Chrissie and Leonie’s new Gordonton shop

Photo of Candela Design


Meet the mother and daughter team bring indoor style to Gordonton Village. Annette Taylor talks with Leonie, left, and Chrissie about their new shop, Candela Design.

Wow factor

Candela Design opened for business in early June, or, as Chrissie and Leonie Henderson point out, “just after lockdown when we hit Level 2.”

The response has been great they say. “We get a lot of comments about how lovely the space is, and how nice it is to have a store like this in Gordonton,” says Leonie.

Covid 19 did impact the pair’s plans, delaying opening by about six weeks. “We hadn’t finished fitting out the store before lockdown but once we reached level 3 we were able to open the upstairs part to get it started – and it’s just been great.”

The concept for Candela Design is built on their combined passion for high-quality pieces, well finished and bringing uniqueness to homes. “And a wow factor,” says Chrissie.

In store are furniture, soft furnishings, gifts, statement pieces – art, clocks, items that help make a statement.

Photo of interior Candela Design


Gordonton a great spot

They chose Gordonton because they would often meet here for lunch or coffee as it is halfway between their homes.

“We have tried all the cafes in the area, and really enjoy them all,” says Leonie.

Chrissie says Gordonton is a great community. “It’s really friendly, people still have time to talk while they are serving you. We love to support the businesses here so for us it is the perfect fit.”

People seem generally thrilled when they realise they are a mother/daughter team.
“We get on so well, we bounce ideas and purchases off each other to decide what we get in.”
Leonie is in charge of looking after the shop on a day-to-day basis, and Chrissie runs the interior design service.


Chrissie is a qualified early childhood teacher, and after seven years decided her passion was with interiors.

“I then studied for my diploma through Wintec. I love what I do and enjoy supporting people to create homes that suits their lifestyles. I started my interior design business a couple of years ago and after having my son, it was really great being self-employed. However, I needed a studio to work from. I asked mum if she would be interested in expanding with me, and having a store side to the business as well. She was all in, and then the planning began!”

Leonie first worked in a bookshop in Te Awamutu, gaining experience in the retail industry. “In 1986 I married and moved to Ngaruawahia with my husband, and have been farming ever since.

Their son now lives and works on that farm with his wife. “Ten years ago we bought a dairy farm between Te Hoe and Tahuna so we moved there to help milk, Last season I decided I was too old to milk cows and rear calves all the time.

“When Chrissie asked if I would join her and manage the shop side of the business I jumped at the chance to work along side of her. We have always loved design, spending hours poring over magazines and books!”
In their new shop they offer interior design services, more information for which can be found here on their website. “We intend to offer workshops teaching how to bring a room togeher, and take it to that next level,” says Leonie.

“If you do come into the store looking for a particular item and can’t find what you’re looking for, mention it to us and we can order in. We also do window treatments, curtains, blinds and shutters, feel free to talk to us about those options.”

Photo of Candela Design


Top design tips from the two

Always use a rug to frame and bring a space together (Chrissie)

Don’t be afraid to use colour! (Leonie)


Candela Design is nestled in Gordonton Village, 1062 Gordonton Rd, next to the Firepot cafe. Closed Monday, open Tuesday to Sunday, 9.30 to 4.30pm. Phone 07 824 2204.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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