When I was younger the term ‘empty nesting’ and what it would mean to our lives did not really compute. Our children were young, and that stage of our lives seemed such a long way off. But as we know, life does not standstill for anyone and that day when our first child left home for university, (2 ½ hours away) came around very quickly. Then our second left home two years later, fortunately same city and university. I was suddenly back to where I started. It took a bit of adjustment.
Our daughter gave me an ultimatum, “Mum don’t redecorate my room for 2 years, it’s still mine.”
So, I didn’t! After all, I wanted my children to come home once in a while.

But there does come a time, I feel, when you do need to take charge and reclaim your home. Your children are young adults making their own way in life, and after a few years, only come home a couple of times a year.

What do you do with two empty bedrooms on a modest budget? For me it was easy, the smaller room a guest bedroom and the other a multi-purpose room.

I listed what I required…

Guest Bedroom – simple, restful, and uncluttered

  • White walls (paint over Resene Energy Yellow)
  • White full gloss built in furniture (drawers were existing)
  • Queen bed (bed was existing with blue iron bed ends
  • New window treatments
  • New bedding
  • Replace carpet (the lounge and bedrooms were due to be re carpeted)
  • Bedside cabinet (existing- white wash)
  • 1 ½ wardrobe (it had sliding doors which I am not a great fan of)


The guest bedroom was simple fix. The room was stripped, and prized possessions of childhood memories boxed up. Memory boxes were put in the attic. This was the second clearing out, the first when my daughter left home had been thorough. Though when you have creative children there is a lot of art and supplies. The room was stripped bare, holes filled where pictures had been hung, then sealed and the bright yellow painted out with low sheen white. I love Resene Lumbersider and most of my house is finished in that paint system. We have aluminum windows with rimu reveals, with rimu and matai throughout the house. The pine built in furniture was painted in full gloss enamel.

The ceilings I left, they are Pinex and in good condition, but I also have glow in the dark stars on all my bedroom ceilings and I was not going to remove them to paint the ceiling.

The slat bed and bed ends remained but I replaced the mattress with a foam mattress. The beauty of this is that there was a lot of storage under the bed for boxes of fabric.

The windows had a privacy blind already which remained, and I replaced the existing Roman blind with a tulip floral pattern. The bedding was white so there needed to be a bit of colour somewhere. The loop pile carpet from the 70’s was replaced with a pure wool cut pile, colour aubergine. Wardrobe doors were replaced with soft off-white linen sheers.

Multi-purpose room – bedroom, craft and sewing room

  • Single day bed (a later requirement)
  • Cutting/craft table
  • Purpose built sewing table for overlocker and sewing machine
  • Storage boxes for fabric
  • Storage for rolls of fabric
  • Bookcase
  • Storage boxes for haberdashery
  • Painted walls
  • Window treatments
  • Replace carpet
  • Double wardrobe with sliding doors

My multi-purpose room has evolved. Same process as before, but I had a lot more ‘treasures’ to box. I think boys are, a little different about what they leave behind. The room had painted over wallpaper in Energy Yellow the same as my daughter’s room. I love painted textured walls.

Thousands of pin holes were filled, sealed and thousands more that I had missed in the original patching. It seemed endless! The room was then repainted in Energy Yellow. I find this a very, creative colour to work in. I had fitted sun filter blinds to help stop fading of fabrics and topped with a floral Roman Blind. Initially I had a couple of old oak tables, one for cutting and the other for my machines. As time went by, the room needed more structure. I had fitted, a custom kitset bench, which spanned the width of the room for my machines and traded my oak table for a Formica extension table which is more practical for crafts.

Resene Energy Yellow teamed with richly printed cotton daybed.A daybed was needed later, as my little family was now growing. This is an old-style wirewove bed with oak bed ends. I re-covered an old mattress that I had cut into three and concertinaed, for my son years ago. This fitted perfectly and in a nice rich colour works well as a day bed. My granddaughter sleeps in it when she comes to stay.

The aubergine carpet is not very practical for a craft room, but at least you can see anything that is dropped on it, including coloured head pins. All the boxes ticked and both rooms work well!






By Terry Lobb
Creative Director
Terry Lobb Colour and Design Ltd

My home is not a show home it is a family home full of memories from passed family members, friends and a grown family.  It is full of ‘project stuff’ that I do for interest for myself or others.   Projects that often involve fabric but not always, projects taking me months or sometimes years to complete.

I am a hoarder of fabric and books!  Sometimes an impulse buyer if I see a piece of fabric that takes my fancy and it will often get stashed for years before I make it into something.  The beauty of that is that no one else will have what you wear.  The fabric is often brightly coloured or an unusual weave or texture, often a natural fibre but not always.  I recently wore a top out that I made 15 years ago, it is a one off as it is one of my own designs and the fabric is very unusual and because it is different I often get complimented when I wear it.    I like that I still have clothes in my wardrobe that are not trendy, that were never trendy but are me because I don’t buy off the shelf clothes that often.

