on it! Without having to wash it out in water, you can leave it like that, then unwrap it and use it the following day. I have left my paintbrushes wrapped and sealed in plastic for up to three days on my own projects, and they’ve been perfectly fine to carry on using.

Greatest DIY achievement?

Painting the interior of my old but sturdy timber garage. I had it relined and insulated, turning it into a very cute and cosy sleep-out. I chose Resene Chelsea Cucumber, a mid-clear green that has warmth and a retro vibe, for the end wall that has a large double window. All the rest, including ceilings and open rafters, is painted out in Resene Alabasterit looks fabulous.

Any painting projects coming up?

I have a small timber outdoor patio, so I need to clean it with Resene Moss & Mould Killer, then with Resene Timber & Deck Wash, then restain with Resene Woodsman.

Favourite Resene colour

Resene Floyd.

Describe your decorating style 

I love so much of everything, I’m now more eclectic and I love retro.

 

 

Jacob Leaf, aka The Upcycler

How do you describe yourself and what you do? 

I like to “make good use of the things that I find, things that the everyday folks leave behind”. That’s a line from The Wombles theme song and a throwback to my Gen X childhood on the West Coast of the South Island. They played “The Wombling Song” before every movie screening at the Regent Theatre in Hokitika. The Wombles were the ultimate upcyclers and definitely inspired me. Plus my dad made us do lots of jobs that gave us skills. He’s kind of like a Māori Womble. As well as wombling around upcycling things, I’m a visual effects artist for TV shows and films, a backyard beekeeper and a dad.

How did you get involved with MasterStroke by Resene

I’d already worked with Resene, having previously done DIYs using Resene products for NZ Gardener magazine. Getting involved with MasterStroke was a great opportunity to keep making cool upcycled stuff.

Any painting projects coming up? 

I’m currently trying to talk my partner Rachel into making a pergola for our garden, but we’re having a creative difference of opinion about that.

Do you have a favourite paint hack? 

The painter’ s tape paint can bib hack from TikTok, where you apply tape in a V shape to make paint pouring easier. Or wrapping your paintbrushes in plastic bread bags if you haven’t quite finished a painting project, instead of washing them.

What’s next around the house?

A steel framed pergola over the deck, with a shade made from the bamboo stems in our garden. We also want to convert our garage into a studio space and a bedroom for our teenage son.

What’s your favourite Resene paint product? 

Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer. 

Greatest DIY achievement? 

Building a glasshouse from old windows. The interior is painted with Resene Fringy Flower.

Favourite Resene colour: 

Resene Deep Sea.

Describe your decorating style:

Eclectic and slightly haphazard. I’m inspired by good design from different eras. At the moment I’m into Memphis Group design from the 1980s and 90s. A 90s Alessi butter dish and knife in the shape of a boat is a recent favourite purchase.

Top budget tip: 

Your local recycling centre has almost everything you need to build small projects.

Jacob repurposed some old windows to build this stunning glasshouse for his garden. Interior painted in Resene Fringy Flower.
 

Josh Lysaght

How do you describe yourself and what you do?

I’m 30 years old and living in Queenstown with my wife and dog. I love living down here for the outdoor lifestyle – I love snowboarding and hiking, and after ice climbing overseas years ago, I aim to get into living by the mountains down here. I am a construction manager for a project management and construction company in Queenstown.

How did you get involved with MasterStroke by Resene?

An old friend rang me up saying they were looking for a manly builder to create step-by-step projects and the rest is history!

Favourite Resene colour?

Resene Beatnik.

What’s next around the house?

I want to build an external station to organise and tidy our rubbish bins, recycling and dog food. Odin likes to help himself sometimes!

Greatest DIY achievement?

I love the swing chair I built. Coming into the warmer month, I’m loving chilling in that thing and looking up at the mountains or reading a book.

Any decorating tips?

Consistency is critical – establish a theme and stick to it. Pinterest is great for inspiration. Someone else will have already done it, so find a picture that speaks for you.

 

Tegan Williams, aka Tradie Gal

How you describe yourself and what you do?

I have often been described as a ‘tornado’ and I’ve come to terms with that! But I believe I’m an organised, systematic tornado with a bubbly personality.

How did you get involved with MasterStroke by Resene?

After working with habitat by Resene I was approached by MasterStroke to share some DIY tips and tricks on video.

Any painting projects coming up?

Next thing on our 80s bungalow is the garage door, a second coat on our exterior, and painting our aluminium windows to match the rest of the house.   

What is your all-time favourite Resene colour?

I love Resene Top Notch – great pop of colour. 

What’s your least favourite household job?

Folding the washing and putting it away. I just have to pull it all out during the week to wear it again!

Greatest DIY achievement?

