Scandinavian Style in New Zealand

Gemma Cagnacci and Andrew Meehan spend most of their time in an apartment in Sydney, but a couple of times a year, they travel to Dunedin, New Zealand to visit Andrew’s family. And when there, they stay in their own little cabin on his parents’ property. It was initially an old railway cabin used by rail workers who were laying tracks in New Zealand, and as a teenager, Andrew used the cabin as his bedroom (He was one lucky teenager!). Then, a little over a year ago, the couple decided to make it into a vacation retreat. Gemma is a designer for a textile company by day where she creates products for various Australian retailers, and in her spare time, she runs Line x Color x Shape, a blog about all things aesthetic. Andrew is a designer for a renowned Australian architectural firm and has a background in retail design. So when these two put their heads together to come up with a design for the cottage, they had a pretty solid sense of what they were looking for. They aimed to create a space that was clean, simple and light-filled with some warmth. They took a lot of inspiration from Scandinavian interiors, but wanted to be sure to reference the cabin’s Pacific location by sourcing pieces from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and also from their travels around the world. –Amy

Photography by Gemma Cagnacci

Image above: “The exterior is painted in Double Cod Grey by Resene Paints,” Gemma says. “The cabin was originally an old railway shelter used by railway workers in remote locations. It then had a second life as Andrew’s bedroom when he was a teenager, and was renovated just over a year ago by us to use when visiting Andrew’s family on their farm in Dunedin, New Zealand.”

Image above: “The bed was found and bought on Trade Me (a New Zealand version of eBay) before we flew in to do-up the space, the rug is a vintage Afghan carpet, the artwork above the bed is an old bark tapa cloth from Papua New Guinea, the suitcase belonged to Andrew’s grandfather, and Andrew found the log on the property which we then turned into a bedside table/stool.”


See more of this precious New Zealand cabin after the jump!

Image above: “The shelves are from IKEA and are filled with photos and artwork we created ourselves, including found pieces from an old barn on the property and vintage New Zealand postcards to reference our cabin’s location.”


Image above: “Most of the photos have been taken on our many trips to New Zealand. After visiting family, we always try to visit a new place when we visit New Zealand and love to capture the incredible landscape.”

Image above: “The beaker is from an online science supply store, the crystals were bought at a market in Queenstown, New Zealand, and the vintage ruler was found at a flea market in Beijing, China.”

Image above: “I painted some of Andrew’s old surfboard fins and thought they would make a nice addition to the space. The cabin is right by the beach, and some of New Zealand’s best surf breaks. I wanted to add a few hints to this location and the fact that Andrew loves surfing.”


Image above: “Gumboots are a necessity on a farm and I particularly love my Hunters – so classic!”



Image above: “One of the many beautiful sunsets seen from the property.”

Image above: “An absolutely incredible location!”


  1. Love this cabin. So fresh and inviting inside. Although it looks great black, I would probably go lighter to keep it cooler. Other than that it is perfect! It caught my eye and then I noticed Gemma is a textile design too so I had to check out her blog. Thank you Design Sponge for posting such great content :)

  2. Anna Sundman says:

    Is the plant in the beaker real and if so, do you know what it is? (Besides gorgeous, of course.) Love this home, especially the black and white artwork on the shelves.

  3. Jeanne Apelseth says:

    When can I come and stay? Looks like the perfect relaxing getaway!

  4. Malia says:

    I am so in love with New Zealand, I told my husband that I would move there in a heartbeat! I love their choice of waiting the interior white, definitely opens up such a small space. Definitely the perfect vacation retreat!

  5. Nina says:

    Beautiful space. I love the exterior color, that contrast is excellent! Just one more reason to visit New Zealand. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Charity says:

    What a precious little gem of a home. I absolutely adore its size and dark exterior!

  7. Anna, the plant is real, although I am not exactly sure what it is as I picked it from the garden. It’s super pretty!

    Thank you everyone for the lovely comments!

  8. I love everything about this home. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Samantha says:

    I love living in New Zealand. It’s just such a great environment – city and country. Dunedin would be pretty cold though…!

  10. Kit says:

    @SAMANTHA COBOS – having been to this part of the world, I can assure you that keeping it cool is not a problem. The black was a brilliant choice in a a very cold, unforgiving part of the world, no matter how sunny the photos look!

  11. Alix says:

    I want to move in!

  12. Rachael says:

    @Anna, I think the plant is coprosma – a NZ native.

  13. Connie says:

    Love the simple lines, clean palette, and the natural touches……beautiful! C:

  14. 2moiselles says:

    Thanks for sharing, I love the idea of this cabin. The interior decoration is very lovely!! Thanks for sharing

  15. Que maravilla de casa!!!!!
    Sencilla y acogedora, perfecta!


  16. Kate says:

    Wow. In the immortal words of Liz Lemon: “I want to go to there”.

  17. Virginia says:

    Just discovered here my favourite house. And it is in my favourite country!


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