I buy books, new and preloved!  I love design books, craft books, motivational books, and so many different books.  I don’t always read them, some are there for reference and left with markers, others are just to look at the pictures, some I just simply loved the feel or smell of them.  One of my favourites (one of many) is a little book of Victorian Posies I bought probably 20 years ago that has a purple/blue fabric cover, beautiful watercolour  images of posies throughout with instructions on what flowers are in each posy and the treat when you open this delightful book is it smells of lavender.   And long after the scent has gone it still lingers in my memory and the images as if it is as fresh as the day I bought it.

I am not a believer of buying fashionable ‘stuff’.  Anyone can all do that.   Where is the individuality in purchasing something where there are racks, shelves or shop floors of the same ‘stuff’?

I am a believer in buying quality, well made products where possible, but this is often driven by budget as to whether it is affordable or not.  I’m not opposed to buying preloved furniture and accessories if it fits.  There are various internet sites offering good quality preloved goods that are often affordable and can look great with a little TLC if purchased wisely.  It is no different from purchasing new piece furniture.  You should always be aware of what you are purchasing, how it is made and where it comes from, if possible.  The better the quality the longer it will last and the less chance of it going to the landfill within 5 years.  If you choose something that you love, you will be more inclined to keep it.

My personal style is very eclectic with pieces of furniture that belonged to my grandparents, new pieces sitting along pieces purchased off Buy Sell and Exchange (before Trademe days).  I love local art!  My artwork is a mixture of paintings by my kids to New Zealand scenery of favourite places to well-known local artists.  Everything tells a story of where it came from or where I was and who was with me, when it was purchased.

We are very much a throwaway society and to make the change we need to buy wisely and think about why we are purchasing.  Make a conscious decision!  Create a home that tells a story, your story rather than just pieces of furniture or accessories that will fill a space and ‘look trendy’.

Make a difference!

I am available for speaking engagements for small groups or larger organizations and can be contacted below.

Terry Lobb Colour and Design Ltd – Interior Designer/Personal Stylist/Colour Consultant

If you would like to make an appointment for a consultation or have a query about product discussed you can contact me on 027 602 3298 or terry@terrylobb.com or like me on Facebook.

Last weekend we spent time in Wellington catching up with friends and family and generally mooching around the shops. I think we are so use to the great summer weather that when we do have the odd wet and cooler day we are not prepared for it. I certainly wasn’t dressed for rain so indoors we ventured and it was nice just to brows in the shops and take time out.

I have two favourite restaurants in Wellington, one I go to occasionally and the other more often. I like both of them because of the ambiance, décor, great service and excellent food. The restaurant and bar we tend to frequent most is The Southern Cross Garden Bar and Restaurant, both for dining and dancing. I love this venue!

The building is over 100 years old and was renovated to its current shape and form by Wellington’s award winning Architect John Mills. John is renowned for his very personal designs and unique work. The Cross as it is more favourably referred to is a hive of activity and caters to a wide audience from private functions, dance parties, fresco dining, more intimate dining, family gatherings, bar facilities with good old fashioned service. You can find a quiet space and work or relax, play board games or read a newspaper or simply enjoy the different nights of entertainment on offer.

John Mills has created a Retro space with some areas being strictly retro and others with a twist. Perhaps that is why I like it, because it relates to my 1970’s Retro teen years. On dining there Sunday night with family I decided I liked it because of its relaxed friendly atmosphere and the fact that the whole complex is divided into different zones depending on what your mood is for the day or evening.
There is a lounge bar where you can dine, towards the back of the building which is like stepping back in time to someone’s home. The floor is carpeted in a 1950’s floral carpet, the chairs are comfortable lounge chairs that many of us grew up with and the lighting is subdued and warm. The walls are hung with those very family paintings and ornaments that many of us grew up with or remember from our grandparent’s home. You can sit and have a quiet conversation over dinner without having to shout at each other or hear the next door diner’s conversation. A very welcoming space!
I have often sat outside with friends from Wellington Batucada and had a quiet drink after their band practice then danced to the salsa beats on the dancefloor inside. The outdoor area is divided into ‘rooms’ so you can dine undercover in the rain or in the open air or sit with friends either side long tables not unlike my grandmothers kitchen table. It is a little bit like walking into a private courtyard, decorated for comfort, with strung paper lanterns, an outdoor fire for the chillier evenings and an outdoor kitchen and bar. The courtyard is tiered so you feel that your area of dining or socializing is more private.
We tend to dine mainly in the relaxed dining area at the front of the venue. This area definitely has a retro feel with Formica tables and chairs all mismatched. Vases of flowers on the tables, quirky lights and shades hang from the partially clad stained ply ceiling. The walls are either wallpapered in retro modern patterns or patterned paint finishes and there is added bonus of the old beaded curtain dividing part of the room from the entrance. It is a very comfortable and relaxed space to dine in. The complete complex is very alive with colour, various texture finishes and patterns, but it works well. Perhaps it works because it feels a little like the home we once knew when life was at a slower pace and we took more time to share and socialize in real time, face to face.


I am available for speaking engagements for small groups or larger organisations and can be contacted below.

Terry Lobb Colour and Design Ltd – Interior Designer/Personal Stylist/Colour Consultant

If you would like to make an appointment for a consultation or have a query about product discussed you can contact me on

mobile 027 602 3298

terry@terrylobb.com or contact me on Facebook.