Way up in the hills of Karori, with panoramic views of Wellington, sits the home of New Zealand artist Jane Hyder and her husband Andrew. With some artistic renovating, decorating and landscaping, the owners have created a slice of Italy, right here in Wellington.
FishHead visited Jane’s home on a typically dull Wellington day, but the tone changed immediately as we were welcomed inside. Bright pops of colour are seen all over the house, from the Designers Guild cushions to the Höglund glass objects and — most of all — the art that adorns the walls.
Jane is against everything being toned down and dreary, and it soon became obvious that these are two words you would never use to describe this home. “Like the pop of colour I wear, I want my house to be bright and colourful,” she says.
It is hard to believe that this house was once two run-down flats until Jane and her family stepped in ten years ago to do it up. “It was a lot of hard work,” she recalls. But with help from friends, and some European inspiration, it became the perfect home for a creative family.
“This house is a home for us because it has space for everyone,” says Jane. “We all have room to do the hobbies that we like. There is a studio for my daughter and myself, a workshop for my husband, and there is plenty of space for my son to play music.”
This spacious home is also perfect for entertaining, and from 21st birthday celebrations to wedding anniversaries, it has seen it all — even a celebratory bath full of champagne bottles.
This artistic family dates back many generations, with all of the strong women in Jane’s life acting as an influence on both her home and her art. “My mother was a self-taught designer,” she says. “She would be doing plans for another house on the dining table, and I would grab my pens and paints and join her.”
Reminders of their family are all around the home, from war medals that belonged to Andrew’s father and grandfather, to china that belonged to Jane’s mother and grandmother.
“I like to collect things that inspire me,” Jane says. Inspiration is scattered through every room, from the family heirlooms to countless books and images of their travels. “I was very inspired by Italy,” she recalls, and the proof of this can be found not only inside, but also outside the home.
The large Italianate garden features an archway and box hedging. The use of perspective and Renaissance references flows from Jane’s gardens to her artwork.
With the house a work of art in its own right, and the children all grown up, Jane can focus on her art and the adventures that 2015 will bring. With her studio at Toi Pōneke Arts Centre, her role as a judge for The Big Picture children’s art competition and as a committee member for the New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Jane has a busy year ahead. With all that going on, it’s hard to believe she still has time to work on the production of her art into 2016 diaries and calendars for customers in Wellington and the United Kingdom (through Thumbnail Media).
But thankfully after a busy day, Jane has her haven to retreat to. As she drinks tea from one her grandmother’s English china cups, she can put her feet up and enjoy her precious sea view.