June 17, 2019

Alice and Caleb of PEARSON PROJECTS are currently on a renovation road trip with their young family and have beautifully transformed a mudbrick cottage into a stunning home in Alexandra.

Tell us a little bit about your design business, ethos and where you are located in New Zealand?
We are home renovators who share our property journey through our brand Pearson + Projects. We use our own renovations as a tool to share advice, inspiration and ideas for others to use within their own homes and projects. From interior design decisions to managing a budget – we showcase about every detail of our real-life renovations. Though we are Aucklanders, we are currently on our Renovation Roadtrip. We are taking on a house renovation in towns in NZ where we would like to explore, the first stop has been Alexandra, Central Otago.

We love your project(s); can you tell us a little bit about it (them)?
We have now completed 9 renovations (in our 9 years of being married!). Our renovation projects are normally a simple 3 bedroom kiwi home that has been neglected and run down. We add as much value as we can on calculated and set budgets, attempting to do as much of the work ourselves. In each house we explore a different design style and add unique elements inspired by the house itself. We attempt to never do the same thing twice, it pushes our creativity and makes each project an adventure.

Our latest project on our Renovation Roadtrip “Charmer in Alexandra” was a 3 bedroom mudbrick cottage in need of a cosmetic makeover. To embrace the design within the house, we designed the house with a Farmhouse Style look, going for a earthy toned colour scheme and going bold in the kitchen with dark green cabinetry. We renovated the house over six months while living there with our two children, Alek 4 and Mika 3.

What are your considerations when looking for lighting?
Lighting has always been a key element to our interior design, certainly not an afterthought. With lighting being in the centre of a room – it is always an opportunity to make an impact and complete the overall design style you are creating.

In bedrooms, I select a different pendant for each room to create a unique look. With pendants my rule is – the biggest option possible for the space! And when it comes to the budget – I do allocate a decent amount for my lighting – for me it is a priority and worth the investment.

How do you think lighting improves a space?
In terms of design – lighting does wonders. In our hallway for example, we have a very tradition and character filled space with 3.3m high walls. I added two large glass pendants that instantly modernized the space and black details added contrast against the strong white and light green walls. Without fail, everyone who comes into the hallway mentions the pendants, this is the power of lighting, done well, it becomes the element of the space that brings all the design together.

Lighting creates ambience, adds light, brings texture and colour to a space.

What where the restrictions for your project and how did you overcome them?
The biggest restriction in this renovation was the mudbrick walls which meant we had to work with the electrical layout we had. We couldn’t add any extra wall lights and all of our light switches were pull cords from the ceiling. The pendants we added needed to still have a traditional or vintage look and feel to keep the farmhouse style and embrace the older elements of the house. We did that by selecting products from Mr Ralph that gave us this look.

How did you approach the colour palette, materials and fittings?
This house was inspired by the texture and colours of nature, then gave a slightly modern influence with some black and white accents. I selected colours you would see in a landscape and textures like wooden and linen that felt earthy. And this was the overall colour scheme and design aesthetic, each room had it’s own unique look. For example, the kids bedroom has a whimsical vintage look so we added a white vintage metal pendant. The soft white popped against the Resene “Sand” on the walls and the pendant style suited the other décor elements to the room.