“Making a home your own…even if it isn’t” : ART

Studio Home - Using Art to make a space your own.

My guilty pleasure.

A piece of art to me, is something with a story. Either attached to its subject matter or the person who created it.
Art ain’t that generic canvas pulled from a stack at a chain store….although by all means buy up on those frames!

Art is food for the soul and a visual treasure that becomes part of your “home”, wherever that might be. Something that you can attach memories to, not fire at the bin when you sense that “trend” is over. Despite moving town every 3 years (from ages 18-34, including 4 x moves of island), my gradually growing art collection was absolute key to always being able to nest myself into any new space and was the first thing I unpacked and positioned. Every. Single. Time.

The power move here is placing trust in your YOUR OWN personal taste
and going with it.


When you find an artwork (sculpture, original painting, limited edition print, open edition print, embroidery, wall hanging, ceramic vessel….get my drift?) that has you looking back more than once, you know you are on a winner. On seeing work that resonates with you, check for heart palpitations or sweaty palms (seriously) as its time to start dialing into the type and style that gets YOU passionate. Not what your friends like. Not what those baby mumma instagrammers like.
Let you be attracted to what youuuuuu like….

Same goes for when you are looking through my own choices below – this is what I have been drawn to over the last 10 years and none of it may appeal…and that is OKAY ! I look at every piece and know who its by, why I have it and when it arrived in my life.
It feels good to me.

Studio Home - Using Art to make a space your own.

A peep at our newly updated bedroom plus crazy kitten.
From top: Print of fabric artwork by Rona Ngauhuia Osborne of Native Agent and purchased via The Clever Design Store. Middle: photograph of Lake Pukaki by me and blow up on poster paper. Bottom left: Drawn/stitched/painted portraits of T and I commissioned from Shayna Quinn. ***Rest of this room to be shared soon! But you can see the welcome change from beige to grey/bluewith Dulux NZ Pukaki walls and the drawers reborn in Porters Paints Chalk emulsion in Blue Steel



Home of Julia Atkinson-Dunn - Studio Home // Sofa by Nood

The current living room scenario – art in here is constantly changing, moving or emerging from a tube when the budget is there to frame! it also all feels very fluid while we plan for a paint and a re-jig of the floorplan – but hey! All homes are in motion!  From far left: “Star Jumps”, an early work by Kate Banazi. Obscured: is lovely artists proof of a photo by Kate Guthrie. Centre Top:  purchased for me by me for my 30th birthday, and totally taking advantage of Michael Peck‘s first EVER print release! Large Bottom: a photo I took of my Mum on her horse Didi as they prepared to move off before dawn with 99 other riders to commemorate Anzac Day in the Hurunui, 2015. Blown up HUGE using Parabo Press. Far Right: captivating work by Australian expat in the USA, Shannon Heath. *** and while we are at it! Delicious sheepskin from Corcovado, Sofa and Lamp from Nood, woollen blue cushion by You’re Welcome, spotty cushion by Homebase Collections and side table made by my Dad in woodwork at school.



Studio Home - Using Art to make a space your own. // A strip of wall in the yet to be painted living room - top: Jon Thom artists proof print. Bottom: A framed bandanna by Apprvl.

A strip of wall in the yet to be painted living room playing host to my blue friends – Top: Jon Thom artists proof print. Bottom: A framed bandanna by Apprvl.


The deep satisfaction of finding art that you love and revisiting this everyday with your eyes is what we are focusing on here. By indulging yourself a few knee jerk buys, you will begin to discover that they seem to “work” together. That’s your personal aesthetic shining through! Give in to it!


Finding and connecting with artists that ring bells for you is easier than EVER before with social media. So many artists use this medium, in particular Instagram to share their process, their resulting work AND as a way to connect with you, their like minded customer. This direct line to the actual maker strengthens my attachment to their work and their story adds value.


Studio Home - Using Art to make a space your own. // print by Wendy Matenga

Print by Wendy Matenga. and small embroidery work by Fleur Woods.



Studio Home - Using Art to make a space your own.

Photographic print by our friend Mickey Ross.



Tips to help you begin your own art collection:

  • Follow artists on the social media channels you use as many will hold “follower only” flash sales where you might get lucky and pick up their work a little cheaper! Start looking for local ones by browsing hashtags like #nzart #newzealandart
  • If originals are out of your reach at the moment, look to see if the artist has options in open and limited edition prints. It’s a great way to start collecting their work in lieu of your lotto win!
  • Consider scale. When possible GO BIG! The impact of something in A1 is so much more than A4.
  • Framing can be tough on the old budget. Where possible, I tend to get originals professionally framed.
    For the rest I have found great success with Factory Frames who can cut mat to fit in store, resulting in super slick results. I have also had first hand recommendations for the local online services of  Frame Fox and Framing Online , so head on over for a look!
  • Largescale frames that fit generic sizes like A2 and A3 are now much more readily available at places like Kmart, the Warehouse and Spotlight – just treat with care as they don’t tend to be very hardy.
  • When hanging, play around with grouping art and consider the scale of the furniture it is hung near. An A4 frame will look lost centered above a bed, but could look terrific if paired with another 2 pieces in matching or similar size. Refer to the Google search for “gallery wall layout” ideas.
  • Struggling to nail down an artist or style of work you really like? Take some time to browse local art meccas like Endemicworld , The Clever Design Store or the fantastic, photographic print store of collective; A Bit More Soul. OR try simply browsing the “Art” category of Studio Home that profiles over 10 years of NZ and Australian artists.
  • It’s ok for there to be a real variation in what you are attracted to. Your art doesn’t have to be matchy matchy! Over time, as you collect from your gut, you will find that you will grow groups of work that look great together, despite being produced by different artists.
    I enjoy curating groups of these for their own little displays, even recently going as far to hang all my brightest, boldest pieces in a room I purposefully painted in a dark blue in an effort to make them pop.
  • Keep your eyes peeled at antique / second hand stores. Sometimes you might spot original oil landscapes or prints of paintings, drawings or photographs that depict places of real meaning to you!
    I love finding a balance between of exciting and new vs and nostalgic and old – I mean everything will be old eventually right?!


Studio Home - Using Art to make a space your own. // the gorgeous work of Jess Cochrane

A poster by Jess Cochrane to tie me over until I can purchase one of her amazing originals!


Studio Home - Using Art to make a space your own. // work by Emma Leonard

Tiny work by Emma Leonard.



Introducing some of the artists, whose work lives in my home (and a scattering of those on my “must buy next” list!) : 
{in no particular order}


Paintings/Print Making



Studio Home - how to use Art to make your home your own. // found Aston Greathead prints of Mt Cook and Hanmer Springs

It’s worth a rummage! Secondhand store Aston Greathead prints of Mt Cook and Hanmer Springs



Studio Home - how to use Art to make your home your own. // Magnolia print by Just South West in the "calm" guest room at home

Magnolia print by Just South West in the “calm” guest room at home.



And finally – as you can see, I don’t get too hung up on how straight my frames are or if my pillows are plumped up enough! My main aim here is to show you the status quo that we live with today (art, family photos, dusty mantels, pot plants in various states of survival etc) knowing that next week it will likely be different.

Our homes are always in motion my friends.

xo Ju


NOTE: This is a largely expanded version of an article first written by me for Stuff in 2017. Just in case it feels familiar! 

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