Emma Taylor visits artist Jane Hyder’s two-storey Karori house, which perfectly reflects the colourful and creative lives of its owners. Photography by Mark Tantrum.

Artistic haven

Jane is fond of archways in both their home and her art because of their reference to Renaissance and to heaven

Jane Hyder spots her signature pop of colour

The open-plan kitchen was a must for Jane and the family

Jane's use of lines and perspective flows from her garden to her artwork

The magnificent view was the clincher that sold the couple on this home

A collection of what inspires Jane: a Crown Lynn swan, her signature pop of colour, and one of her many books

jane likes to showcase art on the easel in the lounge to act as inspiration or simply a reminder of previous projects

The picture window looks out on jane's Italianate garden, and is framed by beautiful Spanish curtains

  • Jane is fond of arch­ways in both their home and her art because of their ref­er­ence to Renais­sance and to heaven

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.