Bathroom Design Auckland

JASON DORDAY/Stuff

Interior designer Fiona McLeod interviews Block judge Paul Izzard who shows us around his clever work-living space in Ponsonby.

As the designer behind big-name Auckland restaurants like Cassia, Giraffe and Baduzzi, Paul Izzard spends much of his working life finessing expansive public spaces.   

At home, though, the former judge on The Block chooses to lives small. Really small. The apartment he shares with partner Nicole Pangari is tucked below the Izzard Design office in a heritage Ponsonby villa, and measures just 60 square metres.  It  has a great kitchen, a modest bedroom and bathroom – and that's pretty much all. 

"There's essentially no lounge," Izzard says. "just a snug with a little couch off the ktichen."   

Paul Izzard, partner Nicole Pangari and their French bulldog, Edward, in their 60 square metre apartment. JASON DORDAY/STUFF

Paul Izzard, partner Nicole Pangari and their French bulldog, Edward, in their 60 square metre apartment.

The secret to a really liveable small space, he says, is working out what you can do without.

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"For us, home is all about entertaining and being sociable. That's what we love in life."  So his kitchen – which is the same size as most kitchens in much larger homes – dominates, and is the hub of the apartment.

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"It wouldn't suit everyone," Izzard says. "If you were really into television, for example, you might use to space for a massive screen."

Apartments in big developments often fall down because they try to "be everything to everyone" and fit too many elements into a small space, he says.   

Izzard became a convert to small space living three years ago, when he bought and renovated the1908 villa on bustling College Hill, Ponsonby. The top storey was converted into 120sqm of workspace for his design team, while retaining the homely feel of the original building. "We wanted it to be relaxed, to make an ideal environment for creative people."

The renovated 1908 villa in Ponsonby serves as Izzard's workplace and home. JASON DORDAY/STUFF

The renovated 1908 villa in Ponsonby serves as Izzard's workplace and home.

Original villa features were retained in the office - including ornate ceiling mouldings - and the palette was kept deliberately neutral, so that the colours and textures of material samples displayed for clients stand out.  

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During the renovation planning Izzard realised the area downstairs (which had most recently been used as a physio clinic) could be converted to an apartment - and once it was done, he and Nicole decided they'd like to live in it themselves. They enjoyed apartment living so much, they eventually sold up their Westmere home and made the move permanent.

Izzard believes that living little, and so close to work, has made him more creative. "You're not worrying so much about money, or stressing about getting to work on time. It frees you from day ot day stresses, so you can be really creative."

Izzard in his office. JASON DORDAY/STUFF

Izzard in his office.

Creativity thrives, he says, when people feel confident and relaxed. "That's what we're trying to create for the team with a homely, relaxed feeling in the office."   

The downstairs apartment is connected to the workspace via a set of outdoor stairs. Partly this was because the internal staircase was removed to create more office space, but Izzard says it also creates a work/home separation.

"In the morning I still have that feeling that I am leaving home, and going to work. Usually I go round the corner via a cafe."   

Ornate ceiling details were retained in the office space to help create a homely feeling, which Izzard believes ... JASON DORDAY/STUFF

Ornate ceiling details were retained in the office space to help create a homely feeling, which Izzard believes encourages creativity.

Izzard was a judge on The Block in 2016, and says he wouldn't rule out doing it again. "I like to open other people's eyes to design, and what it is designers do. The Block makes people aware that they have a choice, an option. Their interiors don't always need to be vanilla or beige."   

 

      

Izzard's own kitchen design takes learnings from his work in hospitality. JASON DORDAY/STUFF

Izzard's own kitchen design takes learnings from his work in hospitality. "It's about creating a welcome, and keeping people connected," he says.

 

 

   

Izzard and Pangari love to cook and entertain, and their kitchen dominates their small apartment. JASON DORDAY/STUFF

Izzard and Pangari love to cook and entertain, and their kitchen dominates their small apartment.

  

The bathroom in Izzard's apartment. JASON DORDAY/STUFF

The bathroom in Izzard's apartment.

 - Homed

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