This week’s Spaces is dedicated entirely to Three Birds Renovations’ latest project. Chances are you already know about and follow this trio of boss design babes, but if not – lets digress from the pretty pictures for a moment.

Bonnie, Lana and Erin have been besties for 20 years and have seen each other through all the ups, downs and milestones of life, including becoming mums (nine kids between ’em!) and juggling busy careers. In 2014, in pursuit of a more fulfilling life, they took a leap of faith together to quit their jobs and create Three Birds Renovations. They wanted to work for themselves, work together, do something they loved with a passion, and have more family time. They started out by buying one property together, then renovated and flipped it… and now, five years later, they’ve completed 10 houses (including their own forever homes) and amassed a huge following. Yeah, half a million on Instagram, nbd, plus a thriving YouTube channel. They also now have an online course, The Reno School, and put out a book this year, too.

Anyway! Onto a few scenes from House 10, described as modern-Mediterranean-farmhouse, and possibly my personal favourite interior of this year so far… what say you?

Fave aspects of this kitchen: the super-duper-thick, light concrete bench tops; arched shelving niche (which cleverly hides plumbing pipes); that beautiful arched window framing; and the scullery with archway door. Too many arches? Nope, a Goldilocks amount.

I’ve always wanted a home with a circular window, and this house has a casual one in  THE LAUNDRY.
(also, in the light-filled grand entrance, head to the Three Birds blog to see more of that)

See more images and a full video of the kitchen and laundry here.

Guest bedroom and Toddler Hendrix’s cute-but-cool bedroom, see more images and a tour video here

More images and a video of this bathroom here

Adore this big open space, especially the way they’ve laid out the sofas (actually, one eight-piece modular sofa from Freedom Furniture), creating different zones of focus in the space, and acting as a divider between living and dining

I love the artwork throughout – all on a Mediterranean vacay tip, many are actually holiday images by the home owner, Sophie Bell.

Have just seen the house, Casa Campana, has its own Instagram and is available for shoots


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Ora Magazine

Ora is a new independent publication dedicated to the health and wellbeing of young New Zealanders. Yes, it was the magazine’s beautifully-considered art direction and atmospheric photography that first caught my attention… but when I learned that Ora’s young founder, Vic Smith, is actually an Intensive Care Nurse, I wanted to know more. What drives an emergency nurse to start a magazine?

Tell us a little more about yourself, Vic

I am 27 years old and based in beautiful Mount Maunganui. My partner and I have lived here for just over a year… we’re so happy to finally call the Mount home. Prior to this, I’ve travelled for work a lot, mostly between Australia and New Zealand, but also spent a year travelling Europe.

I work as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Tauranga Hospital… I’ve been nursing for over 6 years (while also completing Post-Grad study in Advanced Nursing) and I specialise in cardiology, emergency, and intensive care level nursing.

I switched to nursing part-time in January this year as the workload with the magazine increased, so now I balance both the magazine and my nursing work… I am incredibly passionate about both!

What is the driving passion behind Ora, and what is your vision for where you’d like Ora to go?

During my career, I have cared for numerous patients admitted with self-harm, attempted suicide, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and anxiety related conditions. About two years ago, I was working in an emergency department in Australia. I actually struggled mentally with the intensity and volume of the cases being admitted – it was one of the most eye-opening, hardest jobs of my life.

The magnitude of the gap we have in healthcare was obvious to me… we have such a strong focus on disease, illness and caring for people once they hit ‘rock bottom’. I felt a sense of helplessness, but I knew there must be something more we could be doing to prevent these conditions and illnesses from occurring in the first place.

I became increasingly passionate about researching and promoting positive and preventative health, and met and talked with so many inspiring New Zealanders working in various areas of wellbeing. But I struggled to find a publication or resource that brought all these voices together, particularly one not governed by advertising or paid endorsements.

