People

Jacks for four trades

Designer duo Douglas Johns and Marta Buda bring new meaning to the word busy – but very happily so.

Wellington-based designers Douglas Johns and Marta Buda are known for doing many things well; their combined ‘tool-belt’ giving them the ability to master a wide range of creative endeavours. For starters, Doug works fulltime with Coffee Supreme as their designer and marketing guy, while Marta is a mother and freelance textile designer currently working for Twenty Seven Names and Auckland-based label Penny Sage.

But, though their days are largely taken up with work for other people, they still find the energy to undertake their own creative projects, with Doug crocheting beanies and blocking out days for photo shoots, and Marta hand-dyeing natural yarn for her intricate weavings.

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They have also taken the time to create a functional home that suits both their creative needs and the requirements of family life. The couple undertook renovations prior to moving into their Brooklyn house, removing walls and adding a skylight to achieve an open, light-filled sanctuary. This, paired with good insulation, allows them to enjoy the warmth of their home – and especially their main congregating space, the dining area.

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The table, which they inherited when friends moved overseas, hosts shared meals, as well as functioning as an office space, loom area, and even a frame for a fort for their four-year-old daughter Anouk. “We really value a humble home,” says Doug, “a space that isn’t pretentious, but that is thoughtful and liveable and where children can play without the fear of something being broken.”

Anouk’s presence has not only shaped their home life, but also the design of their interior space. The compact layout and connected flow mean that Marta or Doug can be preparing food in the kitchen, while Anouk plays nearby, still clearly in view. A new deck has expanded the living space through to the outdoors, and has connected them to their new plantings, which are eagerly observed as the garden takes shape.

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Aside from simply creating a treasured environment within the home, the house positions Doug close to work, and near to their friends and family. The backdrop of the hills and beaches adds to their love of this compact, liveable city, and when not involved in their projects, garden and enjoying life with Anouk, they take pleasure in visits to their favourite local bays.

Doug’s 9-5 job lends itself to a deep appreciation of coffee and weekend mornings tend to find them breakfasting longer, with round-two coffees.

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After hours, Doug is currently working on crocheting more beanies, as well as on a project for Little and Friday. Meanwhile, Marta is finishing off a couple of weaving commissions alongside him. With artistic drive, talent and the energy of young-family life, their functional, beautiful home is just another blank canvas for this creative family.

To see more of Douglas and Marta’s continually evolving projects, visit douglasajohns.com and martabuda.com

Words Sammy-Rose Scapens     
Photography Heather Liddell