Jenny Cain’s New Zealand retreat is the neutral retreat you’d expect
Before she founded her eponymous fashion brand at the age of 19, Jenny Cain was fond of playing house. “When exams were coming up, I would hear her rearranging her bedroom,” her mother, Susan Cain, says audibly. Her talent for redecorating took a back seat in early adulthood as she focused on building her lifestyle brand, which is now known for dominating Instagram ads as well as her much more understated approach to basics and neutrals. Give Kayne the most ordinary, humble item — say, a pocket tee — and watch her elevate it into the most fashionable version of herself.
It’s a beguiling superpower, and one that Cain’s parents were wise to take advantage of when it came to bringing their New Zealand coastal compound back to life. From her base in Beverly Hills, their daughter has just launched the Jenni Kayne Home Collection — a collection of furniture and homewares that epitomize her signature cozy California aesthetic.
On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, perched on a dramatic sand dune, a New Zealand home is a new build designed to do nothing but stand out. To hear the family tell it, it’s a natural culmination of two of her father Rick Cain’s greatest passions: New Zealand and golf. The Los Angeles-based billionaire investor visited the country for the first time in 1996, on a golf trip. He was instantly impressed, and wasted no time in bringing his family to experience the landscape for themselves. Rick then acquired a plot of land in the beach town of Mangawhai. There, he built Tara Iti, a world-famous golf course, a 48-room hotel whose interiors Cain also designed, and finally the main house that would become her family’s center of gravity.
Jeff Fearon of Oakland and Los Angeles-based Fearon High led the architecture. Cain was responsible for the interiors, a task that involved filling a large, angular structure in a way that conveyed warmth and comfort. Another thing to consider was reconciling the tastes of her mother, who grew up in the American South and leaned toward the classics. Her father, who loves everything very modern. Its clean and comfortable atmosphere.
Landscape designer Susan Turley was brought in to bring a mix of native plants to the property. “I’m not the person who eventually comes in and puts geraniums in planters,” Turley says. She saturated three interior courtyards with soft, lush plantings and came up with an exterior design that incorporated a gradient from brown in the center of the house to green extending toward the lawn.
The furnishings are a mix of Kayne’s own designs, antiques and custom pieces. A significant amount of paints and formulas come from Jenny Cain’s partner brands such as Portola Paints, Waterworks and Plain English. On the whole, the scheme was closer to producing instinct. “My mom really let me get on with it,” Cain says. Mother and daughter were in constant communication, reviewing floor plans and thinking about furniture pieces.
The Cayenne’s airy, uncluttered curve complements the natural environment. Large unadorned windows open to the sea or huge sand dunes. “When you look at these huge mounds of sand, it can feel a little bit like Star Wars,” Cain says. The natural surroundings are a perfect companion to Kayne’s interiors, which don’t rely on gimmicks. She sees sticking to neutrals, as she has done over the past two decades, as a challenge. “I think you can have a lot of fun with materials and texture, and bring a pop of color with art,” she says. “I’m tired of things being too bold.”
The custom pieces I’ve included are linked to their own rulebook. A dining table by Parisian designer Joseph Dirand is made of white oak and adds a quiet shot of drama to the great room. “This is probably my favorite part of the house,” Cain says. “The doors are always open. I always take my shoes off, and don’t put them back on until it’s time to go home.
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of ELLE DECOR. Participate
(Tags for translation)Jenny Kayne