The home Jess Britten shares with husband Warren, daughter Stevie and beautiful son Walter, are what dreams are made of.
A lovingly restored hall - its extensive renovations documented on blog and Instagram account Hall We Need - Jess' home is an ode to the family's collective personalities. Its character-filled spaces and walls provide the perfect canvas for special treasures and forever pieces, a notion that extends to Jess' wardrobe and personal aesthetic.
In the lead up to Mothers Day, we caught up with Jess (and Walter!) to talk about her renovation, the importance of quality and finding the perfect in the imperfect.
Tell us about your beautiful home - what made you fall in love with it and how has the renovation been so far?
Thank you! We live in a historic hall in Auckland. We bought it 6 years ago when it was run down and falling into a state of disrepair. Right from when we first saw it I felt incredibly inspired by the potential it had. We spent 4 years living in it and doing DIY to make it liveable in the short term, while we made our long term plans and worked on getting council approval. Finally in 2020 we were ready to start substantial structural renovations. We finished in late 2020 and really feel like the potential I saw on that first visit has been realised. It is enormously gratifying.
How would you describe your aesthetic? Are there similarities between the way you dress and how you curate your home?
Style to me is having depth of character, authenticity and charm. It’s having imperfections and stories to tell. For me, the hall definitely has that and I would be humbled to think that carries through into the way I dress too.
As a busy mother, what do you look for in effortless, everyday pieces? What is the key to a successful outfit for you?
Practicality and comfort are key for me. Trans-seasonal pieces that can be layered and cared for easily tend to get the most use.
Which piece are you coveting from Laing's new Autumn /Winter collection?
I love how the whole collection works together so effortlessly, but my favourite picks are the Nico Oversized Rollneck in Rose and the classic Amy ll jumper that looks so versatile.
How will you be wearing/styling this piece as we head into the cooler months? What will you be wearing it with?
I’m a big fan of looks that can be styled up or down easily so I can go from the playground with the kids to a work meeting or dinner with friends by quickly changing my sneakers to boots and ditching the baby bag for a handbag and adding some jewellery.
What do you admire most about Laing and the brand's ethos?
I really love the brand's emphasis on quality and the way Laing uses authentic materials to create garments with longevity. I look forward to each collection to see what I can add to my wardrobe that will be on rotation for years to come.
What are some of the treasures in your home? How important is it, and how do you select those forever pieces?
The pieces I value most are heirloom family treasures or special pieces given to me by loved ones. A few that stand out…a drawing my dad did a few weeks before he passed away, brass candle sticks given to my parents as a wedding gift, Warrens dads record collection, ceramic pieces made by Warrens incredible grandma and art by local women like Carmel Van Der Hoven and Dominique Marriott.