Carpeting our house. It was a challenge, but I’m so proud we did it.

Top budget tip:

If you can do it yourself, give it go. You’ll be surprised what you can achieve and people don’t mind you asking questions.

 

Thomas Swain

How do you describe yourself and what you do?

I’m a creative who works in video content and when I’m not found precariously perched somewhere slightly unsafe, to get that ‘perfect shot,’ I’m renovating a house slightly faster than it falls apart. Check it out on Instagram @wairauroad.

How did you get involved with MasterStroke by Resene?

I started creating videos with Sean Brown the builder, the first one was a children’s shelf project.

What’s your favourite Resene paint product? 

Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer is absolutely genius! Gone are the days of sanding everything back to paint it, or having paint chip off because it was painted onto an old varnish. 

Favourite Resene colour? 

Resene Turtle Green.

Best renovating advice you ever received?

Pour the amount of paint you want to use into a separate container – that way if it spills or gets something in it, you haven’t wasted too much. 

Top budget tip:

Check out op shops or Facebook Marketplace for handles, reclaimed wood and old furniture to repurpose.

 

Matt and Amalia Osborne

How do you describe yourself and what you do?

We have a love for all things home, interior design and building. Matt is a certified builder currently working in foundations. Amalia is a photographer with a background in magazines. We have three gorgeous kiddos.

Any painting projects coming up?

Yes! We are about to embark on another dream project building a new home on land we’ve recently purchased. 

What’s your favourite Resene paint or wallpaper product? 

Resene Lustacryl semi gloss and Resene Wallpaper Collection 307302, a vibrant floral with birds. 

Greatest DIY achievement? 

We converted a shed into a deluxe, Hamptons-inspired barn renovation

Favourite Resene colour?

Amalia: Resene Green Spring.
Matt: Resene Ironsand.

Describe your decorating style

Luxe, stylish and bespoke. We love working with statement features, beautiful textures, and rich colours. We’re not afraid to go big and bold and think outside the box. 

Before
After
Matt and Amalia's greatest DIY achievement was this stunning barn transformation. Exterior in Resene Black White. Photo by Courtney & Co.
 

Amy Watkins

How you describe yourself and what you do?

I’m a Colour Expert at Resene, covering central and west Auckland. My role involves visiting homeowners, meeting them in store at a local Resene ColorShop, visiting small commercial buildings and schools, then specifying Resene colours and paint products for both the interior and exterior. I have a degree in Landscape and Interior Design, and love everything about interior design and using colours in interesting ways.

What’s your favourite Resene paint product? 

I love using Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen. Not only is it an easy product to apply and get a nice finish, but with two boys around the house it’s perfect as it is hard-wearing enough that I can easily clean any marks off the walls.

Greatest DIY achievement?

When the kids were younger, I helped my dad build a boat to have in the garden for the kids to play on. It’s still going strong –six years and two house moves later! I painted it using Resene Lustacryl with the main colour being Resene Seachange

Favourite Resene colour?

Resene Dawn Glow.

Describe your decorating style?

I like to change my style on a regular basis, but for the most part I love the Japandi style (a mix of Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics). I find it restful and welcoming.

 

Scott Towers

How you describe yourself and what you do?

I’m a freelance musician, a permanent member of Fat Freddy’s Drop and part-time DIYer.

Favourite Resene colour? 

Resene Atomic.

Any painting projects coming up?

We need to renovate/relocate a bathroom, which will make for lots of painting in three or four different spaces.

Do you have a favourite paint hack?

Not so much a hack as some sensible advice: Get your music playlist sorted to last for at least two (preferably three) hours. That way you can zone out and concentrate on the job rather than getting distracted by needing to change the music.

Greatest DIY achievement?

I built a huge deck, stair and walkway during the Covid-affected summer. It’s had the biggest positive effect on how our house functions. That and our kitchen reno – which we planned together and then executed almost perfectly.

Biggest renovation regret?

Not thinking about noise pollution when renovating our utility shed into offices for my wife and myself. Maybe pollution is too strong a word – maybe it’s noise overflow. Our offices back on to each other and if I’m playing, practising or recording instruments it can be a significant disturbance for her!

 

Sean Brown

How you describe yourself and what you do?

I’m a builder with a passion for creative carpentry. I love variety in my work and seek out the fun in any project. 

Any painting projects coming up?

There are always painting projects coming up! My wife is an undercover interior designer so we’re always looking for ways to bring new energy into our home. 

Favourite Resene colour?

Resene Awash.

Least favourite household job?

I despise cleaning window frames… the glass I enjoy, but not the frames. 

What’s the thing around the house you want to change next? 

Our home just needs some impact. It’s lovely, but I’m pretty keen to get some Resene feature wallpaper in areas to really liven things up!

