It’s lucky Shelley Ferguson loves what she does because renovation, interior design and DIY permeate every part of her and her family’s life. As the editor of two lifestyle magazines and a host on this year's The Block NZ: Boys vs Girls, the mum-of-two is also in the midst of her most exciting project yet – doing up her own dream home.
Talk about loading a lot on her plate! “It does sound like I take on a lot, but I am at that stage now with the boys where we’re through those exhausting baby years,” tells Shelley.
“Flynn is four and Jett is three, so there are no nappies or daytime sleeps to worry about. It’s a new kind of freedom.”
Welcoming Woman’s Day into her new home on Auckland’s North Shore, Shelley – who’s being eagerly trailed by her cute blondies Flynn and Jett – can barely contain her excitement as she shows us the original ’60s features of her unique new abode.
She admits that buying a house was not on the agenda when she drove past a “for sale” sign several months ago, but with its mid-century architecture, bushy surrounds and swimming pool, she and husband Steve were sold.
“We were definitely not in the market for a new house,” she laughs. “But I saw the sign, pulled over and knew we had to have it. I rang Steve straight away and said, ‘Babe, we have a problem. I need to live in this house.’”
Several weeks later, they had bought the airy, light-filled home, sold their old abode and excitedly began preparations to create their perfect family pad. Fortunately for this gorgeous mum, Steve, also 36, is a dab hand at DIY and they’ve been spending their weekends stripping wallpaper and planning the project.
“We all get involved and we try to make it fun,” says Shelley. “The kids have their own little toolkits. They’re at that age where they just want to know what we’re doing
and whether they can help. We always like to let them have a go.”
Watch The Block teams finishing up their outdoor areas in the video below. Story continues.
While Shelley is boss of the interiors overhaul, which has started with new flooring and colour schemes, Flynn and Jett have been allowed to pick themes for their bedrooms.
“Flynn loves superheroes, so I’ll probably get some superhero-themed artworks and let him choose which one he likes best,” tells Shelley. “And Jett loves Thomas the Tank Engine, so I’ve found some cool wallpaper with vintage trains on it. I am not a fan of primary colours in kids’ rooms, but I’m happy to let them have a say. They need to love it like we do.”
Unsurprisingly, former Olympic kayaker Steve – who coaches the Piha Surf Life Saving team – is most excited about the big pool in the backyard.
“He is counting down to summer,” says Shelley. “It’s always been his dream to have a swimming pool and the boys are like their dad – they’re total water babies.”
Shelley says she’s loved every minute of hosting this year’s series of The Block, but with filming and auction night now over, Shelley has something else exciting to concentrate on – an upcoming European adventure. Steve is heading to Amsterdam as assistant coach of the New Zealand Surf Life Saving team, and he and Shelley decided it was too good an opportunity to miss. They are planning a much-deserved, child-free two-week holiday.
Leaving the boys with their doting grandparents, Shelley will jet out in September and spend three days in France with her best friend, shoe designer Kathryn Wilson, who will be in Europe for the Milan Shoe Fair. She will then meet Steve and head to Croatia.
“We have never left the boys before, so it is a big deal, but sometimes in life, you have to grab these chances. We’ll get home two weeks before Flynn starts school,
so it’s all quite exciting.”
And because interiors are never far from her mind, Shelley has tagged on a three- day visit to Copenhagen to indulge her love of Danish design. “That’s going to be dangerous,” she laughs. “But at least there’s a limit to how much I can bring home on the plane.”