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I have never been to Riversdale before, which is surprising considering that it is only a couple of hours from Wellington. So when a dear friend invited me to spend the night at her Riversdale bach (that’s Kiwi for a simple beach or holiday house), I jumped into the car and headed over the hills.

I spotted this sign when I reached Greytown, a somewhat chi-chi farming town. You know you’re in the country when the local newsagent sells fresh duck eggs.

Although it’s only the first week of spring here in New Zealand, there were fields of daffodils, and baby lambs on trembling little legs.

My friend and her husband have a large family, and welcome a lot of visitors, so they have expanded the original bach, but have done so with such care that it has retained its simple and relaxed charm. I am saddened when you see baches, that have been in families for generations, being renovated into McMansions at the beach.

The new kitchen has laminate cupboard fronts  that evoke the 60’s with their slanting fronts and chrome pull knobs. I admired the boldly graphic wallpaper. It was a brave choice, but works perfectly with the rest of the decor. So cool, a beach house that doesn’t resort to the cliches of seaside decorating.

Another look at the fabulous wallpaper. Given that the original house was probably built in the 1960’s, it feels appropriate the way it has been used here.

The rest of the bach is just as inspiring, full of unexpected touches of vintage charm.

The bathrooms have been refitted with new pedestal basins, then finished with vintage finds. Do you see the shadow box of old hotel soaps? I was delighted by these.

And this grouping of Bakelite frames, that originally held dried flowers, now with family photos. The curtains are made from bark-cloth found in a local vintage store. These quirky touches have created a holiday home that is fun to explore.

I had such a lovely time, hanging out with my friend in such an idyllic location. And yes, there were duck eggs for breakfast.

Cheers, Karen

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