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Tamati

As he reclines on his leather couch, the doors thrown open to allow the early summer sun to come streaming through, Breakfast weather favourite Tamati Coffey sighs in satisfaction.

After two and a half years of living in a worn, dark space, he and his partner Tim Smith have a new house – and he has Twitter and a psychic to thank for it.

“Some of the decisions we were making were difficult, so I tweeted them,” laughs Tamati (31), who had the entire apartment in central Auckland gutted and renovated, only moving back in six weeks ago.

“I’ve got over 7000 followers, so when we couldn’t make a decision, like on the colour of the kitchen splashback, I asked Twitter and got hundreds of responses,” he says.

“It was like having all those people standing in your room, giving their opinions on which colour works best.”

When Tamati and Tim couldn’t agree on the colour – Tamati wanted avocado, while Tim preferred pale blue – they decided to take the majority verdict from Tamati’s Twitter poll. The winner was avocado.

“I know a lot of people think two opinions is enough, but it was a great way to get a consensus,” he says.

While Tamati admits there’s still a lot of settling in to do, he and Tim, his partner of four years, love their new space, which they share with their beloved dogs, Anzac and Ali.

“It does feel a bit weird. Everything’s changed,” he says.

“The old place was our little castle. This was like someone else’s space. We’re in the process of making it ours.”

The couple had to move out while every room in the apartment was stripped.

However, rather than enjoying the comforts of a hotel, they lived in a retirement village.

“When Tim first moved to New Zealand, he lived with this wonderful lady called Liz Dixon  – our second mum,” says Tamati.

“Tim asked if we could move in with her and she agreed. So we spent seven weeks at ‘the RV’ (retirement village), having Sunday morning breakfasts with the elderly ladies and watching the men play bowls.”

While there were few disagreements over the decorating, things did become strained at times.

“The vision for the house is very much both of ours and although we both love it now, we did have one ‘hmmmm’ moment,” Tamati recalls.

“Tim told me I could choose the paint colour, so I bought this lovely cream-yellow and we put the first coat on.

“That evening Tim came home from work and I knew he hated it. He walked around the place in silence, before finally admitting he wanted a change.”

Luckily, since they had only done one coat, it was easy to fix. But it did make Tamati realise if you make a wrong call when renovating, you’re stuck with it – “it’s too expensive to change!”

one call the pair don’t regret is the warm honey-coloured wooden floor, which happened thanks to a chance conversation with a psychic.

“I’d been to see this psychic and he picked up that I was thinking about having wooden floors,” says Tamati.

“A friend of ours had been insistent we go for a chocolate colour, but the psychic told me they would be honey.

“So I bought these ones and I love them. He was right.”

The couple have had their house warming and Tamati says it’s amazing how many people they fitted in a small space.

“There are actually a lot of places to sit – the deck, the sofa, cushions on the floor,” he says. “People perch everywhere!”

Now the house is complete, the couple have another event to focus on – their marriage.

“It’s been a crazy six months, sorting out the house and planning our wedding,” explains Tamati.

“They’re two of the most stressful times anyone can have and we’ve done them both together. But it’s been good.”

Although Tamati wouldn’t class himself as an expert, he says he now knows a lot more about renovation than he did.

“I didn’t know what joinery was six months ago,” he laughs.

“This is our home now and we love it.”

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