The 2022 Resene Colour Awards winner rewrote the rule book when it came to using bold, unapologetic colour without compromise. Awash in a world of plain white kitchens, Arna Marshall's fearless use of Resene Black paid off in all the right ways.
Softened by rattan pendant lights and creative wood panelling, the inky kitchen brings a depth of maturity to the new-build. It's as coy as the Mona Lisa portrait that takes pride of place on a wall across from the dining table – a secret smile that comes only from the triumphant use of colour.
Arna was thrilled with the result, although it gave her more than a few sleepless nights. "It's super-edgy and not at all dark because of our big skylights," she says. It's also balanced by the use of Resene Black White in the kitchen. Arna and her partner Dave were so fond of the shade that it now also features in their dining room and on internal doors, proving you can't have too much of a good thing.
After the thrill of that success, the adventure continued to the children's bedrooms, where colour continued to tug on the heartstrings. Resene Waiouru, a martial olive green, was the winner for daughter Willa's room, while Resene Rusty Nail, a dry lemon-tinged ochre, adds warmth to son Nash's space. "I wanted a unisex option so the kids could swap rooms if they wanted to," Arna explains.
These delightful hues complement a multitude of soft furnishing textures and shades, from pastel plaids to woven greys. "I love this deep army green," says Arna. "It works really well in Willa's room because it offsets all her pretty pink and pastel linen, so it's a little less girly and more edgy."
The three-quarter colour-blocked style is offset by the Resene Black White upper quarter to define the earthy pigments, elongating the space while still maintaining the cosy trappings of warm colour.
With such a fierce love of design, it's no surprise that Arna and her family are walking away with the coveted title and $5000 cash prize. "We're over the moon," Arna says, although she admits she hadn't given the competition much thought since she was the first finalist. "I was really thrilled and really surprised since all the other entrants were so cool too.
"Every time the new Your Home And Garden came out, I'd go straight to the back because I knew that was where they were announced – and every time,I thought, 'This could be tough.'"
Meanwhile, colour continues to define and dominate the Marshall family's domestic life. A large white wall in Arna's media room drives her mad "because it's so boring". Brainstorming is already underway for a street-artist friend to do a large mural to counteract the blank space.
Arna says, "We're thinking pretty seriously about getting him to do something edgy on that wall. You won't see it from the rest of the house, but if you enter that room, it'll be a real 'woah' moment."
As for the $5000 prize, Arna has more than a few ideas. "We'd really like to go to Rarotonga, but in saying that, our house is reasonably newish and a portion of it will definitely go towards finishing our landscaping," she laughs. "Plants are so expensive."
The dream would be an outdoor courtyard, complete with a pizza oven and maybe a built-in barbecue.
The Marshalls have ditched the rule book and Anya advises others to do the same. "If anyone else is thinking about colours and is nervous using colour, just go with your heart and do it because it's only paint. You can change it later."
That mentality allowed Arna to break the mould and have fun with the process.
"We really enjoyed playing with the colours and choosing because, as you know with Resene, there's like 50 million choices," she laughs. "Even if you think it's hideous two years down the track, it's quite an inexpensive change to make, so just do it – be bold!"
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