Written by Jo Barrett
Photography by Isabelle Boyd
Anne puts you at ease. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and it soon becomes apparent that her love for her work comes from the heart.
Born in Ireland, Anne studied dress design and pattern making at night school in Dublin. The technical side of dress design and working with fabrics were what she loved most. She says this study was most likely the precursor to her future career.
In the late 1980s Anne moved to Los Angeles. It was here she met New Zealander Robin Boyd who she eventually married. They came to New Zealand on holiday and Anne says the peace and tranquillity was so enticing they took the plunge and moved to Auckland in 1994. A year later they bought their first home in Mt Albert.
“As a family with two growing daughters, we began to out-grow our home and we considered moving to a bigger house,” says Anne. “But we loved the location with its wide streets, family atmosphere and proximity to the central city, so we decided a full renovation and extension would be the best option - eight years on from the renovation there really is nothing we would change about the house.”
Anne was involved with every aspect of the renovation - it had such a huge influence on her, she enrolled into the Nanette Cameron School of Interior Design (NCSID) where she studied for two years. Following graduation, she worked with one of New Zealand’s largest kitchen design and manufacturing companies which really shaped her career.
Anne says, “I honed my skills with an emphasis on technical layout. I was fully involved in the kitchen design process, which included renovations and new builds, across a range of budgets. When many of my clients started requesting help with other areas of interior design, I knew it was time to go out on my own. Inside Story Interior Design was born.
“It’s brilliant working in this industry in Auckland. There is access to the best fabric houses, bathroom suppliers, flooring companies, furniture suppliers and kitchen manufacturers along with fantastic architects doing interesting and innovative design.”
A complete renovation with a blank canvas granting a free-hand to create is inspiring.
Anne says the real challenge is a renovation with restrictions, where you must work within the parameters of existing walls, plumbing and electrical points.
“I recently redesigned a kitchen in a beautiful home in Freeman’s Bay. The focus was to create more storage. However, I was limited with what I could design as the oven and fridge needed to remain in the same position.
“The most significant change I made to the space was rotating the kitchen island. This simple move completely changed the kitchen to a more interactive and communal space. The extra storage was created, and the kitchen felt and looked entirely new. It stopped being the kitchen in the house the clients had bought and became ‘their kitchen’.”
Anne likes to share professional ideas and work directly with architects when they are drafting the plans. “Sometimes it is just a matter of getting a few extra centimetres in a room to allow, for example, comfortable seating at the island bar in the kitchen,” she says.
Anne likes to work with recycled materials, she says they always carry a backstory.
Anne’s goal is to reuse and recycle existing materials where possible - like beautiful old bricks to build a barbeque area. She endeavours to source product locally and work with local companies and trades people.
With a family home, it’s important to minimise the toxins used in paint, carpets and other products. Anne’s first preference is to incorporate natural fabrics like linen and wool and use sustainable products where possible.
Certain areas of interior design can affect property value more than others. You want to spend your time and money on things that will add style and class to your home and attract all potential buyers.
Hiring the services of a good interior designer with a fresh eye can quickly identify the key changes needed when preparing a house for sale.
Homes don’t always need to be staged - often someone with experience in design can use your existing furniture in a different way to create a space that is more appealing to home buyers.
To those preparing to sell now, Anne recommends simple basic things you can do to add appeal and value. A declutter and removing personal items and a clean-up of the gardens will allow potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the property. A fresh coat of paint on interior walls is like having a spring clean. Don’t forget fresh flowers in the house, fluffy towels in the bathroom. And a spotless well-aired home with a stunning entrance adds appeal.
“Kitchens undoubtedly add the most value to your property,” explains Anne. “If your intention is to sell in four or five years, then buy quality appliances that you can enjoy, and they will be in good working order when you go to sell. Using beautiful materials like marble and brass will add to the finished look and give a hint of luxury.
“Bathrooms also add value - renovate them, it’s worth it. Keep the colours neutral, you can always add drama with brightly coloured towels. Plant now and things will have grown up well within five years. Invest in lighting - there is a huge range available at reasonable prices.”
“Move over minimalism, make way for maximalism.”
“Regardless of the scale or the reason for a renovation, to bring a home into line with latest trends, maximalism is in. It means use of marble, geometric patterns, layering spaces, one-off vintage pieces, statement walls in powder rooms, wall paper with big, bold patterns, and indoor plants.
She adds, “Natural fabrics like linen for drapes, carpet with character, and timber floors with a herringbone pattern all make bold statements. The colour trend is earthy tans, warm greys and greens, good old terracotta and darker hues - all invite a cosy heart-warming feeling.”
Inside Story Interior Design’s early work came from referrals and is now a busy full-time business. “I love working with like-minded people. There is nothing more fulfilling than getting a project at the early stages and working it through to the end.”