Building Beautiful Homes – Introduction to Design with Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan and Thomas's, Building Beautiful Homes

If you’re planning on building a new house, renovating your current one, or just updating your well loved spaces so they function better and truly reflect the people living in them – then grab a friend and come along to our evening of wine, nibbles and words of wisdom with qualified interior designer Kate Duncan on 26 May.

Kate has an impressive background with a Bachelor of Spatial Design from the Auckland Institute of Technology where she specialised in Architectural Interiors and graduated first place in her year winning the Atrium on Elliott prize for Excellence and Professionalism in Design. Her work since has included upgrading a block of A-listed Heritage Buildings on Vulcan Lane in central Auckland, designing a range of furniture – several items of which are still in production today – and then opening and running her own busy and successful interior and spatial design company, Trinity, in Grey Lynn, Auckland.

Since moving back to Marlborough in 2006, Kate has continued to design under the radar while bringing up her family, with work including private residential homes, a hairdressing salon in post-quake Christchurch and a series of projects for a Marlborough winery.

Kate believes good design is about meeting people’s needs:

“The key is to create spaces where people can live and be happy, be themselves and connect with each other. This means simple, beautiful, quality design that is accessible to everyone.”

Thomas's Homeware, bowls plus marble boards


“We are faced with media pressure to have our houses ‘finished’ and magazine ready but we have to take time to build our homes, and build them over a lifetime. Don’t be afraid to leave gaps and don’t feel you have to fill your house up with cheap stuff right now. Give it time. Stories should be attached to each piece in your home, whether it’s something that’s been passed down through the family or something which is new and has your story attached.”

“And we should think about why specific products are a good investment. Natural materials improve with age and the odd scratch not only doesn’t matter, but actually enhances its beauty. We want a dining table that shows its love – that you can have a conversation over and bring up children at.  We should be designing with natural materials – real timber furniture, real leather, cotton sheets, wool throws and furnishings – locally raised Merino wool so we’re supporting our farmers is even better. There is an absolute intrinsic connection between what you buy and what is happening in your town.”

Keen to expand our homewares offerings, our staff got talking to Kate last year and an exciting partnership began.Thomas's Marlborough, homewares

Along with Kate we believe quality, timeless products that are ethically and locally made are imperative to good design. In Kate’s words:

“Thomas’s is such a great family run store which has been here for 105 years. Let’s keep money in the local economy rather than buying out of town. We all need each other. I’d like to encourage people to spend local and to buy things that will last, that you might even pass on to your children – sofas that you can sit on for 30 years, not five years.”

Come along to Thomas’s Homewares department at 6pm on 26 May and you’re in for a treat as Kate discusses:

  • the most important aspects to consider in any successful project
  • a brief introduction to design theory and design process
  • design forecasting and how to future-proof your scheme
  • a presentation of some of the latest fabrics, furniture and finishes
  • seasonal tips for dressing your home for the upcoming winter weather

Over the coming months we’re going to feature more about Kate’s inspiring design philosophy and how to make it work in your home. Watch this space!


Thursday 26 May, 6pm start

Thomas’s Homeware

Please RSVP to or call 578 6369

Drinks and nibbles provided



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