Inside a safari-themed home packed with pattern and colour


Anna Thomson embraced a safari theme for the interior of her home. The zebra print rug came from her previous home and was so large, it made both a rug for this room and a runner for the hall. The green tropical fabric is from the Living Room, upholsterers based in Ngauranga Gorge.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

Anna Thomson embraced a safari theme for the interior of her home. The zebra print rug came from her previous home and was so large, it made both a rug for this room and a runner for the hall. The green tropical fabric is from the Living Room, upholsterers based in Ngauranga Gorge.

Anna Thomson (Te Āti Awa) is a Wellington public servant who lives in Whitby with her fiancé Scott Bennison, also a public servant, and their three cats, Gizmo, Nero and Nefertari.

ANNA THOMSON: I bought this house in February 2021 after a change in circumstances. I’d previously been living in Khandallah and was looking for a place with lots of sunshine and space.

We started looking in December 2020, but there wasn’t much around at the time. I started to panic that I wouldn’t find something in time. It meant that we extended our search area. Scott is from Whitby but didn’t really want to live there again.

However, we found this house which is in a newer area, has amazing sea views and at 273sqm gives us the space we were looking for.

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It also has a garden because Scott loves gardening and I love sunbathing. I’m like a lizard, I love the sun and a warm house.

A water feature that even the cats love.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

A water feature that even the cats love.

Scott built the deck himself and added raised vege and herb beds and the water feature. I’d been searching for the right water feature for ages and finally found this online. It’s so calming and the cats love drinking from it.

This house was five years old and although it wasn’t designed in my style, it was a blank canvas I knew I could do something with.

I’d worked with Wellington interior designer Karen Delehanty a few times so asked her to help me bring my love of colour, animal prints and safari style to the house.

The master bedroom thriving with the floral wallpaper.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

The master bedroom thriving with the floral wallpaper.

His and hers cushions which were a spur of the moment purchase while on holiday in Taupo.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

His and hers cushions which were a spur of the moment purchase while on holiday in Taupo.

That includes the wallpaper in the master bedroom. Karen sourced all the wallpaper from Cole & Son.

I found the giraffe lamps at Ballantynes in Christchurch and then had to squeeze them into the overhead lockers on the plane home.

In the last few years, I’ve been on a journey of learning te reo and about my whakapapa. I found the embroidered king and queen bed cushions in a shop in Taupō and thought they were a bit of fun.

Designer Karen Delehanty helped bring Thomson’s love of animal prints and safari to the house.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

Designer Karen Delehanty helped bring Thomson’s love of animal prints and safari to the house.

The lion pen drawings are by artist Hannah Shand.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

The lion pen drawings are by artist Hannah Shand.

The blue wallpaper in the living/dining space is also from Cole & Son. The lion pen drawings are by artist Hannah Shand who I met when she was working at World in Wellington.

I’ve commissioned quite a bit of work from her, she’s amazing.

The dining chairs and table are Italian and came from two houses ago. My previous interior designer found them.

A cross stitch design by Thomson’s mother-in-law, Anne Bennison which took 700 hours.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

A cross stitch design by Thomson’s mother-in-law, Anne Bennison which took 700 hours.

The blue picture of the lions is actually cross-stitch and was done by my mother-in-law to be, Anne Bennison.

She spent 700 hours on it and gave it to me for Christmas last year.

If someone spends 700 hours on a gift, it means they must be happy for me to marry their son.

Thomson designed the wall bookshelf.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

Thomson designed the wall bookshelf.

I designed the wall bookshelf and had it made by Stash in Upper Hutt. World is one of my favourite shops and the staff know my love for safari animals, so will often call and tell me about things, such as the black giraffe lamp.

I bought the leather and wood Louis Vuitton mascot, Vivian, from Louis Vuitton in Auckland. She’s called Safari Vivian, so of course I had to have her. She’s definitely a talking point in our formal living room.

One of Thomson’s favourite items in the house is a leather and wood Louis Vuitton mascot.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

One of Thomson’s favourite items in the house is a leather and wood Louis Vuitton mascot.

I swapped the green sofa in the formal living room with a friend for a futon bed. I’d seen the green tropical fabric on the Instagram account of the Living Room, upholsterers in Ngauranga Gorge, so got them to re cover the sofa in the same fabric.

The zebra print rug came from my previous home and was so large, I had it chopped up for this room and for a runner in the entrance.

This copper pot was rescue from a dump.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

This copper pot was rescue from a dump.

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