Q&A with Gemma Adams owner of Napier homewares store Blackbird Goods 2020

Gemma Adams and Nathan Speeden own Blackbird Goods in Napier. The couple spent years travelling overseas, and then lived in Auckland. About six years ago, they made the move to Hawke’s Bay, where Nathan hails from, and have “never looked back”. Their shop and online business offers hand-picked homewares, clothing and lifestyle goods. Here, interior stylist Gemma talks about her own design and decor preferences.

Blackbird Goods owners Gemma Adams and Nathan Speeden at their home in Napier.

How would you describe your home style?

With two kids, a dog and both of us spending the majority of our time working from home, it’s safe to say our style needs to be versatile, relaxed and child friendly. I tend towards neutrals and muted tones, and am a sucker for some good texture. I am always inspired by nature and art. We love items that tell a story and stand the test of time.

What inspires you about living in your region?

I have always loved how clear the seasons are in Hawke’s Bay – you really feel each change. The hazy skies and rolling golden hills of summer, the stunning autumnal tones throughout the trees, bluebird days in winter and the blossoms in spring. The tones are ever changing and so beautiful. We also have incredible creatives – potters and painters – who call Hawke’s Bay home. We are so spoilt.

What is the last thing you bought for your home? 

I commissioned a piece by local artist Sophie Goodwin. It’s an illustration of our first home and it’s for our 10-year wedding anniversary.

What’s your favourite room in the house?

We live in a 1910 cottage with a high stud and hardwood floors, so it can be cold on crisp Hawke’s Bay mornings. In winter we spend a lot our time in our living room, fire roaring, listening to stories. I love the openness, the original ceilings and the light that streams through the windows in the afternoon.

What trend do you wish would make a comeback?

I am not sure trends exist the way they used to. I think there are definitely ideas and styles at the forefront, but there is also space for almost anything to have its place, if it’s executed in the right way.

Gemma loves neutral and muted tones as well as textural pieces.

If money was no object, what would you buy?

A Grace Bader painting. I really love her work and art’s always a good investment.

Where would you spend the bulk of a renovation budget?

In kitchens and bathrooms, always. They take the most, but also make the most. Having quality, well-designed and functional spaces you use as much as these are worth the investment.

What would you go budget on?

I’ve always bought second hand. It’s a great way to save a little, but still have beautiful, quality pieces. You can find anything you need, especially if you’re willing to give them a little love.

You’ve got a day to refresh your house. What do you do?

Go soft, change up your rugs, cushions and throws.

What should every home have?

An Arnold Circus stool – the perfect bedside table or extra seat. They are architectural and robust, and there is a colour for everyone.

A Martino Gamper Arnold Circus stool, a piece of furniture Gemma believes every home should have.



Q&A with Katy Husband owner of Canterbury's design and homewares store Feather & Oak Interiors 2020

Katy Husband of Feather and Oak Interiors in Rangiora shares her expertise, style and some of her favourite pieces