A slice of home life with stylist Sam van Kan, who has a new creative pursuit

To me, home is somewhere I feel at peace. I make my bed every morning — and actually enjoy doing it. Then I boil the jug to make a pour-over filter coffee; there’s a slowness to the pour-over that makes you appreciate the process. 

There’s a massive tree growing outside my bedroom window and I love the dappled light it casts, the sounds it makes in the wind, and watching it sway in a storm. It’s like living in a treehouse and has made me commit to bringing more plants inside.
Although when I’m not on photoshoots I work from home anyway, this year has made me truly grateful for my neighbourhood — the friendly faces we see on our walks, the daily joke left on a gate for everyone to enjoy and the neighbour we hear singing to Elton John on repeat.

MAIN IMAGE Sam says her living room gets beautiful morning light and she likes sitting on the sofa with her coffee “stitching as the sun makes its way over”. ABOVE She’s housing her works in box frames made by her dad from rescued rimu.

When lockdown 1.0 began, I was low on work, so I knew I needed a project to keep my hands and mind busy. There’s something so therapeutic about the rhythm of stitching and I’ve always loved the idea of creating art with embroidery, so I started making needlepoint weavings. I start the warp and weft simply, alternating three or four colours and varying the strands of thread. It’s not until I add details with another couple of colours that it really begins to take shape. I guess it’s about finding a balance between light and dark, tonal and contrast.  

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Modern ways to make a life at home in New Zealand.



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