Retro Home

Retro Real Estate: Groovy 1960s Original

Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 | 0 comments

Retro Real Estate: Groovy 1960s Original

It doesn’t look like this cool retro architecturally designed house has been touched in 50 years.  Set on about an acre in the Whanganui suburb of St Johns Hill, it was designed and built by architect Don Wilson in 1960 for his family to live in, and it has stayed in the family as this is the first time it has been on the market.  It must be notable as it is listed here on the architecture archive website (PDF).

Check out the original lino, the built-in cupboards and the decorative details on both the outside and inside of the house.  Very 60s!  It has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and covers 260m2.

The Don Wilson house in Whanganui

The dining room with plywood detail

Love that lino!

It’s rateable value is $375,000 and it is for sale by tender, see more about it here.






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Mid-Century Styles of Homes

Posted by on Jul 15, 2013 | 0 comments

Mid-Century Styles of Homes

If you are interested in mid-century architecture, this article Roots of Style: Midcentury Styles Respond to Modern Life on Houzz is a great read.

Remodeling, decorating, and more ∨

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We’ve been looking at these styles of homes and I didn’t really understand the difference in styles.  I knew I likes modernised split-level homes with their vaulted ceilings.  The only problem with them is that they were mass produced so you might see four of the same style of home on the same street!

A split-level home we were interested in buying.


The vaulted ceiling in the living space.

I thought I would love ranch houses – and I did like them, but they weren’t my favourite style I saw.  They are mostly clad in brick here, which might be the reason I wasn’t overwhelmed.  But they do have great picture windows and usually a pretty big floorplan and are on flat sites.  We saw quite a few with all the original details still intact, which would have been fun to work with.

A long, low brick ranch house

We are house-sitting at the moment in a tradition-style midcentury house, and it is surprisingly nice.  I can see house you could update it to become a nice family home (it’s a rental and has had nothing done to it).  They tend to be smaller houses but this one works well as it has a great layout.  I hadn’t really thought to buy one of these, but I can see the attraction now I’ve lived in one.

In the end we were most attracted to the midcentury modern houses – but in Seattle they tended to be on unusual sites – cliff-top, in amongst the trees – not in places that were great for bringing up children!  We finally found one we loved and I’ll write about that house and our search later on.

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Retro Kitchen: Tala Cook’s Measure

Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 | 0 comments

Retro Kitchen: Tala Cook’s Measure

You know I love baking so I love Maisy & Grace’s vintage kitchen line Tala.  This retro cooks’ measure would be a great addition for any baker’s kitchen.  It has great retro looks, your normal cups and pint measures, and also measurements of most common products in grams and ounces.  So if you are making a quick batch of scones, you wouldn’t even need to pull out your kitchen scales.  I remember having something similar in our kitchen cupboards growing up – and Tala is an authentic vintage bakingware company as it’s been around since 1899.

You can see more about this measuring cup here.

Tala Cook’s Measure $28

The Best Traditional New Zealand Baking Recipe Book Series!

Ladies, a Plate: Traditional Home Baking

Ladies, a Plate: Traditional Home Baking

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Retro Real Estate: The One That Got Away

Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 | 0 comments

Retro Real Estate: The One That Got Away

Finally I have a few free moments to write.  In between moving and a toddler weaning off his day sleep, there haven’t been very many minutes to myself!

I spied this art deco tiny cottage for sale in the Saturday newspaper and it made me feel a bit nostalgic.  I used to part-own it, and in the middle of a messy breakup, was not able to keep it.  I always felt sad that I had to give it up.  And sure, I may not have kept it anyway being so tiny, but how else would I ever ever ever be able to own a house in Grey Lynn again?

Check her out here, she’s a cutie, although there aren’t many original features left. The listing price band they have her at is $700K+ though – I could have been rich!

My old tiny house

The new owners did a lovely job on the garden



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Retro Find: Gem Irons (with recipe!)