My vision for Ora extends much further than purely a publication. My goal is to shift our current culture and feelings towards health – where it is not something you access when you feel ill or pain, but it’s something you strive for and build stronger every day.

I hope by producing a publication that focuses on positive wellbeing, with inspiring stories of various New Zealanders, this can inspire all of us to make positive changes within our own lives and promote our health and happiness for years to come.


Why a print magazine, as opposed to another business model?

A good print publication really allows us to pause, be in the moment, and to take in what we are seeing. Our goal is to invite our readers to take that moment for themselves, to leave each page feeling enriched and inspired.

For me Ora is more than just the valuable information inside… I want to create a feeling for the reader. We have given incredible consideration to every detail; from sourcing an environmentally-sustainable printing company, to deciding the grade and feel of the paper, the colour and tones on each page, the intentional use of white space within our articles, and the use of double-spread landscape images.

Tell us more about the journey to starting Ora. What sparked the idea, and how did you practically go about finding and creating the creative and editorial team, and getting the first issue off the ground? 

For just over a year, a good friend and I had been running a blog called The Holistic Health Hub, and while we had amazing positive feedback, I felt primarily being online wasn’t addressing the core issues I had been face-to-face with in my work. I wanted to create something that could really make a positive difference to the lives of others.

The idea sparked while sitting with my partner one day, as I realised a beautiful, honest and well-written publication could be the thing that begins to bridge the gap in our healthcare system.

With no experience in magazines it has been a steep learning curve! But I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many supportive friends and family, and I am always asking others for advice and feedback.

Our lead designer Cam Attwood (Afternoon Studio) has been incredible to work with. He grasped my vision for Ora perfectly and has been able to translate that into every design aspect of the Ora brand and magazine.

Initially I was conducting all the interviews and editing all the articles. This workload was huge and I was fortunate to have Laura Tuck of Tide Studio (now our Editorial Director) and Jordan Reid of J Photo & Co (our Chief Photographer) approach me in December 2018 to offer to help share the load. We also had Monique Hemmingson from Wilder join our team as Assistant Editor, and her knowledge and passion has been an incredible asset.

We launched our first issue in early March. Having only had the idea for Ora just over 6 months earlier, it felt incredible to see it come to life, and we’ve received tremendous amounts of positive feedback from the get-go.

What practises do you have for your own personal wellbeing?

With my nursing work I juggle frequent night shifts and 12-hour shifts. So I always have to be flexible, as no day or week is the same. I have learned I am terrible with sticking to a daily practices or routines!

I am however very aware of reflecting on how I am feeling within my body and mind. It is literally as easy as asking myself, ‘How does this make me feel?’, in any given situation. If it doesn’t fuel my positive wellbeing, I make choices and changes to ensure I am able to feel my best.

I have also practiced yoga since I was 18, and am forever developing and improving my practice. Personally I prefer to go to a class rather than practice in my own home, as I find I am able to access a deeper meditation and relaxation – Yin Yoga is perfect for this. I also love alternating my yoga practice with long walks, and intense cardio sessions. I think a balance of different types of exercise is incredibly important for both the body and the mind – some weeks I might practice yoga, some weeks I love pushing my body with more high intensity training, it all depends on how my mind and body are feeling.

Above all else, I make sure I surround myself with positive relationships and friendships. I’m becoming more and more mindful about how and who I spend my time with.

You’re currently working another job whilst building Ora – how do you give yourself work/life balance?

It has taken a few months, but I feel like I have finally created more balance. The nature of starting a new venture is that requires a lot of time and energy, but I’m thankful I now have an exceptional team beside me to manage the load.

I also feel fortunate to have the most loving and supportive partner who keeps me balanced. We regularly lock in date nights, where we will either make a simple meal together at home or go out and try a new dinner spot. Setting time aside has been crucial as we are both busy running our businesses, it can be easy for work time to creep into personal time.

Learning to switch off in the evening has been hugely important too. I’ve learnt to turn off email and social media notifications as it’s easy to be distracted and feel the need to reply to everyone immediately.

