This year’s Auckland HomeShow was once again a showcase for all that is new and innovative for the indoors and outdoors. One of the underlying themes was ways to make home lifestyles and family living more sustainable. There was no shortage of eco-friendly products and information for anyone choosing this pathway.
Outdoor living is described by show organisers as the way of the future. Overseas trends are seeing new home builders and home renovators adding an entire ‘outdoor’ room to their home. It’s common to see fully integrated outdoor kitchens boasting a bar fridge, home entertainment system, outdoor cinema and surround-sound system, and a range of heating products.
Along with alfresco dining, the outdoors is being zoned with spaces for vegetable gardens, children’s play areas and adults’ retreats.
Described as a revolution in the gardening world, the edible garden staked its place at the show by demonstrating ways of retaining a pretty landscape using plants destined for the family dinner table.
Live chickens shared the show space with high-flying interior design ideas. The Green Urban Living stand featured a transportable chicken coop, showing that urban livestock, dubbed “green animals”, have their place. Chickens can rid the garden of insect pests and weeds while supplying fresh eggs for the family. And the Green Urban Living folk say they make great pets for children.
Children also had their place at the show. A business which started in the garage of a family home in Clevedon in 2003 was a Mecca for them with its play-house tower and built-in slide. PlayZone’s educational division was launched in 2006 and it is now a provider to schools as well.
Natural brush products are also in the children’s education market, for example a Te Pataka (food storage house) designed to bring real life to the curriculum.
Brustics, which specialises in natural solutions for privacy, fencing, shelter, shade and landscaping, presented its latest ideas at the show. Since introducing Australian brushwood fencing to New Zealand 15 years ago, it has added a range of locally-produced eucalyptus and woven tea tree and thatch roofing materials for garden studios, spas, pool houses and gazebos.
Its cabin range provides backyard options from sleep-outs, a guest room, kids’ room and music room, to sophisticated lifestyle activities such as a home office or even home theatre.
Introducing a little sophistication the 100 per cent Kiwi way was Christchurch designer Brad Crocker’s collection of stainless steel mirrors. His Freestyle mirrors are designed and custom-made for individual customers with paua and pearl insert options giving them a distinctly local look. He describes them as timeless pieces of functional art with the added feature of the use of a mirror.
Materials for the outdoors also contributed to the show’s sustainable theme. In a world of declining hardwood resources, mahogany decking from Wood Products International is promoted on the strength of being sourced from responsibly-managed and sustainably-harvested mahogany plantations in Fiji.
Backing up its claim, the company offers customers a letter from the Fijian Ministry of Fisheries and Forestry confirming the status of the mahogany forests. Another letter from the Fiji Department of the Environment confirms that Fijian mahogany is exempted from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
By no means an endangered species, mothers-in-law got their place in the sun at the show with a new spin by a company specialising in walk-in-baths. Simply open the door, walk in, sit down on the moulded upright seat and surround yourself with soothing water.
The Walk In Baths team says its project “all started with the mother-in-law, as many stories do. She’s an active lady in her early sixties, involved in walking, childcare and gardening. She even attends the gym.
“You can imagine how surprised we were to hear that she had stopped bathing because she found it hard to get in and out of the bath”.
She explained that as people get older they don’t have the strength in the upper arms to lever the body out of the bath “and your hips get stiff so you can’t get your legs underneath to push it off”.
So the company developed the walk-in bath catering for people of all ages who have to adapt their lifestyles to cater for reduced mobility. Lest anyone thinks the bath sounds purely functional, Walk In Baths provides the option of air-powered spa bubbles.