The clues to Nancy Martin’s radical colour scheme, in the house she built for herself in 1957, were found behind the old electrical outlets and in chipped kitchen cupboards when new owners Ann Shelton and Duncan Munro rewired the house in 2013.
Not content with decades of off-white on the surfaces, Shelton and Munro set to work to bring back Nancy’s original palette. They are now the winners of the top award in the 2020 Resene Total Colour Awards: The Nightingale Award.
The couple were fans of Nancy Martin, a free-thinking feminist before her time.
She commissioned Jewish emigré architect Frederick Ost to design her house which remains one of a handful of examples of his domestic architecture. Ost was Czechoslovakian and trained and worked in Vienna before escaping Europe and Nazism in 1940 with his wife, eventually arriving as refugees in New Zealand.
The new owners found the house was almost entirely unaltered from the day it was built. It had been repainted but light fittings, tapware, built-in speakers, lino flooring, pegboard walls were all as they would have been when new.
An extensive and quite radical palette of more than half a dozen different colours were revealed and the owners resolved to return their treasured house to Nancy Martin’s original colours.
Ann Shelton wrote in her entry: “We were motivated by a desire to retain and restore the original qualities of Nancy Martin’s house but now have the added benefit and joy of living in this unexpectedly playful and energising colour scheme.
“It took a long time and a lot of testpots to get the colours right. We were close but things still felt slightly off when, at the last minute, an Instagram post of our progress received a comment saying that in 1957 there was only one colour chart to choose from, BS2660.
“On the Saturday before the painters arrived, we found that BS2660 was still on Resene’s database and armed with this new information, we were able to confidently and precisely specify the required paint colours.”
The judges said: “A labour of absolute love, this project is lavished with era appropriate hues, selected with incredible care and attention to detail and placement. The palette honours the value of design, wrapping it with a charming sense of mellowness and restfulness. The rimu doors cleverly read as a neutral thread. This project reminds us all that history has so much to offer as inspiration for colour selections of today if we make the time to look back and learn.”
This project uses Resene Mexican Red, Resene Sea Mist, Resene Burning Sand, Resene Shadow Green, Resene Primrose, Resene Pearl Lusta, Resene Neptune, Resene Mist Grey and Resene Rose.
The Resene Total Colour Master Nightingale Award, named after the Nightingale family who founded and still run Resene today, recognises excellence in colour and paint use in New Zealand and Australia.
Hawke’s Bay Opera House wins runner-up gong
In second place overall, the Hawkes Bay Opera House Upgrade by Dave Pearson of DPA Architects Ltd was awarded the 2020 Resene Total Colour – Colour Master Nightingale Colour Maestro Award.
Hawke’s Bay Opera House, recently renamed Toitoi–Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre, is an exceptionally significant heritage building, one of the last surviving theatres in New Zealand designed by renowned theatre architect Henry Eli White.
Opened in October 1915, the cherished building was damaged during the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake. Following an outpouring of public support, Hastings District Council announced plans to strengthen and refurbish the building and commissioned DPA Architects Ltd in 2017.
The theatre’s elaborate proscenium arch, central columns, pressed metal ceiling panels and intricate plaster ornamentation to walls and ceilings have seen multiple colours adorn them throughout their first century.
The colours chosen by DPA to recreate the auditorium’s splendour were: Resene Vanquish, Resene Merlot, Resene Eighth Pearl Lusta, Resene Half Pearl Lusta, Resene Triple Pearl Lusta, Resene Gum Leaf, Resene Canterbury Clay, Resene Quarter Canterbury Clay, Resene Half Gum Leaf and Resene Carnaby Tan.
Point Wells Cricket Club wins the coveted Bright Spot Award
The Point Wells Cricket Club by Pac Studio has been awarded the 2020 Resene Total Colour Bright Spot Award. Architects from Pac Studio even designed the club’s game day flags, coat of arms and motto.
Reading the entry form brings a smile: ‘Point Wells Cricket Club doesn’t like cricket; no no, it loves It! P.W.C.C is not big, but it is giving its all, puffing its chest, standing tall and patiently waiting to host the Boxing Day test. It is a red peacock with an explosion of flags. The original brief of a shed was abandoned due to rain (and lack of ambition) and has been replaced by a joyous little folly dedicated to the game and all its absurdity.’
‘P.W.C.C was designed to cater for the long format of the game, with multiple refreshment breaks and long lunches in the sun. Nam amor ludere ludum, for the love of the game. Sweet as.’
The judges said: “A whimsical folly, this project just makes you smile. Drawing from the heritage of the sport reinvented in a quintessential kiwi vernacular, every element is touched with a sheer love of the game with local flourishes for good measure.”
Coloured red like the classic leather ball, Pac Studio chose these colours: Resene Pioneer Red, Resene Half Periglacial Blue and Resene Coast.
For all the winners see www.resene.co.nz/awardwinners