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Crafting a family legacy with heritage and design BY TONY PEARSON | PHOTOGRAPHY DOMINIQUE WHITE

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hil Agnew master craftsman, and wife Maree, creative director, are the mischievous entrepreneurial husbandand-wife team behind Decade Homes. Situated in Nelson’s Founders Heritage Park, the business is focused specifically on providing customers NZ-grown solid sustainable timber, in handcrafted bespoke joinery, heritage-styled furniture, floors, siding, decks and fences. Last July the couple bought Decade Timeless Furniture from Roger Davies, along with The Siding Workshop where Phil houses his operation, and the Platform Gallery Showroom, Maree’s creative domain. After a significant health scare, they decided to commit to spending more time together, and moved to the security of their second home in Nelson. Leaving their hometown city of Christchurch where they had lost their home on Scarborough Hill due to the earthquakes, in tow with their

motorhome bus, ‘Black Betty’, a new future of togetherness and family legacy began. Sustainability and heritage are at the forefront of everything they do. “In terms of our passion, Nelson has far more to offer us than anywhere else in NZ,” explains Maree. Using NZ-grown untreated radiata, eucalyptus, beech and poplar, all sourced from local timber mills, Phil is now searching to find a local quality alternative to the western red cedar imported from Canada and USA, to use for the ‘New Decade Barn Doors’. The cedar is coming from so far away; “We need to focus on reducing carbon footprint, and supporting our sustainable communities,” explains Phil. Maree has recently designed a beautiful kitchen island to cater for the people who are wanting to up-spec the flat pack kitchen. Phil comments, “Maree creates, Phil constructs.” As all furniture and joinery is made to order, customers have the option to choose bespoke,

"The furniture is shipped all over New Zealand, the joinery and building services cater mostly for the Tasman area." P H I L AG N E W

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in colour and design. The furniture is shipped all over New Zealand, the joinery and building services cater mostly for the Tasman area. Phil specialises in restoration and replication in historic homes, windows, doors and stairs, and is currently working on a restoration project down on the Nelson waterfront. “Phil is a highly respected and amazing master craftsman,” says Maree with pride. “He was one of the first joiners in New Zealand to specialise in replica home joinery, making replica windows and doors back in the 1980s.” This is a skill much sought after in the trade. The couple’s 23-year-old son Isaak, who works full-time in the building industry, is already helping Phil out on weekends, with solid timber siding, decks, fences, and retaining walls. The hope is that Isaak will become more involved with the building side of Decade Homes, and that eventually their daughter Holly will be included. She is following in her mother’s and grandmother’s creative footsteps. The 28-year-old is a fashion designer, a highly skilled seamstress, has worked in the New Zealand film industry and owns her own clothing line. “Decade Homes is about creating The Agnew Family Legacy,” says Phil. “We want our children to be able to have their hands well and truly in the family business at some stage, when we are a little older.”

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