Custom-made stools by Catherine David Designs
Tash McIntosh Moorman and Raoul McIntosh haven’t gone far in life – geographically, at least. Their home, a 1920s’ bungalow in Auckland’s Northcote Point, is over the back fence from the house in which McIntosh, 43, grew up. It’s also just a few minutes’ drive from the school the couple, who have been together for 26 years, attended in their teens.
The colour scheme of the living room and kitchen was inspired by the Greg Natale rug on the floor.
But step inside the house and it doesn’t look much like a suburban New Zealand home. “It has a bit of a glam-y, rock ‘n’ roll feel,” says McIntosh Moorman. She’s right; while elements of the décor, envisioned by the interior designer, are art deco-esque, other parts have a Moroccon ’70s’ or a Los Angeles’ luxe vibe. Together, they converge to create an interior full of sheen, print, pelts and gilt, roughed up with taxidermy, black accents and skulls.
“It’s an extreme version of my ‘look’,” says the 42-year-old owner of McIntosh Moorman Interior Design. “I’m a really textural designer. I love hides and a little bit of glamour: velvet, silk, leather and fur.”
Outdoor ottomans from Domo and throws from Citta design brighten an outdoor area
The designer and her husband, who share the home with their teenaged daughter, purchased the dwelling four years ago. It was in almost-original condition, thanks to the fact that it had remained in the hands of one family since it was built in 1927. There was an outhouse at the back of the large garden, a tiny bathroom inside and a small kitchen that had been installed in the 1940s. The carpet was moth-eaten and the ceiling beams were tobacco-stained. In the garden, fireplaces, a bath-tub and other detritus had been piled up and left to rust.
The pergola at the back of the house was built by the home-owner over a weekend. The outdoor chairs are from Kartell
“The property had been on the market for a year and the owners wouldn’t sell to anyone,” McIntosh Moorman explains. “In the end, I wrote them a letter, saying we wouldn’t rip the house down and that it would be a family home and that worked.”
The pool area was the last part of the home to be completed. Towels by Citta design.
Minimal work was carried out on the house before the family moved in – wallpaper was removed, the front of the house was replastered, it was rewired and a proper bathroom was created – and then they lived in it, as it was, for a year. “Because we had to live in it for a year before we could afford to renovate, I became really inspired by the originality of the house,” says McIntosh Moorman. “It became about embracing its heritage rather than doing a great, big, modern renovation.” So, when phase two started in 2012, parts of the original architecture, such as the ceilings and architraves, were maintained. Any new joinery had to be wooden (to match the existing parts of the house) when a new kitchen and dining area was installed with floor-to-ceiling windows out to a new deck. And the interiors in the 160m², three-bedroomed home were conceived to match the house’s epoch too.
The silk bedspread in the master bedroom is from Pottery Barn
“It was time to furnish in keeping with what we thought the house deserved so we bought everything new,” says McIntosh Moorman. A 1920s-style, patterned Greg Natale rug was the starting point in the living room and has been complemented with a Mid Century Design chandelier, and a table and a couch from David Shaw. A Cole & Son art-deco wallpaper in the dining nook came from Icon Textiles.
A corner in the master bedroom.
The kitchen was completely reinvented and reoriented to look out onto the garden and pool. It manages to be as luxe as is the rest of the house, which isn’t easy in the most practical room in the house. “I wanted it to be about texture – tile, glass handles, Alba marble,” says McIntosh Moorman. “For the kitchen stools, I wanted something I wouldn’t see in everybody else’s kitchen. I wanted it to connect the kitchen with the living room. So, I contacted Catherine David Designs in Auckland [to custom-make high stools for the kitchen island]. Now everybody gathers there, at the island.”
The two bathrooms are monochromatic and expertly lit
The bathrooms are glamorous too, despite their utilitarian role. “I decided that I didn’t want them to be like anyone else’s bathrooms,” says McIntosh Moorman, who along with her three staff, works on residential and commercial projects from an office at the front of the garden. “It went back to the spaces having a heritage swing: a modern take on that 1920s’ feel. It’s all about it looking old but new.” That meant wallpaper in the bigger bathroom, which, in turn, meant having to devise a way to make it impervious to moisture (a Resene sealer did the trick).
The family who originally built the house in 1927 have been the only occupants up until it was purchased four years ago by McIntosh Moorman
In the master bedroom, Cole & Son wallpaper gives the room a touch of femininity, as do original leadlight windows with coloured glass. “It’s a southern room and a big room and I wanted it to be decorative, so we decided to keep it warm and pretty,” says McIntosh Moorman, who layered the bed with fabrics and textures in yellows and grey.
The impressive plantation-style garden and pool area was the most recent part of the renovation to be completed. “We’re very slow at the stuff that we do because everything is so carefully selected,” says McIntosh Moorman.” That’s true of the projects I do as well; I won’t buy for the sake of buying.”
The planting and landscaping is the sole purview of McIntosh, who has a painting business.
“My husband loves gardening and he spends endless weekends out there,” says McIntosh Moorman. “The cabbage tree is the only original piece left in the garden and we kept it because it was part of the history of the home. We’ve slowly planted. We saved and put the pool in.
“We both love what we’ve got here,” adds McIntosh Moorman. “It has endless potential; the views are incredible from our bedroom but, from the roof, they are amazing. Long term, we’d like to add another storey and perhaps create some garaging across the front of the section. But, at this point, it’s very comfortable.”
Photography by Samuel Hartnett