HOME: Deco splash in Hamilton

Walk through Renee Verdon's house and you'll find little touches of Hollywood's hey day era in every corner.

A bone and red Art Deco lounge suite from one of Renee's relatives - a prized possession which previously had plastic on it its whole life takes centrestage in the living area.

Next to it a soda bottle adorns a side table, while green glassware and a round bevel-edged mirror top the fireplace.

A cocktail cabinet rescued from The Salvation Army when she was 18 sits close by.

The influential visual arts design style known as Art Deco is what she and fiancee Darren Probert are using as the principal design element throughout their Hamilton home.

It's an interesting choice given the two-storey timber terrace house itself is from an earlier time period, circa 1895.

Previously two flats, the house had two other owners in its history when Renee and Darren bought it just 12 months ago after looking around for more than four months.

"We only looked at it once before buying it and couldn't remember what it was like. We just had that feel it was the right place for us - it was more that intuitive knowing," Renee says.

They love the freestanding house now because of its ambience.

"This for me is the most calming house I have ever been in and I don't know what it is about it, as soon as you walk in you just feel relaxed," she says.

" I think that is what attracted us to it."

In a short space of time they have made a number of significant changes, while very conscious of the need to preserve the integrity of the original design.

The changes have been to a 1970s extension at the rear of the house which houses the kitchen, dining and a lounge area.

The outdated timber country kitchen which was falling apart has been replaced with a bold design choice - glossy black cupboards and a black floral Florence Broadhurst design translated onto the splashback lit from underneath the wall cupboards.

It is very "Hollywood" and goes beautifully with the new cyprus pine floor that has been finished in glossy black japan which throws off green and purple hues depending on where the light hits it.

It's another classic reflective of the Art Deco era itself.

"A lot of people said to us don't do a black kitchen, but we probably both like something that is a bit different.

"Art Deco was that time of invention, in taking risks and that's why is hasn't dated, it has some beautiful pieces to it.

"We are not afraid of taking risks," Renee says.

The couple also love all that the Art Deco period represents - the quality of materials of that time and a period in time synonymous with rich colours, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation.

"I started collecting from about 20 years ago when I was in my late teens. That wasn't a throwaway time, people kept things, you knew you were getting quality.

"It's lovely to keep things that have been in the family and cherish them - that idea of things lasting and the beauty of design in older features, that suits both of us," she said.

The couple haven't changed the original part of the house though.

"I think we have to be careful to match the age of the house and not have too stark a contrast.

Over the next year, the couple plan to build a deck at the back to create an outdoor room and to renovate upstairs as time goes on, but for now it is one step at a time.

" I think the way that we will continue working is to put the elements of design that we like, which is Art Deco so that it flows through but that no one area will take over.

"It is about maintaining history and loved pieces, but also growing and making them contemporary in their placement and incorporation into a design scheme."

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