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A bright rainbow kitchen for a Christchurch designer who loves colour |

A bright rainbow kitchen for a Christchurch designer who loves colour

Lou’s kitchen is a visual symphony of pink, turquoise and yellow.

Lou Barker doesn’t shy away from colour. In fact, the one time she did – her last kitchen was neutral for saleability reasons – “it never felt quite right”.

“I loved it, but was always adding colourful accessories to try and make it more colourful.”

When Lou and husband Anthony moved into their new home, Lou instantly knew she wanted to renovate the kitchen and add colour.

Yellow and pink were natural choices for accent colours to go with turquoise walls.

“Colour isn’t for everyone,” she says. “Some people just don’t like it, but there’s no need to be afraid of colour. It’s so easy to change. Usually, it only takes a pot of paint.”

A reno worth waiting for
Creative gardening in the sand
The homemade kitchen

Kitchenware reflects the room’s bright accent colours.


Lou’s love of bright hues is innate, not influenced by trends, and she’s a firm believer in the transformative power of colour.

“I’d like to think it makes the world a happier place.”

Yellow cupboards contrast nicely with Resene ‘Seeker’, the main turquoise hue.

She began her aptly named interior decorating and retail business, Blue Scarlet, after watching customers at the paint shop where she worked agonising over which shade of white to pick. Exasperated by this lack of imagination, she decided to show people how to make colour work.

If guests in Lou’s home aren’t exclaiming at her turquoise, pink and orange living room, then they’re ogling her tropical wallpapered staircase or colourful bathroom. And this is just after they’ve stepped through the door; they haven’t made it to her turquoise, yellow and pink kitchen yet.

It took two years to get the wheels in motion for a kitchen renovation and another six months for it to be completed.

“It involved a lot of barbecues and slow cookers,” Lou says.

Her vision was to be able to stand at the kitchen bench and look out to the Southern Alps. It also needed to work with the rest of her multicoloured house.

Builders removed the partial wall separating the kitchen from the living room, added an island and installed a slot window at the back of the space. The granite benchtop is the feature of which Lou is most proud.

“It’s not normally a material I’d go for, but I liked the idea of using something that is seen as a bit old-fashioned and putting it in a modern context. It was my way of working the old house into the new kitchen.”

Lou prefers to make things work instead of replacing them. The brass chandeliers in the living room were a prominent feature when she and Anthony moved in. Instead of taking them down, Lou used them as inspiration.

“They were the main reason I chose Resene ‘Seeker’ [the main turquoise hue] for the walls. Apart from simply liking it, it also looks great with brass.”

Pink and yellow were the natural choice for accents.

“They look great with turquoise.”

 – Avenues

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