These high school sweethearts have created a home that’s sleek and smart.
The couplecanvas throw pillow covers
These two were made for The Block NZ. Maree， 27， is an event manager， and James， 28， is a property valuer. They love modern aesthetics， and Pasifika motifs such as tapa mats and wood carvings.
“We’ve taken a lot of risks， which is me coming through – I’m not afraid to challenge myself in the colours we’ve used，” says Maree. “James has more of a sophisticated， modernpillow covers solid， clean look. Not that he looks sophisticated!”
The big picture
Clean， modern and sophisticated were the qualities Maree and James had in mind when renovating.
“Considering the area we’re in， we wanted to keep things quite natural to
give it a resort feel，” says Maree.
The couple offset industrial fixtures with stone and cement， and used textured timber throughout the house to create a sense of flow.
“We’re quite relaxed people and we wanted to reflect that in the space，” says James. “We want people to instantly feel comfortable when they walk in.”
Even so， they weren’t scared to incorporate a few bold features. Although they were worried a mirrored splashback in the kitchen might look a bit “carnival” Maree says they’re thrilled with the way it adds a luxurious touch， and brings in more light.
The finishing touches
Maree and James have a clean， crisp style dubbed ‘Polished Pasifika’ by the judges. They love to choose a signature colour for each room and use vibrant statement pieces as accents.
But if the couple seem fearless， they had a foolproof method for making crucial decisions.“You’ve got to trust yourself and go with your gut，” says Maree.
James agrees. “A few times Maree would come up with ideas， like with the dark teen’s room， which I wasn’t sure about. She had to convince me. But it really pays off if you go with that initial feeling.”
Words by： Rebecca Barry HillPhotography by： Scott McAulayInterior Designer： Maree &； James
Maree and James’ custom-painted dresser inspired their colour choices. Bronze and brass vase from Freedom， print from Collected.
Striking mustard/gold and grey curtains from Freedom light up the room. Duvet from Spotlight， cushions from Beach House， X light and wire hanger from Collected.
Teen’s bedroom： Maree knew she wanted at least one dark room in the house， and a space to play with her love of bold colour. “We wanted it to be moody but relaxed， a room you wouldn’t be ashamed to bring friends back to.”
Geometric shapes in this tiger print from Collected complement the Beach House cushions
Vases from Farmers and Freedom and a stainless steel Breville mixer brighten this functional area.
Kitchen & dining： “We wanted to keep things sleek with a touch of luxe，” says Maree， who chose a vibrant Flox decal from Your Decal Shop for the wall. “The colour gives it personality.” Fruit bowl from Farmers， vase from Freedom.White light fittings are offset by Dulux ‘Cadrona ？’ on the walls
Maree & James： A nautical theme made sense with Pt Chevalier beach just down the road. Clock from Freedom， desk items from The Warehouse.
Maree & James： Mismatched stripes add to the playfulness of this young wayfarer’s room. Maree made the headboard， curtains from Freedom， anchor art from Collected， rug from Bunnings.
Child’s bedroom： The architectural plans didn’t call for a kid’s room but the couple were determined to find a home for the boat desk they built during one of The Block NZ’s challenges. “We wanted to keep it clean and fresh，” says Maree， of the room’s summery feel.
A wooden corner table provides a restful space for ornaments. Glass vase and hour glass from The Design Store.”
Media room： A truly “smart house”， an iPad controls the TV， lights and alarm system. Audio systems will also be installed throughout the house. “It’s all about technology these days，” says Maree. A cement hearth fireplace adds modern chic to this cosy space.
This deep white Villeroy & Boch bath and toilet offset the tiles beautifully.
Bathroom： James recommends staggering tradespeople when working on a smaller space， such as the bathroom. “It’s important to plan everything so they’re not overlapping and climbing all over each other，” he says. Grohe basin， Luxaflex blind， Franklin bath spout， toilet roll holder and towel rail.
Garage： Where are the boys？ No doubt in this ultimate man cave， complete with ceiling-mounted bike rack to maximise space， a GSS tool rack from Bunnings， some handy shelving for storage and a stainless steel Haier beer fridge.
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