Chooks in the Packhouse

Our New Zealand residence is a Packhouse. A Packhouse!


We have owned a large ornate villa situated on the banks of a beautiful river, we have owned a transitional villa and we have owned bungalows in expensive suburbs. We love character houses and more often than not, fall for houses that need serious renovating.

We have even owned a nondescript 1950’s house; yes, also in need of a reno. We did that one up with an industrial feel with lots of aluminium and commercial internal doors to inject character into no-character. Loved it.

Then, just because life is an adventure, throwing caution to the wind, we bought a Packhouse and started to renovate it; giving it a modest barn like feel. What a liberating exercise; no longer constrained by that little voice…you know the one…“think resale!” We didn’t need to worry about convention. We could just indulge in our whims.

We were not after high tech or a modern look. In fact, the more modest and comfortable we could make it the better. You know, like wearing that old loved jacket that has moulded comfortably into one’s own body shape. That’s what we were after.

We wanted to be off the grid as much as possible – tick …and make the whole thing an exercise in DIY on a strict budget – tick.

The challenge was exhilarating.

We bought brand new where we thought best – eg double glazed windows and loft carpet,

Did it ourselves where skilled – eg tiling, gib stopping,

bought second hand where it suited us – eg front door,


the kitchen NZ$190.00


and  re-purposed a coffee table to a pot-rack and…

and a narrow glass door and retro door knobs into a cloak-rack.


Best of all, we employed our 16-year-old daughter’s artistic talents.

You see, I loved the kitchen, but the corner glass cabinet was that 80’s/90’s peach colour!!!!

Two things transformed that, in my mind anyway, call it – terracotta and emphasis the point by using terracotta accessories followed by reducing the peach expanse.

It’s a Packhouse in the country and here was the perfect place to go for that farm-feel.

Give me chickens!!! After all, we had plenty of poultry outdoors.

1 – I painted a blackboard on one of the cupboard doors.


2 – had my daughter paint broody chickens on the two lower cupboard doors.

3 – glued chicken wire over the painting and framed the three cupboard doors with      varnished rimu trim.




I then rushed out and bought some thick woven material with checked chickens all over it. Hauled out my sewing machine and made draw curtains for the dining area window and a roman blind for the kitchen window. Finally with the remaining fabric sewed cushion covers for the dining room table chairs with hessian backs that matched the chocolate brown large tiles on the floor.

Those cupboards are a delight to me. Art comes in all forms and its success and delight is in the eye of the beholder.

Art! Don’t you just love it.

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