Sarah & Simon, Devonport NZ
Words by Yasmine Ganley
Images by Ophelia Mikkelson
Originally made up of two separate cottages, built in the 1850s and thought to be shipped over from the Coromandel, they were eventually connected by architect Malcolm Walker who worked closely with the couple to create a space that honoured its history and served a modern family. Today, the home is happily nestled between Simon's light-filled cedar studio, a thriving forty-year-old avocado tree and the street's original brick Fire Station. Sarah and Simon are full of energy, warmth and enthusiasm. Their home is evidence of the couple's love for and involvement in their local arts community, walls dotted in paintings, weavings and photographs, each with their own unique story, connection and placement.
Sarah and Simon are full of energy, warmth and enthusiasm. Their home is evidence of the couple's love for and involvement in their local arts community, walls dotted in paintings, weavings and photographs, each with their own unique story, connection and placement.
You have been in Devonport for over 30 years now, how do you enjoy your local community?
It has changed a lot over the years. When we came here in the mid 80's it was affordable, incredibly relaxed and still home to many artists and craftspeople. We obviously connected with that community, but when our children were born we also made friends among the Playcentre and School families. In recent years, I have joined a local cycling group who are a fabulously diverse bunch, but in keeping with the new Devonport, I am the only artist among them. Sarah teaches here so she has another whole group that she has close ties to. Such a wonderful art collection you have! Do you find yourself rotating pieces? Are there any works that are always up to enjoy?
We need to rotate them more often! There are too many wonderful pieces that haven't seen the light of day for a while. We also have a few 'treasures' that will always be up ___ my father's painting which graced the cover of his 1962 Peter McIntyre's New Zealand book, a classic John Reynolds' painting that he gave me for my 50th, a Hans Coper vase and the iconic trout photograph Peter Peryer gave me as I am a keen fly fisherman. Also in the mix are works by our daughter Emma, nephew Matthew McIntyre Wilson and my sister Sara McIntyre. They all bring us so much pleasure.
Can you tell us about each of your morning rituals, how you like to start your day?
We are coffee tragics so our fancy machine goes on first thing but we do try and get some early exercise three or four times a week ___ walking for Sarah, cycling for me. We love to share a long leisurely breakfast together in the weekends.
Are you night time readers? If so, which has been a stand out book for you lately?
Sarah currently has her head in Ask That Mountain' by Dick Scott, the story of Parihaka and I'm loving a book about LA artist Laura Owens which was a Christmas present from Emma. She has her own copy and over the summer holidays we had fun comparing notes.
This home has been your family home, even before your children arrived. Do you still practice any family traditions together?
Eating together has always been our special family time. These days we get to invite our young ones over for dinner, it's exciting for us and we always make an event out of it.
How are you planning on spending the next holidays?
That is an easy answer for us. We always head for our cottage on the Whakapapa River in the King Country. It's a beautiful, secluded place with no internet or phone coverage, so the perfect getaway. We love to picnic, explore, fish and have discovered some great mountain walks on Ruapehu. These alpine expeditions are usually followed by a glass of wine at the Chateau!