DIY extreme home rhine helps Taranaki homeowner heal

During the most difficult time in Arielle Mermin’s life, she discovered that turning a dilapidated former tenant into a new California-style home transformed her too.

The designer and surf enthusiast began the lengthy renovation of her Ōakura home in Taranaki the moment her father passed away, her husband filed for divorce, and she was forced to close her beloved bohemian clothing business at the height.

Holding her favorite California mug, Arielle Mermin stands outside the sewing studio in her Oakura home, where she makes items for her Mr. and Ms. Weekend label.  That's right, A "nap corner" a second-hand sofa sprinkled with sheepskin and kilim cushions has been created at the end of the hall;  the lantern pendant lamps come from Exotic Imports in Rotorua.

Brooke Lean / NZ Home and garden

Holding her favorite California mug, Arielle Mermin stands outside the sewing studio in her Oakura home, where she makes items for her Mr. and Ms. Weekend label. To the right, a “nap corner” was created at the end of the hall with a second-hand sofa sprinkled with sheepskin and kilim cushions; the lantern pendant lamps come from Exotic Imports in Rotorua.

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“I throw myself into a dilapidated 91-year-old shack [and] the acquisition of new skills not only built a home over my head, but rebuilt my life by rediscovering my creative heartbeat again during an incredibly difficult time from a mental standpoint, “says Arielle, who grew up in San Quentin , in Northern California.

The result is an airy home, with painted walls in Resene Half Alabaster, exposed hardwood floors, and redwood shelving and benches in the kitchen. It’s packed with earthy fabrics, ornate mirrors, and furniture.

The house is surrounded by a garden dotted with cacti and native New Zealand plants and no lawns. Behind a hedge of pink, white and red camellias, a cottage-like dorm doubles as Arielle’s sewing studio. “This used to be an old garage, which I had to gut completely.”

The house and garden were a mess of clutter when Arielle bought the property in 2016. “There was a 20cm sag in the ceiling because there were no supporting beams, the windows were all rotted and an insane amount of debris was left on the property. “

Arielle filled 30 garbage bags with garbage from the yard and under the house. “It was a landfill – we even found a buried sofa.”

People told her she was crazy to tackle the dilapidated house, but she saw a “California jewel” in the rough.

The house was built in Fitzroy, New Plymouth, in 1931 and moved to the coastal village of Ōakura in 1989. “Every time I talk to anyone about this house, they have a party here.” She was told that the smuggled alcohol was being sold by the property.

When Arielle began renovating the house, she sought help from experienced friends, whom she calls “the good uncles,” from her circle of surfers and her work in health and safety. “The only truly important asset is time. And the best time I spent was working side by side with my uncles, who patiently taught me the skills ”. Arielle felt like an apprentice: she learned to insulate, align walls, build bridges, beautify the garden, create redwood countertops and add shingles to the walls of the outdoor shower to create a work of art. She even renamed a cast iron bathtub on her own.

He began in the corridor, tearing the canvas and throwing a sarcasm that covered the walls. While she worked, she Arielle she discovered she was not alone. “I love wood, but it had the drill. The house was like Swiss cheese ». Every hole has been cured and filled, thanks to the information found on the internet: “Google is a beautiful thing”.

The refurbishment took seven years, and at times, he worked on it for up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week. “Every inch of this place has got their hands in it,” he says. “I am extremely proud of all this effort.”

Hard work was punctuated with trips to California to visit his mother Marie, who is of French descent. Arielle’s background is steeped in creativity. Marie is a weaver and stained glass artist and her American father, Richard, ran a mechanic business and played the clarinet in a Jewish klezmer band.

“My late father always believed it was important to get busy, to learn as much as possible while relying on yourself to achieve goals that seem impossible. There is a great chance of failure, but an even greater chance of learning. “

Arielle studied performing arts and evolutionary biology and ended up working in the art and wardrobe departments for the Los Angeles film and television industries. She once made musician Beck pinatas for her Summer Girl video. “She loved them so much that she kept them,” she says. “She was my first crush when I was 12”. That was also the age when she learned to sew and began collecting vintage clothes and fabrics.

In 2012, after making a wedding dress with 15 Battenberg lace table runners, she was invited to show her Californian-inspired hippie-chic collection, under the Arielle Mermin label, at New Zealand Fashion Week.

The business may have closed in 2017, but now it’s back to imagining, designing and sewing. “By renovating this house I was able to retrace my creative roots and the purpose of my life … after so many years of mental and creative lethargy.”

His latest venture, Mr. and Ms. Weekend, once again uses gathered vintage fabrics, this time to make hats, jackets and coats.

Not only does her brand celebrate the beauty of the past, but also her home, which is filled with found, recycled and reused treasures. “I always extend the life of old things and honor their history as much as possible,” says Arielle.

“Clothing should have the same regard. I really want my brand to encourage consumers to evaluate their relationship to what they buy, where it comes from, how it is disposed of, and to value unique items. Not mass-produced or mobile items of clothing with insane markups, made in a completely unsustainable way. “

Name the bathroom the best room in the house. Formerly two rooms, it features the original claw-footed tub and Indian carved pieces, including a huge mirror, lintel above the door, and a table containing a waka-shaped sink. At the end of the bathroom shower, a Thai mandala patterned wooden screen provides privacy.

“So many people come to my house and love it because it’s like nothing else they’ve seen. It’s not perfect, but I love it, ”says Arielle.

“This home has helped me heal from the loss of my parents, my marriage and my business, and it has given me the confidence to move forward with a new business.”

Questions and answers with Arielle Mermin

My furniture style is: Eclectic Californian surfer on a tight budget.

The best advice for decorating: Decorating is an absolute joy, so have fun and be yourself. At the end of the day, you are creating a space for yourself. Even if you plan on selling for a long time, give your home an atmosphere you like, so if you see something that catches your eye, do it – the room and house will evolve around those pieces.

Favorite Electric Tool: My multitool: it’s the must-have tool for any decorating need.

If there was one thing I would do differently: Initially, I had removed two trees that were at the back of the house which took all the light from the bedrooms. I just feel that if you can keep the trees – even though I’m growing an insane amount with the natives right now – then you keep the trees.

The first thing I do when I get home: Since I work from home I wash my wetsuit because that’s the only reason I typically leave the property.

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