Garden state Slowly but surely the Backyard of the character-filled Tauranga house has become as heart-felt as the home itself
Buying and renting
Sally Blockley remembers well the day in May 2013 when her home fantasy in Tauranga became fact.
She’d seen the house she now calls home but had not bothered going into the auction thinking it had been beyond her means. However, the house did not sell, as she found during a drive-by.
“I checked it out and within three minutes said for my mother,’That is my home’. I then got in the
She knew it would involve a fair bit of DIY but determined she was up for the challenge. It’s my very first house and my dream home, which is very rare. Most people buy to get on the property ladderwhereas I believe I might be here forever.”
Sally jokes that there’s even a ramp up to one of the doorways, ready for the zimmer frame. She rented it out initially for around three decades to save money for her renovations.
Sally tackled some essential sprucing up before renting the house out. And, most significantly this eager gardener assured she had planted her garden, giving it plenty of time to flourish before her move-in date. She arranged with her renters that once every 13 months she’d be on site for a tiled afternoon.
People in the neighbourhood called the home”The Chocolate Box”. (The chocolate brown paint and cream trimming have been replaced with chic grey with white). It was not pretty but Sally loved the hardwood flooring and outside space and may see its potential.
Sally identified several matters that needed care. Matters like holes in the inside doors, cupboards which didn’t close, a wobbly bathroom wall, wonky wooden blinds, curtains too short for windows, a back deck with holes underfoot along with a rotten shade fabric overhead, and chipped and flaking concrete paving.
Also needing to be treated was the kitchen. Sally called from the Kitchen Makeover group to remove the cupboard fronts and change them out from dark brown to white. A brand new stove additionally helped brighten up the distance.
A household working bee placed paid to things such as a lime green wall, together with Sally opting rather for plenty of white paint for a backdrop for her furniture, art and decor touches. White instantly made the home feel clean also, she says. The dark-hued petrol blue of Dulux Piha adds drama, however, in the primary bedroom, the workplace and the fire surround in the couch.
Sally handled the bathroom upgrade between tenants. That entailed pulling everything out and replacing the old with white marble floor-to-ceiling tiles, black finishing touches along with a wooden barn doorway. She loves how the deep rustic appearance of the door provides a Balinese influence to your toilet. The toilet was the final do-up task until she moved in.
“As for moving-in day, my backyard was done, and the home working bees done. I simply loved moving my stuff . I absolutely loved that. I pottered for days placing everything in the perfect spot.”
Plenty of pops of colour and a lot of retro and diverse touches feature in Sally’s home. The lounge alone includes many focus –
Grabbing decorative bits such as the Tretchikoff Green Lady print above the fire. Nearby, sitting beneath the buffet are figurines of The Madonna, and Pania of the Reef, alongside an older 8mm projector. The projector not only looks interesting as a design attribute, it’s used to uplight art, and to show movies on the pull-up display in the outside firepit area.
Sally likes collections of items and, a case in point, is that the older milk and cream bottles placed in a wire cage at the kitchen.
Recent additions to the decor are the rattan lightshades from the terrace area (accessed from both the dining room and lounge) and a large, egg-shaped one at the main bedroom.
“I like sitting outside in the gazebo and looking up into my bedroom at dusk. The amazing patterns that the lampshade throws out to the walls and ceiling are so pretty”.
Sally also loves a round Lucy G print known as Temptation that has pride-of-place in her hallway. It can be seen from her bedroom and waking up to the sunlight illuminating this piece of art is a true treat, ” she says.
Sally, the DIY queen
A skateboard, which she used for hauling a huge plant in the rear garden to the front when no one was around to help with heavy lifting.
Beautifying her home involved lots of outside attempt in addition to the inside makeover. This included major garden projects, replacement of boundary fencing, house painting, gazebo construction,
The creation of this flame pit seating place, along with the beautification of this terrace area out the back. Sally was heavily involved and is enormously grateful to her uncle Ken for masterminding items such as the gazebo project, and also her mum Lynette for being a working bee celebrity.
While she called a painter in to the exterior of the home, Sally painted the inside, the windows, stairs, ramps, terrace and stepping-stones leading to the front doorway.
Sally had clear strategies for her garden and says a subtropical theme was a no-brainer. I also have a small Palm Springs passion. I call the fire pit area, with its towering cacti,’Palm Springs Lane’. The remainder is subtropical,” she clarifies.
Sally also determined she wanted varying heights in her garden and a foundation shade of green with pops of color. Orange bird of heaven, clivia, blood lily blooms, bougainvillea and vireya are some of the plants offering those pops. Her bromeliads arrive in small and large dimensions, and a bird of heaven appreciates an extreme height advantage — among the first things implanted, it is currently beyond roof height. Staghorns develop on yucca — Sally’s attached them together with tent pegs. In among the succulents and other cacti in the flame pit area can be located the magnificence of the St Pedro cactus, with its trumpet-shaped, white, heavily-scented blossoms that last only 24 hours.
Longer lasting is that the weathering steel used as garden edging, as well as the Balinese gates that separate one element of their property from another, a steel screen highlighted by uplights, and the gazebo.