Double Bay Villa Restoration – Interview with Claire Hahn

Post date

Angela Gregg catches up with Designer Claire Hahn to talk through the progress of turning her relocated double bay villa into an uber stylish West Auckland abode. West Auckland is a big move from central Takapuna- why West Auckland?

Haines Group Houses for sale

Relocated Double bay Villa relocated by Haines group from Epsom to West Auckland

We have talked about moving more rural for years.  We wanted more space for our children to enjoy growing up, a more grass roots childhood.  West Auckland is embracing incredible growth so we hope our acreage is an investment into our future.  As a passionate foodie I am thoroughly enjoying the amazing food and beverage local spots West Auckland has to offer such as The Hunting Lodge, The Tasting Shed, Borich Food Market and Hobsonville point eateries and markets.

How is the house coming along?

Really well! We moved in just before the last level 4 lockdown in Auckland which has proved challenging but we are now working on stage two of the project which includes the kitchen and dining area and our fourth bedroom.

Greg Hahn Double Bay Villa

Double Bay Villa with new roof

Have you done a relocatable home before?

No, its all been a very new experience for me so I am so thankful that Haines House Haulage has managed the move from start to finish for me.

Your gorgeous 120 year old villa was a rest home on Gillies Ave.  What made you choose this particular home?

This was the first one I looked at but at first I was intimidated by the scale of the project.  Haines had an amazing amount of quality homes available but ultimately nothing quite compared to the Gillies Ave home.  I fell in love with the hallway and its impressive arch and knowing this, Haines carefully removed the arch and laid it flat for the move to guarantee its safe transportation.

Before & after restoration

Hallway before & after restoration


You work in fashion but have taken to interior design with gusto.  What are your inspirations and influences behind your design?

I am strongly drawn towards French Modern and Post Modern aesthetics. I want to create a neutral modular space that can be updated seasonally by moving furniture and changing pops of colour in my soft furnishings and art.

Speaking of colour- what are you using to create that neutral base?

I am using Resene Black White on all the walls throughout the home in an ultra low sheen for a superior matte finish. The ceilings are Resene ¼ black white so with the light reflection everything appears to be a uniform colour. I am using the same colour for the trims but using a Resene Lustacryl which is hardwearing for a rough and tumble family of five.  I believe a home should not only be beautiful but also be functional and hard wearing for our lifestyle.


You have chosen to use a lot of custom elements in your home. Tell us about that?

Ultimately I couldn’t find what I wanted.  I did a lot of research and found that custom made options were not necessarily more expensive.  I designed the vanities for both the main bathroom and the ensuite and had the cabinetry made by Munns Kitchens in Kumeu, sourced the tops from Fenix and purchased the bowls separately.

Hahn Double Bay Villa Restoration

Hahn Double Bay Villa Restoration

We love the double vanity feature in the main bathroom!

Same! It adds interest in an otherwise very slick space. The mirrors were a great budget find from Kmart for $40 each! This home is a real high/low mix, which I think creates personality.


Double Vanity in Ensuite

Double Vanity in Ensuite – two person wall in shower


Main Bathroom with double vanities

Main Bathroom with double vanities – Floor to ceiling wall tiles

When it comes to furnishing your home, what inspires you?

Not what- but who! I am really inspired by American interior designer Kelly Wearstler and how she mixes new and old, hard and soft, and unexpected pieces together in an unexpected way.

Did she inspire your amazing master bedside tables?

She did! These are custom made by an amazing Father/Daughter team right here in Auckland.  Where possible I would prefer to support local makers over mass produced imports.  By____gande create the most beautiful tile furniture and the proportions work perfectly with the black leather headboard which was a Trade Me find.

Master bedroom

Master Bedroom of Restored Double Bay Villa

Any other great tips for sourcing interesting pieces?

I have really enjoyed up-cycling a few pieces including a coffee table I found on Facebook Marketplace using Resene Resitex in Blanc.  My dining table came from Marketplace too. Don’t over look mixing vintage pieces with modern! For soft furnishings and home decor I love Home Lab Store and Ornament.  High street stores such as Kmart, The Warehouse and Bed Bath and Beyond offer some great on trend accessories on a budget.

Parlour Room of Double bay Villa

Main Parlour of Double Bay Villa

Lastly, what’s been the greatest challenge in doing a relocatable?

Timing! Nobody saw a global pandemic coming and our home had only been on site for a short time before New Zealand was plunged into lockdown meaning our construction came to a standstill. Although our time line has changed with lockdown delays and supply issues we progress everyday.

Thanks so much for chatting Claire! We cant wait to check in with you soon.

Big thanks Haines Group