How To Successfully Nail An Open Plan Home

How To Successfully Nail An Open Plan Home

An open plan home is the modern design approach for the smart use of space. However, large spaces can be difficult to contain and decorate. For space AND intimacy, follow these essential tips.

An open plan home is a powerful design statement being spacious with a timeless aesthetic. Boasting freedom of movement, modern homes are now highly social spaces whereby the kitchen is no longer isolated.

As interior designers and renovators, the single biggest area of our work is designing an open plan home with a luxurious kitchen. This space is always connected to a casual dining and living area that flows outdoors via bi-fold or stacker doors. This creates seamless indoor-outdoor living perfect for the Australian lifestyle.

Whilst undeniably aesthetic in nature, there are certain rules to consider for the successful interior design of an open floor plan home.

An Open Plan Home Makes Multiple Rooms into One

In an existing home, it’s common to combine two or more smaller rooms into one spacious kitchen-living combo. Did you know this can have numerous benefits for your psychological well-being?

#1 Benefit: There is a sense of freedom when walls and doors are removed. The removal of these ‘obstacles’ creates a calmness which is highly beneficial.

#2 Benefit: Removing walls will let in more natural light to saturate an expansive interior. Natural light is one of the key architectural tenets that help create a beautiful home.

Are you concerned about noise levels, kitchen aromas, or the lack of privacy? All these issues can be addressed with the smart use of ventilation, textures and layering, and medium-rise furniture.

Retain Structural Integrity

When designing an open plan home, never compromise the structural integrity of the existing building. Always seek advice from a Master Builder to ensure load-bearing walls and other weak points are identified. Load-bearing walls can be removed but must be strengthened with suitable beams, ceiling joists or columns.

Create A Focal Point In Your Open Plan Home

Having a focal point will draw the eye to a feature in an open plan space. Consider a stone fireplace, an oversized window, or cathedral ceilings. Every room should have some type of focal point. However, in an open plan home, it’s a way to create intimacy. Because furniture and fixtures can be created around a focal point.

For example, having well-considered furniture styled around a fireplace creates a delineated conversation area. It keeps the space open but also creates a more intimate environment.

Decorating an open plan home can be difficult for the novice decorator. However, consider having a suitable interior designer engaged even before the building stage. Why? Because a qualified interior designer will be able to analyse the proposed floor plan, identify ways to maximise the space, design joinery AND decorate the finished space.

An interior designer will use furniture, lighting, colour, texture, and accessories to fully decorate an open concept space. They will do this in such a way that the space feels intimate not cavernous.

Keep A Unified Theme

Open concept homes must be cohesive especially when areas are delineated with furniture, architectural features, colour and rugs. The last thing you want is a cavernous space with all the furniture hugging the walls. You can still have unique spaces with an open-plan floor plan, just keep the colour palette and theme consistent.

Easily delineate spaces with some interior design tricks. For example, define the dining area by placing a large rug under the dining table and chairs.

Define a living area with sofa and chairs in an L-shape, a C-shape, or opposite each other with a rug and coffee table in between. Use console tables at the back of sofas to add some height with lamps, books, and other objects. Therefore, creating visually exciting ways to add energy to your interiors.

Unify spaces by using a similar colour palette – either several shades of the same colour or up to three colours using the 60/30/10 rule. 60% is the primary colour; 30% is the secondary colour; 10% is the accent colour.

Designed by Plush Design Interiors. Kitchen with lowered ceiling area. Image by Claudine Burgess Photography

Use architectural features, such as a low dividing wall, a pair of columns, a bulkhead or rustic beams to acknowledge the difference between spaces. A bulkhead in the kitchen may be lower than the ceiling in the living room, for example. In the image above, designed by Plush Design Interiors, the lowered ceiling delineates the kitchen area in an open plan home. Image by Claudine Burgess Photography.

Open Plan Home Ideas for Other Spaces

Comfortable living spaces aren’t the only areas suitable for an open concept. As more home owners create their own retreat, an open concept bedroom with walk-in robe and bathroom is popular. A free-standing wall hiding a walk-in robe behind has become more common than a walk-in robe with a door, for example.

