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  • Dean work­ing at her desk, watched over by her Streis­and uni­corn por­trait by artist Daif King

I could write a nov­el about Anna Dean’s home.

People say that your home is a reflec­tion of your per­son­al­ity, and Dean’s sense of humour is pre­val­ent through her taste in fur­niture and art­work. She admits, “I’m the type of per­son that people know will love receiv­ing an old over­head pro­ject­or as a gift.” From brains hid­ing in the fruit bowl, to phal­lic-shaped bottle open­ers, there is con­stantly some­thing fun to dis­cov­er in Dean’s humble abode. She describes watch­ing vis­it­ors’ eyes wander the room while she talks to them, tak­ing everything in. And with decor such as crochet porn, ‘pris­on art’, a Streis­and uni­corn por­trait and licked-through pic­tures of Mark Wahl­berg hold­ing a snake, who wouldn’t stare?

Dean moved into the Lyall Bay apart­ment five years ago. It was built by Tim Rose of Havana Cof­fee and his part­ner Helen Smyth off their main house over a dec­ade ago. The prop­erty had been a mater­nity hos­pit­al for many years, until it was con­ver­ted into a retire­ment home in the 1970s. Dean believes that when build­ing the apart­ment Rose and his buddy Wal­ter were inspired by the con­struc­tion meth­ods used in boat­sheds. Rose and Smyth ori­gin­ally ren­ted the apart­ment out to friends, with one pre­vi­ous ten­ant, artist Sam­antha Far­quhar, cre­at­ing a beau­ti­ful mosa­ic on the deck. Now that Rose and Smyth have left Lyall Bay, Dean is extremely grate­ful that the new own­ers love the prop­erty just as much as she does and wanted to keep the apart­ment intact.

Dean hews to a simple philo­sophy when find­ing treas­ures to dec­or­ate her home. She says she’s not keen on fast fash­ion — regard­ing both cloth­ing and interi­ors — and avoids buy­ing any­thing new. She does, how­ever, strongly sup­port New Zea­l­and-made brands and emer­ging artists. “There is so much junk in the world already, why buy some­thing new when there is so much cool stuff to find?”

Dean describes the style of her home as “nos­tal­gic pop”, which fits the place per­fectly. She finds her treas­ures in places like op shops, land­fill shops, Trade Me, years of travel, and cre­ations made by artist­ic friends. Keep­ing an ear out for bar­gains such as the Enjoy Gal­lery ‘Buy 100’ sales is anoth­er great way she pur­chases art at afford­able prices.

Dean also uses the space as an office to run her own PR and pub­li­city busi­ness, which makes her sur­round­ings espe­cially import­ant. Plants and ter­rari­ums help lend the space a fresh and lively feel, while art pieces made and col­lec­ted from friends give the sense that her mates are always close by, even when she’s work­ing all the time. After pre­vi­ously liv­ing in places like Ori­ent­al Bay, Mt Cook and even Ber­lin, Dean found the move out to Lyall Bay nerve-rack­ing at first as she wasn’t used to liv­ing alone. Luck­ily for her, one of the best parts about Lyall Bay is the sense of com­munity that the area brings. There are always people out enjoy­ing the beach, rain or shine, and reg­u­lar ‘freel­ance Fri­day’ drinks with her fel­low self-employed friends are a great end to a busy week. And the next thing on Dean’s agenda? Find­ing more wall space.

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