Island Bay House: Design Decisions

Last month we introduced you to our new house build project, Island Bay House. In this instalment, we thought we’d dive into some of the big design decisions that have really guided our project – and how we made them.


All great design projects must start with a killer moodboard. Set the tone with a colour palette, textures and key details you love. Read about how we created the Island Bay House moodboards over on our build journal.


it starts with stone

Inspired by the wonderful rock and clay cliffs at our local beach, as well as our love for 70s house design, we decided that a very textured and rough cut stone would be a prominent part of our design for both exterior and interior. 

We have chosen to have a split face Travertine wall that carries from the outside of the house and extends right through the length of the house on the base level. This wall is going to be a major feature, and has become my starting point to help determine colour palettes and other material selections within the home. 

finding our feet

The floors being one of the largest areas to cover, this was our next pressing design decision. 

Teaming up with Vidaspace, we quickly realised that the best flooring for the main areas of our house was an engineered timber flooring rather than solid timber. Engineered timber is a harder wearing option and won’t mark, shrink or warp like solid timber does, especially in New Zealand humid climates. We have chosen a warm oak flooring called ‘Allevard Pureplank’.

For the bedrooms, we went backwards and forwards for a while on whether we continue on with hardwood flooring, or do we have a soft and luxurious carpet? After much discussion, we decided that bedrooms are the most comfortable when you have cosy carpet underfoot. So we have chosen a lovely Cavalier Bremworth luxurious loose pile carpet called Galet for these rooms.

the right white

As our home is nestled in the tree tops, we’re surrounded by some beautiful scenery and we want our view to be a hero of the house. So when it comes to the paint colours, it was important to us to keep it light and neutral. I have so many Dulux favourites… so, how do you choose the right white? Read our journal for our thoughts on this difficult decision!


the tile hunt

Not many people know this, but I am secretly obsessed with tiles! I collect them, I search high and low for new styles and designs, I have numerous Pinterest boards dedicated to tiles, and ever since we knew this house was to be built, I started searching for my ultimate tile.

I think tiles can become one of the main design features within a home, especially in the kitchen, so are therefore a very fundamental design decision and should 

be considered before even getting into designing these key areas.

I sadly feel that New Zealand has a very dated range of tiles across the main retailers and I have truly struggled to find my ultimate tiles for this house. I have always wanted to make a statement with some wild patterned tiles in our bathrooms or kitchen, so I have found just over the ditch in Australia some amazing retailers with wide ranges of tiles that I just needed! We just had to fork out a hefty sum to freight them over, so we have had to keep the tiled areas to a minimum.

Can't wait to reveal our final tile decisions soon!


Head over to you project website and Instagram to follow our progress, whether you’re looking for building inspiration or just interested to see what our little family is up to, you may just learn a thing or two along the way with us. 

read our journal
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