Bec Dowie, Auckland
Words by Yasmine Ganley
Images by Greta Van Der Star
Designer and mother, Bec Dowie lives with her family in a converted workshop in Clevedon, Auckland. Set in between a buffalo farm and native forest, the barn operates as both a living and working space from where Bec and her father Douglas run their business - Douglas & Bec - and lead a small team from conception to design and then to construction. The home enables a way of life that fuses family and business together that is not only inevitable, but is encouraged.
Tell us about your home and how you came to live here.
My mother was from the area, originally. And we built the barn through the business to use as a space to manufacture in. We were in Clevedon village, however, Douglas being Douglas, he loved his early morning starts, and we were ushered out due to noise with compressors going from 4am... I then thought I could convert the barn for us to live in, and we have been living happily here for 4 years now.
What is the favourite part of your home and how do you best enjoy it?
I love the setting.... We cannot be built out, the forest is amazing. I also really like the the gable roof and how high it is. I love your mixture of newly designed with heirloom pieces. How do you go about curating?
I was fortunate enough to have a mother and grandmother with beautiful taste... Mum passed away not very long ago so I love to have her antiques with me... I even cleaned the silver for the shoot - she would have been very pleased with me. These pieces, combined with my own work. I really like to live with my work, too, to make sure it works in the home. Do antique references come into your own design work?
Yes indeed... My mother and grandmother (and grandmother's sister) were very inspirational to me - some of my antiques were brought out from Britain centuries ago - I don't know if they are worth a penny, but I love them. You work with your father. Can you tell us how this partnership works on a daily basis from design to construction?
Yes Dad and I work very closely at the workshop together, my studio is there. We have a team of seven out here each day. I usually come up with ideas and then we all work out how to make it. Everyone contributes to making the best work we can. We have been working with one collection per year now. There really aren't any rules in this industry, so I like working with a story and having really good concept behind my work. I really enjoy my work environment.
How would you describe your Douglas & Bec offering in your own words?
It's always my intention to make something that will last and be of high quality. I intend for there to be a timeless quality to our work. We are different to most design studios as we also make the work ourselves. I feel this sets us apart, offering furniture and lighting with integrity.
We are different to most design studios as we also make the work ourselves.
How do you enjoy your local offerings?
Helen and Richard who own Clevedon Buffalo Cheese are my neighbours in life and at work. I regularly have buffalos scratching up against the wall outside my studio. We do a lot of swimming and are out on the water locally as we are 250m from Duders Beach. There is an abundance of locally grown herbs and produce available. I've also started riding again, which I have not done for at least 15 years.
Helen and Richard who own Clevedon Buffalo Cheese are my neighbours in life and at work. I regularly have buffalos scratching up against the wall outside my studio.Do you have any bedtime rituals? Always a hot shower and a crisp white nightie. I'm also a huge fan of an early night.
What does this summer hold for you and your family?
We are staying home for Christmas and then I'll go up north to the beach. Lots of time spent at the beach and on the boat.