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.