Bathrooms that are freely seen from the bedroom can maximise the space and natural light beautifully. However, always ensure the toilet is not easily seen from the bedroom area.

I love open concept living. And with a few simple tricks your open plan home can be as warm and luxurious as you wish.

Create An Inspiring Home Office

Create An Inspiring Home Office

Now more than ever, an inspiring home office is on the minds of many business-people. Working from home has become the norm as we battle COVID, restrictions and lockdowns. How will you create yours?

Even before COVID, South Australia was known for having the greatest percentage of small business owners in Australia. Therefore, a functional and inspiring home office is often required regardless of whether that business is run from home full-time or not.

So, whilst this space needs to function well, it can also be stylish and comfortable. I mean, why not? For example, a client of ours is a mad AFL Collingwood fan AND mad about pink. So we decorated her inspiring home office space with black and white striped wallpaper including a bold hot-pink neon sign above the desk that read ‘Boss Babe’. She LOVED it!

An inspiring home office that’s truly functional is totally achievable. Follow these easy designer tips to create a beautiful space that will make you productive and profitable.

The Inspiring Home Office Space

Many a spare bedroom has been turned into a home office, or attic space or even part of the garage. However, tiny spaces can also be used as a home office, even a cupboard. If you have a big enough flat surface and shelf space for your needs, you could create room in surprising places. Add a super cool chair in a bright colour, a charming lamp and co-ordinated storage boxes on shelves to make even the smallest space inspiring.

Of course, if you have more space than a cupboard, think about how much space you realistically need. Perhaps you only work with a laptop. Or perhaps you work with large format items or an array of products. Consider your flat work space as well as storage. I love open shelving to display all my interior design and architecture books. However, I also have cupboards to store all the less-then-glam stuff too.

Handling Clutter

Be realistic about how much space you need and ensure you can keep it tidy and organised. This is where storage containers come into their own. Whether it’s hanging files, ring binders or a multitude of small items, ensure you can store them away on a shelf, in a drawer or under your desk.

The most important part of handling clutter and storage is easy access to what you need, when you need it. Decorative boxes on your desktop, small vases to hold pens, or desk drawers for everyday items. Keep your workspace relatively clutter-free but ensure everything you need is close at hand.

Functional (and chic) Furniture

The old desk in my inspiring home office was formerly our dining room table. It was wooden with turned legs and had a great deal of work surface given it used to seat six people. Trestle tables are popular, having an industrial chic vibe. Small spaces may require a glass top table so you can see through it (thus giving the illusion of more space).

Don’t limit yourself to ‘office’ furniture. Think of something with a flat surface that may suit you… and it may already be in your shed. Similarly, an antique credenza or a bedroom dresser could provide you with all the storage you need.

The Inspiring Home Office Inspiration

Regardless of the size of your home office, have things in there that inspire you. This includes visually pleasing items on the wall, tactile items such as luxurious cushions and throws, inject colour with a great rug, or hang a fabulous chandelier in the space.

Play music, light scented candles, have pictures of your kids, place a bed for your dog… inspiring your home office should be a functional space that also exudes YOUR personality with items you love. Never underestimate the power of an inspiring home office. It may be where your best work is done.

Header Image by Platform 5 Architects

PhotoReal Renders Are Changing the Game for Renovators

PhotoReal Renders Are Changing the Game for Renovators

PhotoReal renders have become a game changer for interior designers and home renovators. Going beyond 3D imagery, this technology helps homeowners to become more engaged with their project.

From taking out a wall to adding an extension, photoreal renders are hot! Because they enable renovators to see how changes will look before demolition. Additionally, they enable an interior designer to showcase different ideas for the same space.

