Inside story: The Culys

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The dining area features a Billie Culy print and Homebase Collections' sideboard, pendant light and curtains.

The dining area features a Billie Culy print and Homebase Collections’ sideboard, pendant light and curtains. Image: Brian Culy

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Brian and Leanne Culy on Haumoana Beach.

Brian and Leanne Culy on Haumoana Beach. Image: Brian Culy

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The home's exterior.

The home’s exterior. Image: Brian Culy

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A sitting nook.

A sitting nook. Image: Brian Culy

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<em>Orange Bird</em>, an artwork by Brian in a bedroom.

Orange Bird, an artwork by Brian in a bedroom. Image: Brian Culy

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The house is decorated with some of Leanne's hand painted oars.

The house is decorated with some of Leanne’s hand painted oars. Image: Brian Culy

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Pizza oven: "Cooking in a wood-fired oven is probably the most enjoyable way to cook, plus it makes everything  tastes amazing; not just pizza," says Brian. "We use it year round and the whole process of lighting the fire and cooking the food is satisfying in a primeval kind of way.

Pizza oven: “Cooking in a wood-fired oven is probably the most enjoyable way to cook, plus it makes everything tastes amazing; not just pizza,” says Brian. “We use it year round and the whole process of lighting the fire and cooking the food is satisfying in a primeval kind of way. Image: Brian Culy

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Peter Edmonds' wooden bird: "These are some of my favourite things in the world," says Leanne. "They're made from found wood and have a personality of their own. They're a little hippy-dippy but I also think they have a modernist craft feel to them."

Peter Edmonds’ wooden bird: “These are some of my favourite things in the world,” says Leanne. “They’re made from found wood and have a personality of their own. They’re a little hippy-dippy but I also think they have a modernist craft feel to them.” Image: Brian Culy

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Pottery cup: "My birth-mother's name was Margaret Herne and she was an artist and art teacher but sadly I she died in a car accident before I ever met her," Leanna says. "She was also a potter in Albany and worked with  a lot of well-known potters but this is the only item of hers I have."

Pottery cup: “My birth-mother’s name was Margaret Herne and she was an artist and art teacher but sadly I she died in a car accident before I ever met her,” Leanna says. “She was also a potter in Albany and worked with a lot of well-known potters but this is the only item of hers I have.” Image: Brian Culy

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Coffee machine: "I love coffee and so does Leanne and we're not ourselves till we've had our morning coffee," says Brian. "We've owned this Rocket Giotto E61 for more than 20 years. We recently spent three weeks in Milan filming Rocket machines for a corporate video, which was fantastic."

Coffee machine: “I love coffee and so does Leanne and we’re not ourselves till we’ve had our morning coffee,” says Brian. “We’ve owned this Rocket Giotto E61 for more than 20 years. We recently spent three weeks in Milan filming Rocket machines for a corporate video, which was fantastic.” Image: Brian Culy

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Photograph by Billie Culy: "This is our daughter's artistic tribute to Haumoana," says Leanne. "Billie collected the plants and flowers from around the bach and then photographed them on the velvet background, which is the exact colour of the sea. She's captured the essence of the area."

Photograph by Billie Culy: “This is our daughter’s artistic tribute to Haumoana,” says Leanne. “Billie collected the plants and flowers from around the bach and then photographed them on the velvet background, which is the exact colour of the sea. She’s captured the essence of the area.” Image: Brian Culy

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Gold kauri branch: "This is a branch from a tree in our garden," says Leanne. "And an artwork I created out of concern for these native trees which are in danger of extinction."

Gold kauri branch: “This is a branch from a tree in our garden,” says Leanne. “And an artwork I created out of concern for these native trees which are in danger of extinction.” Image: Brian Culy

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Wooden planes: "My dad, David H Culy, was a cabinet maker and the creator of Homebase's best seller, the Geo Baby sidetable," says Brian. "I inherited about eight planes from him."

Wooden planes: “My dad, David H Culy, was a cabinet maker and the creator of Homebase’s best seller, the Geo Baby sidetable,” says Brian. “I inherited about eight planes from him.” Image: Brian Culy

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Silver wave succulent: "This is the most commonly found plant in Haumoana and its silvery blue leaves and apricot bell-like flowers inspired the bach's apricot wall," explains Leanne. "I've also incorporated the flower in one of my oar artworks and into a current text design project,"

Silver wave succulent: “This is the most commonly found plant in Haumoana and its silvery blue leaves and apricot bell-like flowers inspired the bach’s apricot wall,” explains Leanne. “I’ve also incorporated the flower in one of my oar artworks and into a current text design project,” Image: Brian Culy

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Buying a bach 20 minutes from home wasn’t on Leanne and Brian Culy’s to-do list eight years ago. But when the creative collaborators fell in love with this 90m² bach on Haumoana Beach in Hawke’s Bay, there was no turning back.

“Our friends Dick and Jude Frizzell were renting it at the time, while they built their own house nearby,” explains Leanne Culy, 50. “They told us the owners were looking to sell, so we leapt at the chance. Even though it’s only a short drive, it’s a whole different world out on the coast. We’re right on the water and Haumoana has a great little community.”

Leanne, who is an artist and homewares maker, admits it was a little unusual to buy a bach so close to Balquhidder House, their five-bedroomed residence which sprawls lazily across Napier’s Hospital Hill and is Ground Zero for her company, Homebase Collections, and husband Brian’s film and photography business. “But, it’s a welcome contrast to the chaos of home,” she says.

The couple, their children (Jacobina, 24, and Billie, 21) and two dogs even lived full-time at the bach for a couple of years. “But, sadly, as our interiors’ business Homebase Collections expanded and I needed more space for my studio, we outgrew it,” says Brian Culy, 60.

The two-storeyed dwelling, which had been renovated by its previous owners, is now filled with a mix of new and vintage finds, including Homebase’s ply and pegboard bedside tables and sideboards.

“Being by the ocean energises me,” says Leanne. “We swim, take the boat out and enjoy the relaxed essence of a Kiwi bach. We often think about moving back here full-time because the kids have left home. Although we need a lot of room to run our businesses, we might just be able to make it work one day.”

Scroll through the image gallery above to see a few of Brian and Leanne’s favourite things.


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