16.12.2019

Our Spaces, Her Eye: A Chat with Photographer Michelle Weir


Julia Atkinson-Dunn captured this candid of Michelle Weir
photographing her vibrant Christchurch home 

NZ photographer Michelle Weir was the natural choice for photographer of my new coffee table book, Our Spaces: Contemporary NZ Interiors – she has a superb eye, a personal passion for architecture and interiors, understands that details are everything, and is THE most gracious, awesome human (with great taste in memes). Years ago when I left corporate life, I had a mission to ‘Do Good Work with Good People‘, and Michelle’s the personification of that phrase.

To put together the Our Spaces imagery, Michelle tripped around the country visiting scores of inspiring homes and home owners – I thought it would be cool to share some of Michelle’ highlights and ideas from the project with you!

A pared-back palette of earthy hues feels like visual meditation in Lucy Marr’s master

Sandra Kidd’s new-build beach house features a mid-century-inspired
credenza transformed into bathroom vanity

Sweet moments in Gem Adams’ daughters room – one of my personal
faves from Our Spaces, too. See more in the book!

What are some of the spaces that really resonated with you or were most memorable?

Sandra Kidd’s recently completed her new townhouse in Waihi Beach. I think she navigated the blending of a contemporary home with her love for mid-century furniture thoughtfully, including custom made vanities that feel like furniture in the bathrooms that reflects both styles.

Moving into her Titirangi home, Lucy Vincent Marr ignored current sentiment and instead embraced the dark timber beams and painted the walls a soft cream. Her pared back aesthetic and tonal colour palette along with the home being surrounded by bush, felt very serene, almost like escaping to a cabin in the woods. And her moody, textural ensuite was a big hit with me.

Gem Adam’s daughter’s bedroom was another memorable room. Thoughtfully renovated, Margot’s bedroom in its dark, dusky pink tone and Turkish floor rug felt both daring while comfortable and intimate, filled with a few baskets of toys, books and other objects that are important to both Mum and daughter.

Dreamy afternoon light in Homestyle editor Alice Lines’ living room

This statement slot window in interior architect Annique Heesen’s (Gezellig Interiors)
home makes a special feature of natural light

Light is obviously key to beautiful photography – but in what way is it important when designing or decorating a space?
Very important! But I would also add that spaces with great light, aren’t necessarily the spaces with the most, or largest openings. Careful placement of windows and doors is key to making the most of light where you want it at certain times of the day. Maybe it’s morning light in your bedroom when you rise, but late afternoon light in the kitchen, where you are preparing dinner.

I also consider the window furnishings to be very important, often acting as a diffuser, especially in NZ where we can have strong light. Most of my favourite images from Our Spaces have magical light.
You work from home – which was your favourite workspace, Michelle?
Ali McIntosh’s workspace in her Ponsonby apartment was flooded with soft morning light when I arrived, overlooking the tree tops of Western Park. I love to start work early, so found this outlook invigorating. Ali surrounds herself with objects and art that she has collected over the years, along with piles of books on the nearby table. I like to do that too, giving my mind small moments to wander and dream.

The home workspace of Ali Mcintosh – owner of one of our favourite homeware boutiques, Tessuti.

What do you think is key to something becoming an interior Moment?
I think ‘a moment’ is capturing the essence of a space by taking a closer look, whether it be a cosy window seat with light streaming in, or perhaps even a cluster of objects on a table or shelf etc. I think they’re often moments you experience in a space that make your heart dance a little, like Annique Heesen’s slippers in the sunlight, Lucy Marr’s melted candles on the sideboard, and our opening image of Claudia Zinzan (of Father Rabbit) guest bedroom window.

A few favourites from the Moments chapter in Our Spaces

As you travelled the country capturing these spaces, were there any common threads that you noticed?
Lots of these, but always with the home owner’s personal take on it, like the softening of crisp, white interiors with natural timbers, rattan, linens and greenery; or the revival of dining tables as a place to gather for the everyday tasks. I particularly appreciated how bathrooms are becoming spaces where you are encouraged to linger – Perhaps a response to the busy lives of our homeowners and the need of some self-care!

 

There’s still time to order my new coffee table book,  Our Spaces: Contemporary NZ Interiors and to receive it before Christmas. Order online here.

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