In Belinda Corder-Kruger’s Auckland home, art takes centre stage. Four years ago, the New Zealander found the 1,300 sq ft, three-bedroom flat in Parnell, one of Auckland’s oldest suburbs. A big attraction of the apartment, which is a short walk from the city, was its unfussy, light-filled interiors, ideal for the art and property adviser’s eclectic collection of paintings, sculptures and furnishings.
Corder-Kruger helmed Art Lease, a Hong Kong corporate-art consultancy, for more than a decade. She had lived in the city for 20 years before moving back to New Zealand in 2012.
“Art has had a big influence on my life. Art comes first, then furniture, then people,” she says with a laugh.
Built in the 1960s, the flat had been renovated before its sale, having been updated with a contemporary open-plan layout, a timber floor and modern fixtures. The only significant change Corder-Kruger made was to remove a wall between the kitchen and living-dining room to make the most of the panoramic harbour views.
“I wanted to be connected to the view and the living area as much as possible, not locked away in a kitchen,” she says. “So you can cook, watch TV and see the view all at once.”
The furnishings are a fresh, contemporary mixture of custom-designed pieces from Hong Kong and those collected on her travels, from an antique French chandelier bought at a store in Chelsea, London, to calligraphy brushes purchased in a Shanghai market.
To help keep the overall look simple so that the art would stand out, Corder-Kruger turned to friend Grace Yan Gurnsey, who had designed much of the family’s furniture in Hong Kong. Yan Gurnsey, an architect-interior designer who seven years ago relocated from Hong Kong to Queenstown, New Zealand, also advised on furniture placement.
Walls painted in Resene Black White (a grey-based white) set off colourful artworks, such as Beijing-based sculptor Qu Guangci’s bronze statue of two Red Guards, at the entrance. Other stand-outs include an etched corrugated-iron piece by New Zealand artist Jeff Thomson and light-box artworks by Hong Kong’s Nadim Abbas and Amy Cheung Wan-man.
“I love a burst of colour,” Corder-Kruger says. “I learned to appreciate it in Hong Kong. It makes all the difference when everything around you is grey.
“When the children and I first visited [the Auckland flat] we instantly felt comfortable,” she says. (Corder-Kruger’s three children were all born in Hong Kong and have now relocated to New York.) “We loved the feng shui and it was so much like our beautiful Hong Kong apartment on Kadoorie Avenue in Kowloon.”
Corder-Kruger’s favourite chill-out spot is the balcony, where she likes to relax with a cup of tea. When the children visit during the summer school holidays, they spend a lot of time barbecuing, so much so that there are plans to enlarge the balcony to accommodate a large dining table outside.
Moving to Parnell would prove to be a good decision.
“Our neighbours are very friendly. We all help each other out, and the cafe culture is awesome, all within walking distance,” Corder-Kruger says. “We have our own inner-city beach, Judges Bay, at the end of our road, as well as the historic Parnell Baths and the Rose Gardens.”
“Parnell is a great place to live,” Corder-Kruger says. “It has so much character and charm, beautiful old wooden homes and large gardens and native birds and trees – all the things I missed when I was away from New Zealand.”
Living room The large canvas is by New Zealand painter Tony de Lautour and came from the Hamish McKay Gallery. The painting above the fireplace is by Chongqing-born artist Zhou Chunya and was purchased through Christie’s.
Grace Yan Gurnsey, of Totem Interior & Architecture Design Studio (Queenstown, New Zealand, tel 6427 779 9047), bought the floor lamp from Lane Crawford years ago. The black ponyskin armchair (about HK$6,000) was designed by Yan Gurnsey and made by 2BSquare Design Gallery.
The Eero Saarinen-style side table (about HK$3,000/US$382) and glass coffee table came from Stockroom. The sofa and bookshelves were from Republic Home. The Nepalese goat rug is on loan from a friend.
Living room detail The armchair and ottoman (discontinued) were bought from Ikea years ago. The Eileen Gray E1027 side table was purchased from Herman Miller, also a long time ago. The bronze sculpture, Pig on the Hill, is by Qu Guangci and came from Aura Gallery, in Beijing. The black-and-white charcoal drawing, by Malaysian artist Ahmad Zakii Anwar, was from the Taksu art gallery, in Singapore.
Entrance The bronze statue of two Red Guards is by Shanghai-born artist Qu Guangci and came from Aura Gallery. The light box on the wall above is by Hong Kong artist Amy Cheung Wan-man and was purchased from Faux Home.
Kitchen The black Spun Reflector lamp (NZ$2,290/US$1,495) suspended over the central island came from Ecc. The pug wall clock and silver plant pot were gifts.
Dining area Belinda Corder-Kruger bought the 1950s French chandelier years ago from a shop on King’s Road in Chelsea, London. The dining table was designed by Yan Gurnsey and made by 2BSquare Design Gallery. The jute sisal rug is an offcut from Art Lease’s Aberdeen gallery and the Eames chairs (HK$3,698 each) were from Herman Miller.
The floor lamp with exposed bulbs was bought years ago. The artworks are by Australian photographer Marian Drew and came from the Dianne Tanzer Gallery (108 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, tel: 61 3 9416 3956). The sculpture on the table, by Slovenian artist Gregor Kregar, came from Gow Langsford Gallery.
Main bedroom The two light boxes to the left of the window are by Hong Kong artist Nadim Abbas. To the right of the window is a mixed-media light box of New Zealand fantail stamps by Auckland-born artist Lianne Edwards that came from the Antoinette Godkin Gallery.
The black ponyskin armchair is as before. The long table and bedside table, both from Ikea, and the pendant lamp, from Lane Crawford, were all bought years ago. The bird pillowcases came from The Print Room.
Balcony Corder-Kruger loves relaxing on the balcony with her Labrador, Zippy. The large Nepalese bronze urn is from Artura Ficus.
Tried + tested
Magnetic attraction Belinda Corder-Kruger commissioned a photographic shoot by Venture Studios of her children when they were young. “The photos are encased in mini magnetic frames so they can be removed easily to update,” she says.