There’s a storm about to unleash itself on Methven. The sun is shining, but the angry, purple-black clouds hang heavy as I approach 6b Camrose Ave. Set against this sky, the black exterior of the building almost blends into its background. It is a very dark day in Methven.

Built in 2016, Ferne Baker’s home sits on a generous town section. From the street it appears to be two separate buildings. “I’ve heard it called ‘the black boxes,” she later tells me. “I’m OK with that.”

Inside, in complete contrast to the exterior, all is white and light.  It’s the little things that do the trick, Ferne tells me. High wooden beams with plywood ceiling panels that resemble tongue in groove timber work, white gib walls with black reveals on the windows and sliding doors opening into the garden all contribute to a sense of space. The effect is simple, but not stark.

“I love my garden, and I’ve downsized dramatically, so I was determined to create a home with great flow into the outdoors.”

So, who was her architect? “I was,” she says. Along with her daughter, she drew up the concept plan, and contacted John Gibbs of BluePrint Architectural Services. Together, they collaborated to reach the design. Ferne missed her calling. This is a cleverly designed home that uses every inch of space to feel much larger than it is.

Ferne’s creative talent is evident throughout. She designed and built the dining table, on casters so it can be moved to become a workbench or kitchen island. She also designed the matching, bespoke, fitted shelving in the kitchen.

As it appears from the street, the house does comprise two separate parts joined by a corridor.  A separate, self-contained upstairs flat is well used by family and friends.

Outside, the well laid-out grounds are another design feature, with raised gardens and decks to allow Ferne and partner Rob to enjoy every inch of this delightful property, and fully appreciate the fabulous views.

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.