Debra and Tony DeLorenzo play the long game with their period property

31 Jul 2019

Debra DeLorenzo is no stranger when it comes to interior renovation and design. As an interior designer by trade, there’s nothing she loves more than to unleash her creative prowess and experiment with different colour palettes and style. But with most projects, there’s a brief to establish and a client to please. This time, Debra herself was the client, alongside husband Tony, as they undertook their home renovation. With a dramatic palette of Resene paint colours, the couple completely turned their period property around and made it completely their own.

The house is a centenarian double bay villa located in the heart of Wellington. Practically every aspect of the home is original, apart from an extension built in 1910. The previous owner had lived her entire life within the four walls; born in 1898, she died in 2007 at 108 years old.

“The previous owner had done very little structurally to the house and because of this, it was almost entirely as it was when it was built,” Debra explained.

Shortly after she and Tony moved in, the City Council listed the property as part of historical significance, meaning that they would need resource consent and approval from the heritage team at the council before the build could be renovated. The house proved to be a labour of love taking ten years to complete.

The couple’s objective was to first focus and pay attention to the period features of the property. “It was important to us both that the house would be glorious again, interesting, full of colour and beautiful and unusual objects,” Debra says. “But where to begin? I started by sanding and vanishing the existing matai floor. I dark stained the spare room, office and sewing room. I didn’t want the whole house to be brown, and dark floors are more dramatic.”

Debra was keen to inject personality into each room. To achieve this, she spent time working on individual colour palettes, taking into consideration particular period features, as well as functionality. Doors and skirting boards that were natural wood were let be and painted wood was refreshed with a lick of Resene Alabaster. To tie the scheme together, shades of black, white and grey were used consistently throughout the home with different accent colours used to enhance specific spaces.

“When it came to feature colours, I chose to stick to warm accents of pink, red, orange and chartreuse in each room,” Debra explains.

Like many of her interior design projects for clients, Debra also experiments with wallpaper, incorporating large-scale motifs to add a slice of drama. It’s a move that instantly pulls the property out of the 1900s and into the present while acting as a perfect point of difference. Each room, whether painted or papered, was complemented with grand pieces of furniture and textiles to enhance the palette while adding contrast and texture.

Another trademark of Debra’s work is the way she starts with the bones of the property and adds to them. The original kitchen cornice, for example, remains in place in the green she found it in. The rest of the colour palette embraced the hue and grew lovingly around it, resulting in other variants of green being carried throughout the space.

After ten years of renovation, the property is now abundant with personality. The final modernised touch? “Hot water radiators. We have placed them throughout the house, so after eight years of living in a cold and draughty house, it is absolute bliss.”

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing [email protected].

green kitchen, interior design, green interior, green ceiling, kitchen ideas, kitchen design

Inspired by the original green hue of the existing cornice, Debra embraced the colour and chose to use a number of other verdant shades within the space as well as carefully selected Winkleman tessellated kitchen tiles as a nod to the original. The ceiling is in Resene Green House, the walls are in Resene Joanna, the kitchen cabinets are in Resene Half Joanna, the doors, trim and panelling are in Resene Alabaster and the fireplace is in Resene Woodstock.

green ceiling, green kitchen, kitchen ideas, wallpaper ideas, dining room inspiration, interior idea

Debra and Tony’s kitchen viewed from the dining room. Inside, the ceiling is in Resene Green House, the walls are in Resene Joanna, the kitchen cabinets are in Resene Half Joanna, the doors, trim and panelling are in Resene Alabaster, and the fireplace is in Resene Woodstock. For a similar looking wallpaper to that used in the dining room, try Resene Wallpaper Collection WM2566, 515244 or E351011 (shown on right).

dining room inspiration, interior design, wallpaper inspiration, wallpaper ideas, interior ideas

Debra and Tony removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room to make the layout open plan, without neglecting the period features. The ceiling and cornice are painted in Resene Sidecar, the fireplace surround is in Resene Nero, the existing kitchen dresser is in Resene Tuna. For a similar looking wallpaper, try Resene Wallpaper Collection WM2566, 515244 or E351011 (shown on right).

gold interior, lounge inspiration, living room ideas, gold inspiration, interior design, gold lounge

Debra says that the lounge has the “most amazing original painted walls and ornate plastered and painted gilded ceiling.” To complement the colour palette and original features, she painted the antique dresser in Resene Aqua.

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On the opposite side of Debra and Tony’s lounge, the TV dresser has been painted Resene Oxygen to complement the ornate original walls and gilded ceiling.

bedroom inspiration, wallpaper inspiration, wallpaper ideas, interior design, bedroom ideas

Each room in the house has a large decorative light fitting and concealed lighting and lamps, which add to the overall style. The master bedroom also features a wallpaper in a Toile pattern, a romantic print which acts as a gentle nod to the property’s period charm. For a similar look, try Resene Wallpaper Collection 98571 (shown on right). The ceiling and trims are painted Resene Alabaster.

bedroom inspiration, wallpaper inspiration, wallpaper ideas, interior design, feature wallpaper

Classic meets contemporary in this elegant spare bedroom. The ceiling and trims are painted Resene Alabaster while the walls are papered in Resene design that has since been discontinued. To get a similar look, try Resene Wallpaper Collection E351011 or Y6200203 (shown on right).

bathroom inspiration, bathroom ideas, colourful bathroom ideas, pink bathtub, interior design

Debra’s main bathroom houses a range of vivid colours that alongside original tessellated tile and stained-glass window brings the room to life. The ceiling is painted in Resene Sassy, the cornice is in Resene Pizza, the walls are in Resene Golden Glow and the cupboard is in Resene Black.

black and white bathroom, bathroom inspiration, bathroom ideas, wallpaper inspiration

Debra’s ensuite takes traditional black and white styled bathrooms and turns it on its head. Patterned hexagon tiles on the floor play off a floral damask Resene wallpaper design ensure a touch of personality in an otherwise clinical space. While this pattern has since been discontinued, try Resene Wallpaper Collection 32798-4 for a similar look (shown on right). 

images Paul McCredie​
design Debra DeLorenzo, One Ranfurly Limited
 

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