Think about your renovation. You’ve probably been clipping ideas from Pinterest and Instagram. Maybe you have a Houzz account and have been saving images in an ideas book there. However, your renovation is personal to you and your lifestyle. How do you know that an idea you see will work for you? An interior designer has a good eye but is also used to viewing many different spaces. Yes, we can see through walls. Well, almost. We need to be able to visualize concepts and final results. However, new technology does help us to help you.

3D Imagery versus Photoreal Renders

There is a difference between 3D imagery and photoreal renders. For example, one of my earlier clients wanted a two-way fireplace in her new living room extension. However, she was unsure how the rooms would work with a fireplace in the centre. She also wanted an existing laundry and toilet re-designed as a guest bedroom. That room would have access from the new living space. Would that work? Moreover, she wanted to know if a current wine storage wall in the kitchen could be re-designed as a small butler’s pantry. Could this be done by encroaching some space from the current dining area?

I was able to manipulate the 2D floor plan to show her what the space could look like. However, that’s a bird’s eye view. So, I was also able to use a 3D imagery program to show her the space populated with furniture. Just not HER furniture. However, it did give her an excellent idea of what the open plan renovation could look like.

Staying Ahead for Better Results

Interior designers, architects and builders must stay modern by utilizing the design tools available. When I created the 3D imagery above, I was pretty happy with the results. After all, the purpose was to help my clients make important decisions about their renovations. Now photoreal renders and fly-through videos are the icing on the design cake.

Kitchen + joinery design by Plush Design Interiors. Render by Maria Georgiou

Many clients have an idea of what they want for a better functioning and more stylish home. Nevertheless, they can’t visualize the design solution. 3D imagery has been a fantastically useful tool. However, it comes with limitations. For example, in some 3D imagery programs you can not ‘import’ the exact accessories. Furniture is shown as a ‘place-holder’ – a similar image, say, a white sofa. It’s not the exact article. Nor is wallpaper, joinery design and other important elements.

This is where photoreal renders area a game changer. Sure, it’s an additional design fee. However, if you’re renovating several spaces, it’s worth it to see the results before you demolish. Taking out a wall? How will that effect the traffic flow, natural light and views within your home?

Joinery + interior design by Plush Design Interiors. Render by Maria Georgiou

Taking Photoreal Renders To The Next Level

Spacial planning, joinery design, natural light, views, privacy and noise control are all integral to interior design. When we design spaces, we take all this into consideration. So photoreal renders will show you what views will be seen from a renovation. Renders can also show how natural light will be cast in a room at certain times of the day. Alternatively, a clever renderer, like Maria Georgiou, can show different lighting ideas. For example, the strip lighting that was integral to the masculine and moody wine tasting room I designed.

Joinery + interior design by Plush Design Interiors. Render by Maria Georgiou

As the name suggests, photoreal renders have a photographic quality. You may see images on Pinterest and Instagram without realising they are photoreal renders. This technology can be used to represent any interior or exterior space.

When it comes to your costly and important renovation, floor plans are only one design element. You’ll also need 2D elevations of joinery design, 3D sketches of design concepts, mood boards and selections list. To understand more about what we do at Plush Design Interiors, please view our Flip Book.

Hamptons Style Done the Australian Way

Hamptons Style Done the Australian Way

Everyone is loving Hamptons style, the cool and clever beach-style reputed to have started in Maine, USA, in the beachside Hamptons area. There’s much to love about Hamptons style even if you don’t live by the beach.

Hamptons style is perfect for coastal areas, perhaps nowhere as much as in Queensland. The colour and style of classic Hamptons design can be showcased in suburbs with traditional character and heritage. However, the cool grey, crisp white and calming beige tones are more at home by the beach.

Building project by Coral Homes

New home builders are now embracing the charm of Hamptons style with clients more frequently asking for this type of design. Certainly in my work in interior design and renovation, I am often asked for a ‘Hamptons with a Twist’ aesthetic. Of course, one of the classic features of a Hamptons home is weatherboard cladding. Whilst it can be quite ornate in the USA, for the Australian market a more refined and less adorned cladding is required.