How would you describe your decorating style? 

A combination of Hamptons and NZ beach. It’s nice to live in a light and relaxed home and feel like you’re on holiday around the clock.

 

Melissa Silkstone

How do you describe yourself and what you do?

I’m self-motivated and inspired by life and all it has to offer with a love for DIY. I enjoy working in the diverse and dynamic world of digital media, and I’m in the pinch-me role of being the Digital Editor for MasterStroke by Resene!

Any painting projects coming up?

There is a bright red kitchen that glares at me whenever I visit my parents place. They’re too nervous to tackle it themselves but I truly have no excuses not to give it a go with the knowledge I’ve gained. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and giving the punchy red kitchen a modern refresh.

Favourite Resene colour?

Resene Chilean Fire.

What’s your top budget tip?

This one is a bit unique but ultimately helps the budget: Buy quality paint gear and take care of it! It is so easy to think, “I’ll clean the paintbrushes later” – especially after a long hard day of DIY – but then they end up sitting in a bucket of water for too long getting absolutely destroyed, or you end up throwing them out and purchasing a whole new set. I repeat, buy quality and take care of them – some of my paintbrushes have even improve over time the more I’ve worked with them.

What’s your decorating style?

Oh, I recently learnt what my decorating style is thanks to Pinterest! It is called ‘organic modern’ – clean minimalism with nature-inspired shapes, organic textures and rustic elements. This decorating style has a warm, inviting and soulful feel while remaining sleek and elegant and I’m obsessed with it.

Do you have a favourite paint hack?

I learnt a helpful hack while on a job filming a Paint like a Pro episode with Johnny Warwick from Profile Painters. I noticed that all his paintbrushes had painter’s tape wrapped around the base of the ferrule. I initially thought it was the way that Johnny identified his different brushes from each other, but he then explained that it helps his paintbrushes last even longer. The painters tape stops paint from working its way all the way up into the ferrule, drying and causing the bristles to splay. I was so excited about the helpful hack that I got the film crew to immediately film it!

 

Tyge and Christina Dellar (aka Demo to Reno) 

How you describe yourself and what you do?

We are house flippers and full-time renovators. 

Any painting projects coming up?

Christina: Too many, haha! We have a beautiful house but the whole thing needs freshening up. The big job will be painting the exterior a fresh white. 

What’s your favourite/least favourite household job?

Tyge: Water blasting is low on my list, but I love doing the lawns now that I have a ride-on mower.

Christina: I love doing a good vacuum and hate putting away clean laundry. 

Favourite Resene colours?

Resene Blue Night and Resene Bambina.

Describe your decorating style

Christina: I would say the Hamptons. I love fresh whites, coastal touches and vintage finishes. 

What’s your top budgeting tip? 

Tyge: Don’t go shopping with Christina!

Christina: For me it would be prioritising the projects that will make the biggest impact. For us with this house, it’s been painting and changing pendants. Spend money there and go thrifty for other projects. 

 

Pet corner

He Pekapeka Pango (owned by Jacob)

How did you get your name? 

My name means “black bat” in te reo Māori. When my family adopted me five years ago, the kids were really into Batman and, you have to admit, my silhouette is very similar to the Dark Knight’s – handsome and mysterious.

What’s your favourite Resene paint colour?

Resene All Black.

How do you ‘help’ during DIY projects?

Recently my family had their deck stained. I contributed by standing in mud then decorating the deck with my paw prints.

What’s your favourite place in the house?

Any box. No matter how small, I can fit inside it, even if I flatten the sides in the process.

 Any DIY projects that you’d like to see undertaken at your place?

I think my cat door could do with a makeover. Something involving lots of black paint and a velvet curtain.

What’s your favourite way to spend the day? 

Stretched out, catching some rays and having a moe (nap), then tripping up different members of my household until they feed me.

 

Pip (owned by Tegan)

What’s your favourite Resene paint colour? 

Resene Bizarre – it matches my toe beans so when it’s wet and I stand in it, you can’t tell. 

How do you help during DIY projects? 

I’m more of a supervisor. I’ll make sure all the tools are being used and test if the paint is dry with my tail or toes often. 

What’s your favourite place in the house?

It would have to be on the heated tiles in the bathroom

Any DIY projects that you’d like to see undertaken at your place? 

A cat door so I don’t have to keep opening windows to jump in and out.

What’s your favourite way to spend the day? 

In my little kitten hammock or on my mum’s laptop when she’s working.

Check back soon to meet more of the MasterStroke by Resene team!

 

About MasterStroke by Resene
MasterStroke by Resene is here to help you master your paint and decorating DIY projects. Brush up on your skills with advice, tips and ideas from our trusted experts.

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