Q & A with Canterbury interior designer Madeleine Cassels

I co-own Teepee in The Tannery Arcade with my mother. We buy products we love and use ourselves and are generally made from natural fibres.

Describe your style?

My home was built in 1958, designed by architect George Fenton and we bought it from its original owner. It’s cedar-clad, split-level with lots of built-in furniture. It’s a very sunny, light and welcoming house with views of the estuary and sea. My style is understated, I try to keep it timeless. I like the idea of peeling back and keeping things simple. That’s always an uphill battle with small kids – more often than not it’s a merry shambles.

What inspires you about your region?

The Banks Peninsula is so close and so beautiful. We’ve been taking the kids out to the marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour and it feels Jurassic with its sheer cliffs and lush vegetation, great for spotting Hector’s dolphins and sea birds. Growing up, I lived across the road from Sumner Beach and we’d swim in the channels at low tide. A lot has changed over the years but geographically, it’s still magic to me.

Favourite room in the house and why?

Our kitchen, which we renovated recently. It’s so much more functional and in keeping with the era of our house. We used a black speckled Marmoleum on the floor, the cabinetry has an oak veneer and stainless top. We have a built-in dining area, which has lovely views.

What’s the last thing you bought for your home?

Some beautiful Japanese ceramic bowls and plates that are in store. They’re very durable and can go in the dishwasher.

Trends you wish would make a comeback and why?

I don’t know if it’s a trend but I wish more people would invest in wool carpet, instead of petroleum-based synthetic. It’s more expensive but looks nicer, doesn’t show such obvious tread. It’s far more sustainable, helps our wool industry and is a natural flame retardant.

 

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