Q&A with Luisa Potter owner of South Canterbury’s Matilda & the Metalman homeware and design store 2020

Matilda & the Metalman is a Fairlie design store offering New Zealand-made products, gifts, furniture and other interior products. The four-year-old business has also has branched into e-commerce and does consultancy interior design work.

Luisa at home, a 112-year-old house she and her husband instantly connected with.

How would you describe your home style?

Our house is 112 years old and is a mishmash of alterations and questionable colours from the 80s. We have plans to renovate extensively and are in the final stages of planning. My husband is very relaxed about me taking the reins. My own style is earthy with loads of tactile materials such as timber, jute, cane and linen.

What inspires you about living in your region?

We’ve lived in the Mackenzie District for more than five years and are still in awe of the rugged, natural beauty. Nearly every corner you turn has another breathtaking vista. I feel inspired by our mountains, lakes and clear starry nights. Mackenzie folk are robust hard-working people living in what has been described as a harsh environment. How can you not be inspired with all that is on offer, along with these wonderful people?

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

My husband works in Australia and hasn’t been able to get home. I needed a pick me up during lockdown so I gifted myself a Reid armchair from our store. It is meticulously made with an American ash frame, full-grain semi-aniline leather cushions and a backrest with leather straps and brass buckles. It’s no substitute for my husband, but boy is it a good-looking chair!

The Reid chair she bought for her home, plus a Magnus wool throw.

What is the favourite room in your house?

I love every room. As we were pulling out of the drive after our first viewing, my husband said, ‘Put an offer in.’ It immediately felt like home. It has large open rooms, high ceilings, French doors that open out onto verandas and vast lawns.

What trend do you wish would make a comeback? 

I know what I don’t want back – popcorn ceilings and shag pile rugs. Every trend generally resurfaces. These days we have resources and products at our fingertips so any style is achievable. I’m loving the ‘make do and mend’ trend, also known as the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle resurgence’.

If money was no object, what would you get for your home?

We have more than 200 window panes and I am in the process of prepping them for repainting. I’d pay to have them replaced – like for like – with triple glazing, then hire a window cleaner to come once a fortnight to wash them all.

What would you go budget on?

I always go with the theory, get the best we can afford. However, as we won’t be able to afford everything on our wish list some concessions will have to be made. One of these will be us doing most of the painting ourselves.

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

Paint, paint and paint! A fresh coat can make a huge difference.

What should every home have?

Ideally, ventilation systems. When they’re closed up all day there is nowhere for trapped moisture to go. It’s not healthy for the houses or the people who live in them.

Luisa Potter, owner of Matilda & the Metalman in Fairlie, favours earthy tones and tactile materials.




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