Posted by on Feb 3, 2013 | 1 comment

Retro Find: Gem Irons (with recipe!)

Well I’ve been trying to write a post for a month, but this damn house, this damn move and (mutter mutter) my child is weaning off his day sleeps – everything has been thwarting me!  But onto more interesting things – my favourite finds in the holidays (Happy New Year by the way!) were two gem irons.  Yes, I can now make ginger gems, and they were every bit as delicious as I remembered.  And why are they so delicious, you may ask.  I can answer that: because the recipe  includes a half cup of golden syrup for 16 gems!  That’s a lot of golden syrup, no wonder they are so yummy.

My first attempt at ginger gems

I got my irons on trade me – I had a sudden realisation that I would not be able to buy them in the US, so I needed them now.  And I whipped up my first batch immediately, sizzling away in the cast iron.  Irons do come up on Trade Me quite often, but make sure you get the cast iron ones, not the aluminium ones as they don’t do as good a job.  I found some aluminium gem irons at an op shop but they didn’t make great gems.  If you want new, you can also get  new gem irons for $70 (yikes!) at the Home Store here.

One of my new gem irons

This ginger gem recipe is from the recipe book Ladies, a Plate: The Collection - my sister gave it to me for Christmas and it is a wonderful reference for traditional New Zealand baking (I’ll do a full review later on).  I recommend it for any keen New Zealand baker.

Anyway here goes the recipe (just writing about it makes we want some, so I think I’ll make them again tomorrow):

150g Flour

50g Sugar

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

60 ml milk

1 egg

150g golden syrup (about 6 level tablespoons)

1 tbsp butter

And about 55 g extra butter for greasing the irons

Preheat the oven 230 degrees C.  Put the ungreased irons in the oven to heat just before mixing.

Sift the flour, sugar, spices and salt into a large bowl.

Dissolve the baking soda in the milk.

Whisk the egg until light and fluffy – about half a minute with a rotary hand beater (which I don’t have so I used my electric beater).

Heat the golden syrup gently in a small saucepan, then add the butter and stir to melt.

Now work quickly.  Tip the golden syrup into the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon – it will be quite dry.  Don’t try to combine it all, just tip in the egg, mix again briefly, then lastly add the milk.  Stir for a few seconds.  It will now be soft dropping consistency.  Set aside.

Take the gem irons out the oven and put on heatproof board. Drop about 1/2 tsp of butter into each space.  You don’t need to spread the butter, it will move up the sides when the mixture goes in.

Now take an ordinary tablespoon and spoon the mixture into each space.  If you let it drop from the side of the tablespoon it will fall neatly into place (makes 16 gems)

Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and brown.

Take out of the oven, leave for a few minutes, then tip out onto a rack.

Yum yum yum!


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Retro Real Estate: Art Deco in Titirangi

Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 | 0 comments

Retro Real Estate: Art Deco in Titirangi

After a lot of hard work we finally got our house on the market, so if you know anyone looking for a house to buy out our way, send them along to our open home!  We have a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 living, and a kitchen-dining area.  We also have a wee sleepout/studio as well.   It’s been a great house to live in – I can’t believe I’ve owned it for 9 years!  It’s taken me from having flatmates, to having tenants, to having a family here.  And you can walk to the village, which is a big bonus!

When I got it, the style was a mish-mash of 70s and 80s decorating, so we cleaned it up and now it’s a perfect backdrop for someone with eclectic style.  Sadly I lost a couple of arches that were framing the carport (Dad took one out by accident!), but otherwise I’ve tried to keep all the arches in the house (well except the brick arch in the kitchen).  It’s bright, light and warm as fully insulated with gas heating and a wood burner.

Sadly it doesn’t come with all my wonderful retro prints!

It’s for sale by negotiation as I hate house auctions – too stressful – with a CV of $485,000.  Check it out here.

Our Art Deco house is for sale 

The kitchen/dining room – minus the brick arch!


The downstairs living room – can you spot my Lynch?

We’ll be sad to say good-bye

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