canvas throw pillow covers This French-country new-build will make you want to go wild with wallpaper sofa pillow covers

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This sprawling, single-storey new-build in Tauranga is anything but one-dimensional. Quality materials, heritage bones and personality-plus make this a stand-out family home

When moving from one new-build to another, homeowners often tend to replicate the favourite aspects of the house they are vacating. Not so Glen and Sara Stewart. The new house they now call home, sited down a quiet lane in Tauranga, bears no resemblance whatsoever to their previous house further up the highway in a rural setting.

baby pillow

“In fact,” says Sara, “we’ve done a complete flip aroundcanvas throw pillow covers, from a modern home in the country, to a villa-style home in the city.” New-build number one featured expanses of polished concrete floor, steel beams, glass and stainless steel. New-build number two, a sprawling single-storey with wings, features weatherboard, large verandas complete with fretwork, rustic and French-country touches, and a less- than-restrained approach to wall and window treatments.

Sara confesses to being “a little quirky” and is happy for her home to reflect that. Wallpaper is a fantastic way to express your individual taste and Sara has employed it to great effect. The design in the powder room and connecting hallway is a particular favourite.“It’s called ‘Topsy-Turvy’ and at first glance it’s like an old-fashioned floral in muted colours. But when you look closely, it’s got fish kissing birds, and jewels hanging from branches. I love that surprise element; how at first it looks very grown up and then it’s, ‘Oh wow!’”

Yes, she has been asked on numerous occasions how she got the butterfly wallpaper, in the master bedroom, past her husband. “Perhaps because it’s scientific-looking, rather than ‘pretty pretty’,” she muses.

Words by: Monique Balvert-O’Connor. Photography by: Angela Keoghan.


The Stewart family have plenty of love for the home they’ve cleverly and tastefully created in the Tauranga suburb of Bethlehem.



Sara Stewart (full-time mum and part-time accountant), Glen Stewart (engineer and business owner), Inara, 3, and Amira, 2.



Kitchen The clay brick feature wall is a favourite element – it divides the main entrance from the open-plan living zone. The bricks have been recycled and also feature in the outside courtyard and paving.




The pairing of timber and white paint is repeated on the kitchen island, although the ‘timber’ is actually compressed bamboo, as is the open shelving. Sara at her butler’s sink, which was another ‘must have’.



Sara and Glen initially had plans to paint the grey, dome-shaped, 1920s-style kitchen lights but decided instead to embrace their “knocked-about” look. While the formal lounge is used for watching TV, the family space off the kitchen is a popular spot during the course of the day for relaxing and sharing meals.


Inara’;s pale pink bedroom is just right for her as she’s a very girly girl, her mother says. Sara selected a subtle pink so it would still be appropriate as she grows.


The feature wallpaper in younger sister Amira’s bedroom – which people often think is a mural – provided the starting point for the rest of the decor.


The white wooden shutters (a feature of both girls’ rooms) feed light through from the sunny courtyard.



Sara’s parents made the bedhead which Sara and Glen then had upholstered.


There’s no need for magazines in this powder room! Sara says she can’t imagine ever tiring of the wallpaper, which reveals plenty of quirky details on close inspection.


The stand-alone bath in the ensuite was painted to match the vanity and the freestanding tap is a feature in itself.


View next gallery: How this Christchurch family built a stylish home in a new subdivision View Gallery

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