I also love to plan dates and weekend trips with friends and family in advance. Making sure I book time in for this has been crucial for my balance, and means I have something to look forward to after a busy day or week.

What is your personal favourite part of Issue 02, Resilience?

Issue 02 features some of the most incredible New Zealanders; from developing natural skincare in Whangarei Heads and saving bees in Auckland CBD to shaking up the beauty industry in Christchurch – its impossible to not feel moved or in awe of these amazing people and their stories!

I also loved hearing from Tom Hill on how he has used the craft of pottery to help him in his fight with his own health challenges, and I’m forever falling in love with Jordan’s breathtaking photographs – particularly her shoot at Cathedral Cove which accompany the tips and ideas for bouncing back with young NZ life coach Hayat Berkaoui.


Buy all issues of Ora online here   /    Follow Ora on Instagram   /   Find Ora Stockists 


Introducing Framefox – Easy Gallery Wall at your Place

Gallery walls are beautiful, but they’re just tricky and time-consuming enough to end up being that project you keep putting off. Deciding on a layout, finding the right sizes and styles of frames to buy, framing your images, and then getting the spacing and layout correct on your wall…  cue – never getting around to it.

Well, New Zealand brand Framefox have set out to completely streamline and simplify the process of getting a stylish gallery wall up at your place. Have a quick lookie at this 30-second video:

Using Framefox’s easy online tool, you just: choose a gallery layout (there are 8 layouts to choose from, to suit how many images you want to use and how large your wall is), choose the colour/style of frames you like best, then upload your images from your desktop (or straight from your phone or even Instagram). You’ll get to see a realistic image of how the finished gallery wall will look, too – and you can crop your images, add a filter, etc.

From there, Framefox will print and frame your images (top-quality frames, handmade here in New Zealand), and then send your ready-to-hang framed images to your door. Included in your kit is a true-to-size hanging template – genius idea. Tape it to your wall, and it guides you exactly where to hammer the nails (oh, and Framefox even include the nails for you!) Easy, super-stylish gallery wall… done!

If you’re not after a gallery wall, but just have one or two photos or an artwork you’ve been meaning for ages to frame, you might like to check out Framefox’s interactive framing service. Everything can be done online – choose from 21 different frames, in various sizes up to A1. Then upload a digital image – or, if you already have the photo or artwork at home, Framefox will actually send a courier to your place to pick it up.

In a busy life, Framefox is about saving time, simplifying life, and getting special moments off our phones and into our homes. It’s a yes from me.

This is a sponsored post. We only ever work with brands/businesses we think you’ll love, and get value from.



Photography Derek Swalwell

Quiet confidence and a masterful balance of warmth and heft in this cliff-perched coastal home by Rob Kennon Architects.
See more of the stunning Bluff House here.

I know, right? That timber archway French door. Send flowers for my funeral.  And what make these (and the other many archways in this home) even better, is that these are original architectural features from this many-decades-old Spanish Colonial Revival house, as opposed to being modern additions.

The kudos for this Spanish-style Californian home goes to Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors. (Amber not only runs an Interior Design studio, but also curates her own bricks and mortar retail store, Shoppe Amber Interiors, and has a brilliant lifestyle blog you could lose hours to).

OK, this is my absolute favourite room in this home. A shower ‘room’ with an arched glass door! Just inside that door is a marble bench, and you know how much I appreciate the ability to sit down in the shower. I also love the eclectic vernacular – Spanish tiles alongside marble,  the soft painterly artwork, weathered turkish rug and rustic timber and rattan stools…

Photography by Tessa Neustadt

 See loads more of this Spanish-Cali home here.

Photography by Thomas De Bruyne

Pared-back perfection. If I lived in the middle of a capital city, I’d want to come home to neutrals, too. I especially love the square kitchen island. Who said they had to be oblong? You can see more of this home, designed by Studio Niels, over at Est Living.

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