Cute-as cottage with a surprising interior is the owner’s 17th renovation
While the pretty exterior of this cute little cottage in Freemans Bay, Auckland is enough to make you look twice, the interior will leave you speechless.
And that’s because owner Elaine Ferguson’s sense of design and her passion for bold art have transformed the interior into a veritable gallery of sculptures, paintings and antiques.
The cottage is Ferguson’s 17th renovation, and she did this one in less than two years, spending more than $400,000 in the process. And while it seems amazing that she would ever want to move on, Ferguson is about to list the property, because that’s what she does.
She fixes them and then itches for the next renovation, which appears to be a Ponsonby villa – she has already made an offer. Her cottage will go on sale on Wednesday July 20, but Ferguson, who is an estate agent with Ray White Ponsonby, will not handle the sale herself.
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Her amazing collection travels from house to house – somehow she always finds a place for everything. But she had disappointments.
“I was living in Christchurch at the time of the earthquakes and I lost a lot. It was quite devastating.
Ferguson also found it impossible to calculate the value of all the broken items, so he took a lump sum of $20,000 from the insurance company and quickly blew it up on a spectacular head sculpt. and shoulders by Christchurch artist Sam Harrison – one of many of his works in the house.
An oversized hand sculpture was found in Paris, and she found a matching foot online. Today, the sculpture lines every room in the house, and she has filled her very dark living room with portraits, including several by figurative artist Vicky Garden.
Ferguson says much of the renovation cannot be seen – it included renovating the house, replacing all the ceilings, adding heating and air conditioning, new dark stained oak flooring and a new chimney.
“There wasn’t really a working fireplace here, although it looked like there was in the pictures,” she says. “I added the whole fireplace and the new gas fireplace (which reproduces a wood fire).”
There’s a bold black and white palette throughout the home, with pops of gold and blue in the guest bedroom. The living room is painted black and the sofas and cushions are black. The lighting, from an old chandelier, is deliberately intimate and atmospheric.
Many of Ferguson’s items are antiques, including two Japanese figurines in glass cases that stand on antique black cabinets that happen to be exactly the same size – the serendipity seems to be very much present. The items all seem to have found the “perfect space” in every house she moved into.
A tall black shelf that runs along the hallway houses a spectacular collection of black Crown Lynn ceramics. Ferguson says she just keeps an eye out and adds to her collections when she spots something.
The kitchen features white cabinetry with paneled doors in keeping with the cottage vibe. A large skylight brings in lots of natural light. There is a second, more informal seating area next to the kitchen and dining table.
Narrow wooden stairs lead to the master bedroom and a second bathroom on the upper level. Here, the ceiling follows the gable of the roof, with exposed beams.
The third bedroom in the house is Ferguson’s office – a white painted room filled with white carvings, white lighting, a Phillipe Starck Ghost chair, and black flooring.
Items even make their way outside. Ferguson has created an idyllic outdoor entertaining space. The raised terrace leads to a lawn lined with hedges.
It all sounds hard to follow, but Ferguson has plans and is looking forward to renovation number 18.