personalized gifts for kids How a new Queenstown homestead achieved an open and airy feel sofa pillow covers

Open and airy white spaces have been sketched in with black accents, rustic wood and touchable, organic accessories in this bright homestead in Queenstown Justine McLellan, owner of Kinsfolk online store and customs officer, Carrick...

Open and airy white spaces have been sketched in with black accents, rustic wood and touchable, organic accessories in this bright homestead in Queenstown

Justine McLellan, owner of Kinsfolk online store and customs officer, Carrick McLellan, operator of Sunrise Balloons, Fletcherpersonalized gifts for kids, 6, Carter, 4, and Milla, 9 months, plus dogs Buddy and Olly.

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Best lessons learned?Justine: Things never happen as quickly as you’d like. Expect delays and expect to make last-minute changes when things don’t go quite to plan or your tile supplier suddenly can’t provide you with what you’d had your heart set on.

What would you never do again?Put cream carpet in high-use areas like the children’s playroom and the hallway – especially with small children who love to play in the dirt.

Did you do any DIY?Carrick did all the preparation work for the outdoor concreting and the driveway. He also built our deck and fences.

Is there one thing you’d change about your home if you could? We feel our home is completely purpose-built for our family, but at some stage we’d like to extend the playroom/media room, especially once Milla is old enough to play in there too. During the design process our roofline changed slightly and I didn’t notice that there was room to have a bigger play area so it would be nice to extend it.

What is the most memorable experience you’ve had in your home?Being able to have a blank canvas that I could decorate and design myself was amazing. I love what we have been able to achieve in the children’s bedrooms and in our living space – it is our oasis, sitting amidst an incredible alpine landscape. The views we have feel like an extension of our home and we feel so lucky to be where we are. The sunsets are also pretty memorable, too.

How did your budget compare to your actual spend?Working closely with our building consultant, we were able to keep within budget for the most part. He was able to help us pull back in some areas so we could achieve things that were more important to us.

Where did you save or splurge?We opted for smaller bedrooms so we could use the floor space elsewhere. We splurged on two very large, marble-look tiles as a kitchen splashback, but then pulled back in areas like the bathroom where we stuck to a simple subway tile. We also splurged on the raw brass kitchen tap mixer but used inexpensive taps in our bathrooms. We spent more on the high roofline to create a sense of space and installed triangle windows at each end to capture the views east and west.

How did you keep track of costs?Our building consultant at Classic Builders kept us in the loop every step of the way, which was very reassuring.


The couple set their priorities early: practicality and views were paramount. They achieved this by designing a single living space including the kitchen, dining and living areas, which Justine calls the Long Room.


Justine prefers the natural materials of Nordic design.


A high-pitched ceiling and blond flooring add to the spacious feel of the long kitchen and living area.


Justine wanted a kitchen without clutter so plenty of shut-away storage ensures there’s a place for everything.


The kitchen boasts a large, walk-in pantry, as well as a big cupboard that Justine designed for power points, computers, files and the vacuum cleaner.


Justine has used textiles to add comfort in the form of sheepskins and soft, full curtains.


Justine has added a nature-inspired element to each room.


High windows bring extra natural light into the living areas at either end of the Long Room.


The floor plan also includes a main bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, plus two bedrooms for the three children.



Despite embracing a simple and neutral aesthetic, she ensured it was also cosy. “We used natural materials such as sheepskin and hide, and blond wood for a lived-in feel.”


Justine broke up her home’s pale interior with touches of soft blue, taupe and pink in the baby’s room.


Hard flooring in the living area gives way to carpet in the bedrooms fora comfort boost.




A simple black-and-white exterior blends perfectly with the interior.


The black cladding gives this new home a contemporary feel.



The understated style of the home leaves plenty of room for its stunning vistas.



Floor plan

View next gallery: This Wellington villa is the definition of old-meets-new View Gallery

Words by: Catherine Steel. Photography by: Kate Claridge.

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