Updated: 2019-09-17 Views: 80
With lashings of pink and a certain je ne sais quoi， this perfectly petite Mt Maunganui home reflects its owner’；s new ‘；girl power’； chapter？
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Julie Duncan， owner of floristry and antiques store Myrrh.
Learning to live in a small space is a bit like remembering how to ride a bike， thinks Julie Duncan. In both cases there have been a few wobbles and a little discomfort. Then some necessary adjustments， followed by a rapidly growing， gleeful sense of freedom.
The pharmacy owner-turned-florist bought an old-fashioned bike immediately after acquiring her tiny house on a back section two streets from Mt Maunganui’s coastal playground. The cottage was supposed to be an occasional bolthole， a practical stopping-off point closer to youngest son Liam’s boarding school in Cambridge and an escape from multiple business and social commitments in Opotiki. But Julie became smitten with the lifestyleboudoir pillow cases， discovering cafes and shops， movie theatres and a glorious beach within walking or cycling distance. Following an amicable marriage break-up， the holiday home became her permanent abode and the bike her favourite transport mode.
The first rule is？declutter， declutter， declutter.
Live simply？– shop less and only buy if it is useful or it is absolutely beautiful.
Buy food often，？in small quantities. And buy it fresh.
Words by： Sue Hoffart. Photography by： Rachel Dobbs.
The cottage was supposed to be an occasional bolthole but became a permanent residence as Julie fell in love with the lifestyle.
Flowers and books from Julie’s shop， Myrrh， sit on a zinc-topped wooden table from Zinc Plus in Wellington.
The antique French chairs， which were found in a store in Tauranga， were re-covered by Julie in Designers Guild silk.
Julie found her words of inspiration (by Elmore Leonard， from his novel Out of Sight) in a magazine and had a sign shop print them onto a transfer for the wall.
Julie says her grandkids love to come and stay because her home is “；a bit like a big doll’；s house”；.
When she bought the cottage， it sported black beams and dark furniture， but Julie prefers a lighter， more modern look mixed with a bit of grunge.
While Julie loves the butler’s sink in her new tongue-and-groove kitchen， she admits the white ceramic surface shows every mark.
An old apothecary’s mortar and pestle sits alongside a Tony Sly ceramic bowl and a vintage French bowl from Myrrh.
Light filters through loose-weave linen curtains (from The Importer) into the dining area.
The beams were painted white and the house filled with far less sombre belongings.
Juliefostered a deliberately romantic vibe with comfortable beds， good bedlinen and a pair of wrought-iron chairs on the upstairs balcony.
Julie opened a shop selling cut flowers and antiques and filled it with crystal and other treasures she couldn’t keep at home.
Simple white walls frame a deliciously feminine ensemble of ？glassware.
Tiaras， beads， jewellery-stuffed trinket boxes and a beautiful antique dome and crucifix beg for closer inspection in one of the bedrooms.
France rules in the two upstairs bedrooms， with their French flax linen and cushion covers made from old French tea towels.
Even the Ecoya candle is French Pear. The bedside table， lighting and bathroom cupboard are also French imports.
Madder &； Rouge cushions adorn the vintage wrought-iron chairs on the Juliet balcony off Julie’s upstairs bedroom.
A friend who practises feng shui advised Julie to paint the trim a soft pink， which makes a pretty contrast to the black.
“It’s not really a man’s house and anyone who’s taller than five foot four can’t really live in it，” she laughs. “I’m living quite a humble life， a smaller， semi-solitary life. And it’s all mine.”
When Julie bought the house， it was marketed as “The French Cottage” for its French oak floors and pint-sized， old-world charm.
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