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'Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful' - William Morris.


This Redwood Forest retreat has taken inspiration from the famed British designer. The owners wanted to be challenged and did not want a white interior, though they wanted the design to endure.

Luscious, recoloured Morris wallpapers have been used here, and the green palette used for paint colours were pulled from these.

Materials and textures throughout the house impacted on colour choice. Both masculine through steel, granite, and plain colours, and feminine through features such as the curves of the wallpapers and teacups behind frosted glass played their part.


The homeowners have spent countless hours mountain biking in forests and had a farm which grew pine trees. The house, therefore, showcases warm timbers extensively. The palette is restful and rejuvenating, without being dull.  

Both key and accent colours were selected to reflect the owners’ personalities, and the art and family heirlooms which were important to them.

The placement of colours has regard to a man for whom mountain biking is such a passion he has continued ride even with a broken neck. Living with limited mobility and issues with his vision mean “his” colours have been placed around the home thoughtfully to allow maximum enjoyment.

The owners have chosen only art, photographs and possessions which have a personal connection to be on display in their house, harking back to Morris’ quote about beautiful things. There is a coat rack at the front door, a trumpet left behind by a much-loved father, and a dinner set sent out to New Zealand lovingly packed in suitcases and used every day.

Beautiful or useful. Words to live by.

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