At Home with Margie Riddiford
We visited Margie at her newly-renovated Auckland cottage that she shares with husband Jolyon to hear about the thought process and design inspirations that went into creating her family home.

Featured Creative

Photographer Rob Tennent
At Home with Margie Riddiford

You may be familiar with the name Margie Cooney, an accomplished writer and contributor. Margie (now known as Margie Riddiford) has recently taken on two new roles; as Editor at Denizen Magazine, plus the most rewarding role as first time mother to daughter Vera. We visited Margie at her newly-renovated Auckland cottage that she shares with husband Jolyon to hear about the thought process and design inspirations that went into creating her family home.

When do you feel most creative?

I'm always more creative after conversations with close friends or my husband, or after reading or watching a piece of work that makes me feel something. I also need to have time to sit with my thoughts. But I think it's also about being open to it. Having some way of recording when something pops into my head can be enough to spark creativity later on.

Tell us about the inspiration and ideas around your space?

We wanted to create a home that felt like a sanctuary — somewhere that was calm and warm and inviting. Retaining the beautiful essence of the old cottage that it was originally was important, while still making it feel modern, functional and serene. John Irving was the architect, Jeffery Construction did the build and Rufus Knight was called on for the interiors, where a tactile material palette of timber and natural stone lent texture and weight, and colours like earthy green, brown, black and grey created depth. A lot of our inspiration came from Japanese / Scandinavian projects. I think my favourite features are the fireplace and the timber-slatted ceiling in the living room.

How does the space function?

It is small but there are plenty of separate spaces within to allow us enough time apart when working from home. We also have a dedicated home office that is the perfect place to work without distraction. The open plan nature of the kitchen and living zone is ideal for multi-tasking with Vera — she can play by the sofa while I prepare her meals. We also wanted to really connect our inside spaces to our garden, which Jared Lockhart helped us bring to life as a kind of seasonal oasis. Large glass windows and siding doors help us open the living room up completely, which really changes the feel of the space.

Who inspires you?

The women I have around me are inspiring. Friends who have their own businesses and who work tirelessly to make their mark. Who are compassionate and thoughtful and determined and resilient. I feel very lucky to have women in my life who remind me daily what I am capable of.

Who are your favourite designers and artists right now? Furniture, art?

I recently read The Candy House by Jennifer Egan and it really made me want to read more from her. Similarly, the hilarious writing of Patricia Lockwood (who wrote Priestdaddy). My husband and I also just bought a piece by Japanese-New Zealand artist Claudia Kogachi (depicting her take on a scene from one of our favourite films, Kill Bill). I had been following her work for a while, so it was a real thrill to get one of her pieces in our home. Jade Townsend is another incredible artist whose work I love. She is doing some beautiful things at the new Auckland gallery she co-founded — Seasons.

Tell us what you love about your Simon James pieces?

The Radice Stools were a natural fit for our space. Their simple, easy elegance and timber finish make them work so seamlessly here. Similarly, the Jiro Chair marries form with function in such an unfussy, beautiful way that when we were looking for chairs to suit working from home, this one stood out immediately. (Its rounded back also makes it really comfortable.) Also, alongside the Mahsa shirts I wear constantly and the Tekla towels and blankets I use at home, I have built a little collection of silver Sophie Buhai pieces that I really treasure. (I even wore a pair of her earrings on my wedding day).

You have taken on a new role at Denizen. Tell us about that?

I am currently the Editor at Denizen, which sees me working closely alongside its long-standing Editor-in-chief / Publisher, Claire. I have worked at Denizen (on and off) for the last 5 years so really, this role feels like an evolution of what I had been doing there before. The nature of the work means that everyday is different, and I feel very lucky to be able to have some kind of say over how the magazine (and website) is shaped editorially. It has taken a little time to figure out the right balance with Vera (being a working mum is definitely demanding) but there is such a great team around me there, which makes the juggle easier. That said, still learning as I go — I don't think that ever stops.