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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Rooms by Jane Usher and John Walsh


Rooms must be the most beautiful book of 2022! With glorious full-page photography by distinguished photographer Jane Usher of interiors from across New Zealand homes and with text by John Walsh, this is a must-have book for anyone interested in interior design. It’s a book to treasure, from the stunning cover and French fold jacket, the hot pink fabric case underneath and divine endpapers, and two velvet ribbons to complete the package.


The photography was taken over two years, and each photograph draws you in with its lavish detail and superb lighting, all the images unique, intriguing and beautiful.


The 90 homes featured in Rooms pages are varied. There is Government House in Wellington, Larnach’s Castle in Dunedin, Mahurangi House in North Auckland, and various villas, houses, and cottages around the country.


The interior photographs are carefully curated, and as John Walsh writes in his introduction, ‘The things in a room, as Ussher shows in this book, are the means by which a space is claimed by its inhabitants…Each room is a story, once that the inhabitants tell both to themselves and to the visitors they admit to their private domain.’


What a story these photos of rooms tell! I contemplate the white ceramic hands upraised in greeting in Carterton House. There are intricate ornaments in Olveston House in Dunedin to enjoy. There is the minimalism of a Freeman’s Bay Cottage in Auckland to contemplate by contrast. I step back in time, enjoying the elaborate bed in the Mansion House master bedroom on Kawau Island. The rose wallpaper draws the eye in a Parnell House in Auckland. I want to be in the library of Loudon Farm, Teddington, Banks Peninsula. The list goes on – so many intriguing spaces to enjoy…

Information about each home in the back of the book satisfies many questions – a welcome addition to this gorgeous book. But it is the photographs that are centre stage and in the spotlight in all their glory.


Rooms is a stunning book. Thank you to Jane Ussher for these sensational photos and to John Walsh for the insightful text – and thank you to the homeowners who agreed to have these gorgeous spaces photographed for us all to enjoy.


Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Massey University Press

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