Editor's Letter: Treasure Boxes

Our editor ponders real and imaginary lives, and how to make a home.

Editor's Letter: Treasure Boxes

Our editor ponders real and imaginary lives, and how to make a home.

Anyone who knows me knows I am quite obsessed with real estate. For the better part of my adult life I’ve had too many Trade Me alerts, and I’m forever clicking through those handy little ads on major news websites to modernist masterpieces in Hawke’s Bay, or warehouse apartments in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. The algorithms, it’s fair to say, are utterly confused at this point about what I’m actually interested in.

So it’s somewhat surprising – not least to me – that we’ve owned precisely two houses and both of them are in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, the city of my birth and where I’ve spent 41 of my 43 years. Neither was anything close to a dream home.

The first was a total dog of a 1950s bach in Beach Haven that no one could understand the appeal of – including my now-wife, who was unlucky enough to move in there not long after we met. We renovated over five years, and I don’t think there was a surface that we didn’t redo, rebuild or replace in that time. The second is an equally daggy 1907 villa in the central city with a wonky floor and some strange small rooms. We may look at other houses, other dreams – but we don’t seem to take action very often.

There’s a good reason for that: despite the time and the pain involved with re-imagining houses and spaces, we can’t imagine moving into something that someone else made for them – or worse, moving into a space that wasn’t really thought about much at all.

It’s not even just about taste. It’s also about how you live, or rather, how you want to live. Making a home, wherever or whatever that is, is about creating the rhythms and patterns to your life. I firmly believe that it affects the way you think, and the way you feel.

We pride ourselves on publishing thoughtful, unique houses in Here, but the houses for this issue felt like something else. There is a strength to each, a singularity of purpose, a dedication to making something personal and bespoke that helps build your idea of what makes a good life.

Whether it’s the exuberance of colour in a renovation by Pac Studio to a villa owned by the same family for 40 years, or (possibly one of the more impressive undertakings we’ve seen in this magazine) turning an abandoned pool complex into a family home, the clients and designers have managed to make homes that don’t just reflect how the owners want them to look, but help them with the way they want to live.

They’re personal spaces – containers for living. I hope they help you make your own.


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