Artist, interior designer, landscape designer, jewellery manufacturer, clothes designer and chef; Deb is the epitome of the rags to riches practitioner of the visual kind, masterly at transforming plain, functional objects and environments into ones that resonate age, beauty and ambience.
Deb’s small Hastings home – bought with husband Mark two years ago – is nestled among orchards and now packs a big surprise. When they first spotted the house, this architecture-free zone was initially uninspiring, but Deb’s artistic eye immediately saw its possibilities.
“I knew the way the light came into the rooms would be ideal for my painting and the building was as solid as a rock,” Deb says.
Mark – who doubles as the project builder and support crew – has helped facilitate the transformation from plain-duckling, box-like structure into one that oozes French chateau-style, although on a more humble scale.
The light that so captivated Deb was enhanced further when several windows were removed and five sets of French doors installed. The low ceilings and hardwood walls were given the heave-ho too.
While the transformation references Chateau style, the Bells’ budget wasn’t anywhere near as generous, and that’s when Deb’s creativity really took flight.
The most striking and ornate pieces in the home – the large, vivid green bookcase, the oversized mirrors leaning against walls, the grey fireplace and headboards – all look three centuries old, but are in fact only two years old.
The ambience and detail of the pieces comes courtesy of the mouldings section at Deb’s local hardware store. “I practically live in the place,” she says. And this is ample proof that an opulent, luxurious look doesn’t have to cost the earth.