THE former Roman Catholic Convent in Winton’s North Rd was a sanctuary for many.
Built in 1903, it had five dormitories for the nuns, a room for the priest and a guest room for visitors, as well as the obligatory chapel. Later, the enclosed balcony was added which was also used for accommodation by some of the nuns.
Many people from Winton will have fond memories of the convent and the nuns, and possibly even the visitors’ guest room on the lower floor. They may have visited prior to getting married, for lessons, to learn music or for solace.
Almost 117 years later, the convent now houses a family, Hannah and Adam Hawkins and their children, and Hannah’s beauty and massage therapy retreat, hannah’s powder room.
The couple bought the convent about four years ago, Hannah said.
“We fell in love with it… and moved from Invercargill.”
Her affection for the building is obvious as she shows old photos of the convent and the former Roman Catholic Church which originally resided next door.
Hannah said she had been wanting to establish a business for a while and as the large, rambling, old building with its many rooms oozed so much potential, it seemed only natural to use the former guest room on the lower floor room has been transformed into a haven.
A trained sports, therapeutic and relaxation masseuse, Hannah said she wanted to give her clients more options to complement their beauty treatments and pamper preferences.
A friendly, relaxed and sociable person, Hannah said she wanted to create a sanctuary for “people to feel welcome and have a nice experience”.
Whether it be a full bridal party, a special event such as going to the races, a ball or attending a wedding, or simply just to gather some friends for a pamper function, Hannah offered a range of treatments from head to toe.
For bridal parties, Hannah said she began with a consultation and a full bridal makeup trial to ensure the bride would be happy with the look.
“It is important a bride looks how they want to on the day.”
To make the most of the experience, Hannah suggested they had the trial on a day when they were going to something special.
“It is also a good idea to ensure their partner also likes the look, as sometimes people can look quite different when fully made up,” she said.
Hot stones and therapeutic massage were other options, as well as pedicures and manicures, nail art, teeth whitening and dental jewellery.
“I love everything about it,” Hannah said.
“I love doing the massages, especially the hot stone treatments… I love making people feel good.
Hannah said the nail art gave her an outlet for her creative side.
“I love doing the nails, especially creating little works of art.”
Clients could supply their own pictures, or Hannah could create a miniature work of art.
“Any colour, any design, it can be as creative as they want.”
To add a twinkle to a smile, Hannah also offered a dental jewellery service using Swarovski dental crystals in a range of colours or Twinkles made from gold and diamantes which were glued on using dental bracket (braces) glue.
“I find the dental jewellery is more popular when I am wearing one.”