Australia’s Own Hamptons Style

James Hardie has released cladding and decking perfectly designed for the Hamptons style with an Australian twist. Cladding is a staple of the Hamptons home. However, traditional weatherboard can be difficult to maintain and prone to degradation over time.

The James Hardie Linea Weatherboards are easy to install, are resistant to warping, flaking and damage caused by moisture or fire. So in our Australian climate, these Hampton style approved weatherboards look better for longer and are easier to maintain. Constructed from thick fibre cement, this cladding creates a deep, defined shadow similar to the texture of traditional shingles used in the USA.

Hamptons Style Isn’t Just About Cladding

To continue the Hamptons look, use Linea Weatherboards for other features such as planter boxes and feature walls. This creates a sense of continuity, which is important for any decor or design project.

Australians love their indoor-outdoor living so Hamptons style is perfect for this type of living. Many home owners are opening up the back of their homes with bi-fold and stacker doors leading to an al fresco area. Whether you have a pergola or pool area, HardieDeck creates a seamless floor out to the garden working in harmony with a Hamptons aesthetic.

HardieDeck is an attractive decking option. It’s also environmentally durable reducing the high maintenance often required by a traditional timber deck. The ideal choice for coastal living, HardieDeck is made from premium fibre cement making it resistant to most coastal elements.

Coastal Colours Give Hamptons Style A Calm Quality

Traditional Hamptons homes draw upon the colours of the environment – blue seas, cream foam, beige sands, white clouds – you get the picture. In my work, there are two dominating colour palettes – grey based or beige based. Add blues, greens, and whites to suit your taste. Plus a little black to toughen things up.Being beach side inspired, you’ll see textures including jute, linen, cotton and wool plus trims in nautical inspired textures such as rope.

Remember the exterior cladding? Well it can also be used for interior feature walls. Hamptons style evokes the beach. So interior feature walls in a weatherboard can mimic beach side fencing and railings. Use Linea Weatherboard for feature walls in virtually any room to create interest and inject texture.

Kitchens and bathrooms are also calm spaces often decorated in white with marble countertops and slim black accents. White areas are also perfect for chrome, brushed nickel, black or gold tapware or cabinet handles. Don’t be afraid to mix metals. For example, black cabinet handles with gold-trimmed pendant lights. Or brushed nickel cabinet handles with black tapware.

So whether you are building a new home or planning to renovate, the Hamptons style re-engineered for the Australian environment is a popular choice. If you live by the beach, add more blues. If you live in the hills, add more green. Create a clam sanctuary for you and your family. The Hamptons popularity will live on because it’s classic and timeless… in your own way.

Five Architectural Tenets That Come Before Interior Design

Five Architectural Tenets That Come Before Interior Design

Architectural tenets are those areas that support the planning and philosophy of architectural design. These tenets will help you to have a more comfortable and functional home that supports your individual lifestyle. So what are these tenets?

When I was in high school, I studied technical drawing for two years with a view to being an architect. I have computer designed over 300 houses, and love architecture, however interior design was always my true passion. Even now, Plush Design Interiors designs home extensions and undertakes complex renovations. However, architectural practice and tenets are of great interest and do affect my work as an Interior Designer.

Some people may think that an Interior Designer simply chooses wall colours, fiddles with fabric and throws cushions around. Well, many of us do but that’s only one small part of creating beautiful spaces. Interior designers must consider five important architectural tenets BEFORE embarking on a design project.

1. The Space

One room can appear different from another through manipulation of the space. Any room must be a quality space that best functions in relation to YOUR family and lifestyle. How will the space be used and by whom? What activities will take place? What architectural features are part of the space?

I will consider the space and all its dimensions – vertical, horizontal and diagonal – and how the space will ‘work’ before other considerations. For example, does the space need a picture window, a door, a wall removed or a wall put in place. It’s true – form follows function with architectural tenets. My expertise will help you to identify how best to utilize the space and make it work for you.

