Kathy and Greg’s character villa gets a cosy update

30 May 2019

15 years ago, when Kathy and Greg Chiles purchased their Edwardian villa in Dunedin’s Belleknowes neighbourhood, they were drawn to its character, sunny north facing position, interior layout and child-friendly section. Over the years, the couple have renovated quite extensively, always in keeping with the character of the home – which was accomplished with the help of classic Resene paint colours.

Kathy, an interior designer and owner of Inspired Interiors, describes her style as “a combination of vintage and contemporary with hints of industrial and an exotic tropical feel.”

“Our home’s character features include pressed tin ceilings in some rooms, heart rimu arch and columns in the hallway and rooms with original tongue and groove floorboards. Greg and I have both always loved character homes and felt that a contemporary scheme didn’t suit this particular home. I always admire architecture and wanted this renovation to remain true to accentuating the character elements.”

“We especially wanted to renovate the living room, as it was the same colour as when we bought the house and we wanted a change. We wanted it to have a calm, restful scheme, for the furnishings to recede and make the room feel bigger, also for our artwork to add pops of colour and focal areas to the space.”

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lounge, living room, fireplace, renovated interior, grey living room, grey lounge, brown lounge

Kathy and Greg’s renovated living room looks warm and inviting with walls in Resene Half Taupe Grey and ceilings and architraves in Resene Half Pearl Lusta. The couple chose an Escea DF700 gas fireplace and retrofitted it into their existing character fireplace.

living room, lounge, renovation, brown living room, fireplace, neutral lounge, grey living room

The living room makeover included creating bespoke joinery with LED lighting to house Kathy’s collection of coloured NZ art glass. The walls are in Resene Half Taupe Grey, the custom built-in shelving is in Resene Alabaster and the ceiling and architraves are in Resene Half Pearl Lusta.

Keeping the fireplace arch was important for achieving the authentic look that Kathy was after. She also kept the existing wooden mantle to retain the authentically aged look. Wooden logs were chosen for their traditional look and to reference the other timber elements in the room.

fireplace, original fireplace, living room fireplace, lounge fireplace, brown lounge, taupe grey

The original arched surround was a key feature of the fireplace that the couple wanted to retain. The walls are in Resene Half Taupe Grey.

For the hearth tiles, Kathy repeated the quatrefoil pattern from the pressed tin ceiling. “This combined the colours of soft grey and white in the room, with the black of the fire frame.”

The wall surround was covered in a linen textured wallpaper in deep taupe grey with shadowing and metallic detail. “We chose to enhance and draw attention to the fire, mantle and abstract artwork to create a focal point in the room,” says Kathy. To get a similar look, try Resene Wallpaper Collection 20860 or go for a textured pattern from the Resene Paintables Wallpaper Collection and paint it any shade you’d like.

The living room makeover also included new curtains with sheers behind to add privacy, plush new carpet and walls repainted Resene Half Taupe Grey – a half tint of her favourite colour, Resene Karen Walker Taupe Grey, which was used in various softer strengths throughout the home. “I chose it as it tones well with the wallpaper and adds warmth in an earthy grey tone. It’s a strong yet soothing tone.”

fireplace, master bedroom, bedroom fireplace, brown bedroom, grey bedroom, renovation

The walls in Greg and Kathy’s master bedroom look warm and inviting in Resene Quarter Taupe Grey. For a similar look above the mantle, try Resene Wallpaper Collection E356203 and keep things nice and toasty with Escea DF700 with a River Stone fuel bed.

Kathy says that the biggest challenge for the project was the gas fireplaces, as it was a very involved process that required solutions to a number of different problems – if the fireplaces would actually fit in the existing cavities and how they would retain character using existing fire surround plates combined with the modern flat fascia on the gas fire – but it is also their favourite part of the result.

“We’re very pleased we invested in both fireplaces as they make the rooms so much more enjoyable to be in and change the look and feel of the rooms,” says Kathy.

For those looking to renovate their own character living spaces, Kathy recommends keeping the room colour scheme subdued and restful, adding personality and colour with artwork and accents – and to look to experts to help out with the trickiest parts.

renovation, house exterior, painted weatherboards, brown house, brown exterior, beige exterior

Kathy and Greg’s Dunedin villa. The weatherboards are painted Resene Sisal, the gable ends and corbels are painted Resene Stonewall, the deck is painted with Resene Walk-On in Resene Double Napa and the window frames and trims are in Resene Half Spanish White.

designer Kathy Chiles, Inspired Interiors
images Graham Warman​
special thanks to Escea

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Resene Alabaster

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Resene Double Napa

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Resene Half Pearl Lusta

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Resene Half Spanish White

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Resene Quarter Taupe Grey

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Resene Stonewall

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Resene Taupe Grey

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Resene Alabaster

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Resene Double Napa

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Resene Half Pearl Lusta

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Resene Half Spanish White

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Resene Quarter Taupe Grey

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