How Julia Matthews keeps her (almost) all-white house clean with a toddler and a dog

Julia Matthews, owner of Two Islands, at her home in Auckland with her son Lenny and Penelope the dog.

Jason Dorday / Stuff

Julia Matthews, owner of Two Islands, at her home in Auckland with her son Lenny and Penelope the dog.

Julia Matthews (Ngāti Maniapoto) is the director of Two Islands, a wellness supplement company she started four years ago. Matthews lives at Northcote Point in Auckland with his partner Cam Logan, co-owner of the St Clements furniture business, their son Lenny, 2, and Penelope the dog. They are expecting twins in October.

JULIA MATTHEWS: I bought this house last March. This is a two bedroom cottage built in 1890. We love the location and the character of the house.

We had big plans for that. We were going to expand and install a new kitchen and a new bathroom.

But then I found out I was pregnant with twins and we realized the house would be too small for three kids. So we are unfortunately selling it and soon have to find a three bedroom house.

We have done some renovations. There are two bedrooms downstairs and Lenny has one, but the other bedroom is small, so we turned the loft into our bedroom.

We also painted the exterior and interior, changing the interior walls from a soft gray to a crisp white. It’s only 80 square meters, so painting it white made it look more spacious.

Matthews worked with a designer on the kitchen and chose a soft sage green to match the character of the house.

Jason Dorday / Stuff

Matthews worked with a designer on the kitchen and chose a soft sage green to match the character of the house.

The floating shelf is made from the same stone as the worktop.

Jason Dorday / Stuff

The floating shelf is made from the same stone as the worktop.

I had already ordered the new kitchen before learning that I was pregnant.

The previous kitchen was old and tired and because it’s a thoroughfare – the bedrooms are at one end and the open-plan living and dining area at the other – we spend a lot of time there.

I worked with a designer but changed some of her plans, including having the cabinets painted a sage green color that more closely matches the character of the house. I also replaced the black tile backsplash with the same stone we used for the table top and floating shelf.

Julia Matthews and Penelope the dog enjoy their sunny terrace.

Jason Dorday / Stuff

Julia Matthews and Penelope the dog enjoy their sunny terrace.

One of our favorite spots is the back deck. It is a real sunbathing area and an extension of our living room. We grow vegetables there.

People often ask how it works with all-white interiors, including a white sofa, with children and pets.

My answer is to have washable covers that you can launder. I throw these blankets in the bath with Napisan, and they come out perfectly clean.

The light up chair is from St Clements, the furniture brand that Matthews partner Cam Logan runs with his brother.

Jason Dorday / Stuff

The light up chair is from St Clements, the furniture brand that Matthews partner Cam Logan runs with his brother.

The white sofa stays clean – despite a toddler and a dog – thanks to washable covers and Napisan.  The vintage wooden cabinet, left, was purchased on Trade Me, bringing a mix of old and new to the space.

Jason Dorday / Stuff

The white sofa stays clean – despite a toddler and a dog – thanks to washable covers and Napisan. The vintage wooden cabinet, left, was purchased on Trade Me, bringing a mix of old and new to the space.

The walnut chair with mustard cushions is from St Clements. Cam’s brother, with whom he owns the business, designed it and named it after his son Rumi.

I loved the color and was lucky enough to get the chair sample. It’s such a cheerful pop of color.

The dining room is so small that Cam had to make a table to fit it. He also made benches that can be slid under the table.

the Jet Planes artwork of Julia Matthews' friend Simon Lewis Ward;  he also did the K-bar wrapping art below.

Jason Dorday / Stuff

the Jet Planes artwork of Julia Matthews’ friend Simon Lewis Ward; he also did the K-bar wrapping art below.

My small but growing collection of artwork is on display at the bottom of the stairs.

The iconic Bushells print was a giveaway and I love it because I know this building so well. The K Bar packaging artwork is by my friend Simon Lewis Wards, while the sea photo is by Kiwi photographer Dan Max.

I was approached by Tamāhine Tribe Studio who wanted to do an artwork of Lenny and me. They create stunning digital illustrations of wāhine Māori, for wāhine Māori by wāhine Māori, I said yes and I love it.

Tamāhine Tribe Studio produced the top left illustration, which shows Julia with a baby Lenny.

Jason Dorday / Stuff

Tamāhine Tribe Studio produced the top left illustration, which shows Julia with a baby Lenny.

Most of our furniture is from Cam’s company. But I found the vintage wooden cabinet in the living room on Trade Me. I like the idea of ​​mixing old and new, and it provides much-needed storage space for books.

I’ll be sad to leave here and looking for a house when there isn’t much is a bit grim. I want a villa, but Cam is hoping for something more modern.

I hope we can find something before the twins arrive.

The dining space is small in the cottage, so Logan designed this table and banquettes to accommodate it.

Jason Dorday / Stuff

The dining space is small in the cottage, so Logan designed this table and banquettes to accommodate it.