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Fixing up the family farmhouse

One occupational hazard of travelling the country – and the world – with his band Fat Freddy’s Drop, says Scott Towers, is that you’re always finding amazing places you’d like to live.

“We’d visited Hawke’s Bay a number of times, and I’d brought the family on tour here at least twice,” says the saxophonist. “So I wasn’t surprised when my wife fell in love with the region and proposed we move there.”

Scott and his wife Fiona, along with their son Salvador, made the shift from Auckland in 2016, purchasing a 1920s stucco farmhouse on a couple of acres of land. “There was lots to love about the property – masses of space, which we quickly filled up with sheep, chickens, two dogs and a cat – but there was definitely work to be done, both inside and out.”

Shades of grey

First on the hit list? Stripping out the worn carpet, tired wallpaper and changing the interior colour scheme. “One room was painted in a shade I can only describe as a bit like margarine, another was a deep lavender. It just wasn’t our taste,” says Scott.

A keen handyman and DIYer who says his skills have been passed down from his father Neale, Scott hit the Hastings Resene ColorShop almost immediately.

“We started with the sitting room. It’s quite a formal area with a beautiful timber window seat, and we wanted to retain the original features, but cosy it up and make it a place we could lounge in in winter.”

However, Scott says he and Fiona made a huge error of judgement. “We picked a grey from a Resene colour swatch and I prepped and painted the room. But as soon as it was done, we just knew it wasn’t right. It had made the room so lifeless and cold – like walking into a giant refrigerator.”

Luckily, the couple had a friend working in interior design, so they got her to take a look. “It was a lesson in remembering to ask for help when you need it,” Scott says with a laugh. “She immediately knew what grey we should have chosen. So, it was back to Resene to pick up a few litres of Resene Inside Back.

“It’s actually incredible to see the impact a slightly different shade can make to a room,” Scott adds. “Our lounge was transformed into a place that’s snug and inviting, using nothing but colour.”

Scott was keen to choose paint colours that reflected his home’s heritage and history – in the lounge, Resene Inside Back was a successful second choice! Ceiling painted with Resene Ceiling Paint waterborne flat in Resene White.

Calling in the experts

The dark, damp kitchen got an overhaul next. “We knew it was time for the old one to come out when we found mushrooms growing inside one of the cupboards!” Scott admits. This time though, they got help from a team of experts.

“Some jobs are just too big to DIY” concedes Scott. “We brought in the cavalry, including Sydaz Joinery from Napier. They arranged for our bespoke stainless steel workbenches to be fabricated, and had our new cabinets sprayed in Resene Tuna, which Fiona thought would look really sharp next to the stainless.”

When it came to converting an old rumpus room into a home office for his wife – who has her own consultancy, Contentment PR & Communications – Scott found that once more, Fiona had firm ideas on which Resene paint colour she preferred. “We’d used Resene Atomic in our TV room and there was some left over. So, she asked if I’d paint a bit on one of her office walls and she instantly loved the effect.”

Scott and Fiona are keen foodies who love to entertain. For their kitchen they chose Resene Tuna to match the industrial-looking stainless-steel island, with walls in Resene Zylone Sheen in Resene White Pointer, ceiling in Resene Ceiling Paint waterborne flat in Resene White and trims in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in White Pointer.

Embracing nature

Throughout their (ongoing) renovation, Scott says the family has always picked colours they feel suit the age and style of the home, as well as those that bring a little of their surroundings indoors.

“We’re not that big on a house that feels too white or too clinical,” he explains. “We love being in a light, white environment when we’re at a beach house or city apartment, but here in the countryside, with all the greens, golds, blues and browns surrounding us, we like to reflect that, as well as complement the rimu joinery and mataī flooring.”

As an accomplished home cook who loves having friends over for long lunches in the backyard, Scott also knew he wanted to build an outdoor pizza oven. Using recycled bricks from a dismantled dog kennel, the oven and parilla (an Argentinian grill) were fun projects to tick off. And once again, Resene products were key. “I like to use Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss in Resene Vista White – it’s a great shade with a Mediterranean vibe. And it’s durable and hardy out here in the elements.”

Fiona’s office is painted in Resene Atomic with paint leftover from the family TV room. Ceiling painted with Resene Ceiling Paint waterborne flat in Resene White.
Scott built his Argentinian-inspired pizza oven using recycled bricks and finished it off with Resene Lustacryl in Resene Vista White for its Mediterranean tones.

To be continued

Seven years after first moving to Hawke’s Bay, Scott says there’s still plenty of work to be done on their home, but he’s up for it. “That’s the thing about older homes – they’re lovely, but as soon as you’ve finished one job, another one crops up! Right now we’re creating more of an entranceway inside our front door and repainting the hallway, and we’ll be having a crack at an exterior repaint in the next year or two.”

He says relying on the knowledge and experience of paint experts at his local Resene ColorShop has been key. “You can rock in there with a broad idea of what you’re trying to do and they’ll refine that for you,” says Scott.

“I think we’ve come to know and trust Resene products to the extent that they are always our first port of call during any reno project.”

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