Bold take on a warm welcome

By Terry Lobb

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This entrance allows for privacy but doesn't compromise the open and airiness of the space.
This entrance allows for privacy but doesn't compromise the open and airiness of the space.

I have recently been described by someone who had only met me for a couple of hours as "bold and dynamic".

I rather like those words but I had never really thought about myself in those terms. Outgoing, creative, passionate and fun-loving are words that readily spring to mind.

"Bold" was probably used in the context of white-water rafting, sky-diving, kayaking and tramping - the adventurous side of my personality. In my day-to-day life I think of bold as a colour that stands out, demanding attention, or a bold pattern on a one-off piece of furniture.

"Dynamic" - this was probably in reference to my animated speech when talking about all of the above, and the changes that had taken place in my life.

Before Christmas, my mother and I had dinner with friends in a stunning setting overlooking Palmerston North. The house is architecturally designed for privacy, views and the sun, and this lovely home can never be built out as the owners, when subdividing, placed height restrictions on future builds.

It is private because of the design of the home, but also the location of the section and the way the property has been landscaped.

It is a large home that has rooms leading from one living space to another, including to the outside.

The three main living spaces form a "U" that is connected by a courtyard. The "internal" rooms lead to the courtyard and are lit by light wells, which bring a lovely, soft daylight into the rooms.

The main dining room is painted a rich, deep colour so at night the walls disappear to create the perfect space for either intimate dining or larger gatherings.

There appear to be a significant amount of light wells throughout the home, which allows for privacy at the entrance but doesn't compromise the open airiness of the space. Light wells are a great idea and many of the newer homes I work on are looking more and more at these. During the day they save on electricity and soften the natural light, leaving a warm and welcoming presence to areas that could be cold and uninviting.

The rooms in this lovely home are also well-proportioned with bulky inviting furniture, the sort that says, "come hither and rest for a while".

Each room has its own personality and is decorated in rich colours and embellished with treasured pieces of art and collectibles: some quirky, some traditional but perfect for where they are placed, and quite comfortable sitting side by side.

This home has an air of understated luxury - a little bit of country classic and a little bit of rustic. I think it is a combination of the bold colour and texture, and the more traditional pieces of furniture, that gives you that impression.

What makes a home welcoming? Is it the colour of the front door and the size? Is it the entrance as you step through the front door, or the people who reside with the structure? Or is it because it is an architecturally designed home or a two-bedroom cottage? I'll let you ponder that one.

The entrance and the way you approach a property is definitely important. The front door should always be well-defined. I often find that when visiting homes, I don't know which door to use. This particular home had good areas for parking with the entrance to the home clearly defined. The entrance door is an impressive tongue-and-groove wooden door on a wall with no windows.

The garages are off to the right and, because of the shape of the courtyard, the garage doors seem secondary, which is how it should be. Why do you want your guests to see your garage doors before they see the entrance to your home?

Once inside this home, you find yourself in a large entrance that other rooms lead off from. It's a beautiful, open space because of the light wells and the light colours used on the walls, and a more solid colour on the floor in tiles. It has the appearance of a rustic, welcoming feel. And beyond the entrance are bold, luscious colours - tempting and inviting and most welcoming.

To me, it is a combination of things that makes a home welcoming. Texture and colour go hand in hand; then comes positioning of the door and a ready smile when it is open. Then there is the space into which you step - light, airy and welcoming.

Terry Lobb is an interior/kitchen designer and personal colour and style consultant who takes a holistic approach to living spaces. Email or see

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