Sara Black & Paul Guidera

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Sara Black and Paul Guidera.

Sara Black and Paul Guidera. Image: Jessie Casson

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I snapped up this Aunty Cookie cushion from Douglas + Bec. It’s made by Melbourne-based designer Shannon Lamden. She does cool stuff. 
The vintage Storkline folding chairs came from from a random junk store for a lucky song.

I snapped up this Aunty Cookie cushion from Douglas + Bec. It’s made by Melbourne-based designer Shannon Lamden. She does cool stuff. The vintage Storkline folding chairs came from from a random junk store for a lucky song. Image: Jessie Casson

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The chest is a ‘found’ object that was dumped on our street footpath. Addressed to Rev. W. N. Brown − I’m sure he’d be glad it’s gone to a good home and it’s a nice resting place for the deer.

The chest is a ‘found’ object that was dumped on our street footpath. Addressed to Rev. W. N. Brown − I’m sure he’d be glad it’s gone to a good home and it’s a nice resting place for the deer. Image: Jessie Casson

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I never quite realised my animal obsession until now. Upon entering our apartment, you will meet Agnes − our headless pooch. We always stuff her with a bunch of cheap and cheerful hydrangeas. “Please come up,” she says.

I never quite realised my animal obsession until now. Upon entering our apartment, you will meet Agnes − our headless pooch. We always stuff her with a bunch of cheap and cheerful hydrangeas. “Please come up,” she says. Image: Jessie Casson

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We stumbled across Mike Perry’s 
ceramics in a tiny gallery in Mapua, 
near Nelson. I love the child-like, naïve 
quality of the nun and her ‘offcuts’ 
juxtaposed with the rather 
extreme subject matter.

We stumbled across Mike Perry’s ceramics in a tiny gallery in Mapua, near Nelson. I love the child-like, naïve quality of the nun and her ‘offcuts’ juxtaposed with the rather extreme subject matter. Image: Jessie Casson

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The Albert Chair by Ron Arad was a 21st-birthday present and migrates indoors and out as the seasons change. I love its timelessness and unsuspecting comfort. Ruby, our poodle papillon, sure agrees.

The Albert Chair by Ron Arad was a 21st-birthday present and migrates indoors and out as the seasons change. I love its timelessness and unsuspecting comfort. Ruby, our poodle papillon, sure agrees. Image: Jessie Casson

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Sara and Paul met when they were around 15 but lost touch in their early 20s. Having not even seen Paul in about eight years, Sara, by chance, messaged him on Facebook asking how he was. A tentative friendship formed mostly fuelled by online Scrabble matches and, when Wellington-based Paul was coming up to Auckland, they thought they would catch up. Sitting in Sara’s small Kingsland apartment on the Sunday of that weekend, they both realised they didn’t want him to leave; so he didn’t. He never turned up for his flight, quit his job and Sara’s apartment became Sara and Paul’s.

Sara is a graphic designer who works mostly on magazines (including Urbis, among others) while Paul manages a stylish city café. With her designer’s eye, the apartment is a curated collection of quirky pieces and elegant objects. They don’t have preconceived ideas for what they want their home to look like. Instead, Sara explains, “I know what I like. I want things that make you smile in the morning.” Their eclectic assortment follows waves of obsessions – recently a collection of vintage plates with dog imagery took over the kitchen but that’s been abandoned for odd, ugly and unloved ceramic animals. A few collections hold their ground – knitted or crocheted food and you’ll find, in amongst the ephemera, Scrabble-themed items in subtle homage to their unusual back story.

Sara picks out some of her favourite pieces (can be viewed in image gallery above) and explains where they come from, and why she loves them.


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