Eloise Masters visits the flat of four young Wellingtonians and discovers that more goes into the making of a home than you might see at first glance. Photography by Mark Tantrum.

Collaboration home

Nestled amongst the trees, the house has great views of bustling Newtown

My Home Sunday 22 March 2015 Photo by Mark Tantrum | www.marktantrum.com

An artistic and eye-catching front door gives visitors a lasting first impression of the flat

My Home Sunday 22 March 2015 Photo by Mark Tantrum | www.marktantrum.com

Beth with cat Mickey, Kate, Sam and Rose enjoy a relaxed Sunday breakfast in their lounge

My Home Sunday 22 March 2015 Photo by Mark Tantrum | www.marktantrum.com

A healthy collection of vinyl records an a typewriter hint at Beth's creativity and affection for analogue

Vintage glass bottles and dried seedpods give Kate's windowsill a curiosity shop vibe

Beth's bedroom has a green view and a Japanese vibe, playing gallery to her impressive pinhole photography

My Home Sunday 22 March 2015 Photo by Mark Tantrum | www.marktantrum.com

A jar of fresh flowers and newspapers share the bench space where the girls cook and eat

Recycled bottles contain Beth's home-made beer brew - labelled "Swamped Lager" and "Balmoral IPA"

Hand-made bunting lines the window leading to the lush and generous vegetable garden outside

Both beth and Kate dabble in pottery, picking up old pieces from op-shops for inspiration

My Home Sunday 22 March 2015 Photo by Mark Tantrum | www.marktantrum.com

  • Nestled amongst the trees, the house has great views of bust­ling Newtown

Up amongst the nat­ive trees in a small corner of New­town, four Bal­mor­al Ter­race flat­mates are brew­ing cof­fee and pre­par­ing break­fast. Rose­mary Pat­ter­son, Kate McK­en­zie, Sam­antha Guil­len and Beth Hilton gath­er around the retro tiled cof­fee table. Some perch atop cush­ions on the car­pet, while oth­ers spread out on their mat­tress base-cum-couch as they dish up muesli, yoghurt and fresh blueberries.

It’s a pic­tur­esque scene, some­thing you ima­gine the most soph­ist­ic­ated people doing at 10am on a Sunday morn­ing. Like the house, the set­ting is effort­less and wel­com­ing. In the open-space lounge and kit­chen, it’s the small details that make the place invit­ing. Even on a gloomy day, the area is filled with light and warmth, thanks to earthy tones and soft lighting.

On the man­tel­piece sits the household’s envi­able pot­tery col­lec­tion, filled with mis­matched op-shopped mugs and plates of grey-blue, moss green and deep brown. In the fire­place, a group of salt lamps and tea lights have been scattered, and plans are made to set them aglow tonight.

It’s lucky the girls, who met through school (and through each oth­er), have very sim­il­ar styles. “People prob­ably think we’re a cult,” Kate jokes, “a short-haired, pot­tery-lov­ing, cat lady cult.”

How­ever, hav­ing such sim­il­ar tastes means every­one con­trib­utes some­thing of their own to the shelves, walls and table tops, and the rest of the house appre­ci­ates the input.

Beth admits her Japan­ese-inspired bed­room is where you are most likely to find her. Sur­pris­ingly, Sam pipes up and also expresses that Beth’s room is her favour­ite space in the house. A min­im­al­ist­ic haven of books, vin­tage kimonos and Beth’s own impress­ive pin­hole pho­to­graphy, it’s no sur­prise that this is their happy place.

Also evid­ent in the house is a love for nature, with fresh flowers on the kit­chen bench and dried bou­quets adorn­ing the walls. Rose enjoys spend­ing time in the spa­cious, sun-flooded back garden, where a fer­tile veget­able garden has been crafted.

Often someone will buy seeds, and no one else will know what they’re for. Then sud­denly we’ll have rain­bow car­rots! Oth­er times they won’t work out,” she says, point­ing to an imma­ture pump­kin on the win­dowsill, which came to an unfor­tu­nate end at the blades of a lawn­mower, “but that’s fine too.”

All four girls have very dif­fer­ent sched­ules, so although they grow their food togeth­er, it’s a priv­ilege when they find the time to cook col­lab­or­at­ively. Tonight, they’ve arranged to make home-made piz­zas and imme­di­ately set about organ­ising who will do what.

We’re sor­ted on the feta front.” says Rose.

I’ll make some more bases,” adds Kate.


Des­pite the small details and envi­able op-shop finds, it soon becomes clear that it’s not the pos­ses­sions that trans­form Bal­mor­al Ter­race from a house into a home; it’s the people. Every­one gets along so well it’s hard to ima­gine this house with any­thing oth­er than its dis­tinct pos­it­ive energy and laid-back vibe.

Either that or the house­hold cat, Mickey, acts as the string that ties every­one together.

He’s the heart and soul of the flat!” con­fesses Sam.

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