2. The View

To maximize good views and minimise bad views is a key consideration. No one wants to look out to a brick wall. Other considerations are how much privacy may be required, how secure and protected the room feels, and if you want to see who is approaching but for them not to see you.

Many people miss this important element because they may assume that ‘the view is the view’ and not much can be done about it. However, good views can be maximized for great enjoyment. Similarly, bad views can be disguised and minimized with a variety of good design ideas. Remediation will also enhance your enjoyment of the space… and the view.

3. The Air

Cross-ventilation and the movement of air is very important. Heating and cooling affects your enjoyment of your home, and your budget. Houses that are more narrow and rectangular are easier to cool with fewer ‘dead spots’ of air. Whereas houses that are fatter and squarer are harder to cool with more ‘dead spots’ of air.

The air flow in your home is one of the important architectural tenets with which I can help you. Heating and cooling are one thing. However air extraction – say from a kitchen or bathroom – is important as is the flow of fresh air. Part of any interior design plan should include looking at these aspects.

4. The Light

As an interior designer, I will see how much natural light comes into a room, the arc of the sun and the lighting needs of the room. The positioning of the room in the house and on the block is also highly relevant.

There are three types of lighting – Ambient (sometimes called general lighting), Task and Accent – each of which has a different purpose. A study will require different lighting from a kitchen, a dining room or an open plan living room, for example. Ambient lighting is that used generally. Task lighting, as the name suggests, is for tasks such as reading, studying, cooking etc. And Ambient lighting is mood lighting so may include strip lighting, wall scones, and other soft lighting,

5. The Sound

Often forgotten, sound is an area that really does impact the livability of a home. Is the home next to a railway line? Are there timber floors that clatter and echo? Will children need to sleep while adults entertain friends? Will children playing need to be heard from another room? The acoustic properties of a home can be manipulated and remedied with acoustic panels, fabric, books, rugs, etc.

Plush Design Interiors

To truly live in a home that you love, an interior designer will consider these five architectural tenets before they begin to think about redecorating.

I’d Love To Help You Create A Dream Home

Whether you are building a new home or extensively renovating the home you have, Plush Design Interiors can help. From concept and design to demolition, renovation and handover, I’ll be with you every step of the way.

I work with a high-quality building company that will provide a detailed, fixed-price quote. Your new home or renovation could be closer than you think. Please feel free to contact me for a no-obligation chat. Please see what my clients say in their testimonials. I’d love to help you create a dream home.

Renovation Advice You Won’t Have Considered

Renovation Advice You Won’t Have Considered

Renovation advice is always best taken from people who have ACTUALLY renovated. As an interior designer, I help home lovers renovate all the time. So you can imagine I’ve learnt a few things along the way.

If you have read my earlier blog post on ‘Pre-Renovation Planning‘ you’ll know the important elements to consider when planning your renovation. So this renovation advice follows on from that post.

Once the pre-renovation basics are taken care of, you can plan the interior design. It is important to plan the interior design before you start renovating because it’s not all throw cushions and bed linens.

Why Take Renovation Advice From An Interior Designer?

Working with an interior designer isn’t just about choosing fabrics and positioning the sofa. Far from it, in fact.

At the time of planning to renovate, you’ll be dealing with Council approvals, contractors and suppliers. This is the ideal time to get an interior designer on board who can help you with floor plans, lighting, surfaces, flooring, colours and selections. These are all things you shouldn’t change once the re-building has begun.

sketch of a new kitchen with staircase

Select all the finishes, fixtures and materials before getting quotes. In this way, it will be easier for contractors to quote more accurately saving you money down the track. This is renovation advice you need to know.

Did you know that most interior designers can recommend builders and other tradies with whom they work regularly? Plush Design Interiors does not take kick-backs or commissions from the trades we use. Therefore, we can work with your tradies or recommend our own.

An interior designer will help you select everything you require to get accurate quotes from other trades. Further, they can also negotiate discounts from retailers or gain better wholesale pricing for you.

Look to Your Home’s Architecture for Clues

There is so much inspiration for interior design that some people become paralysed with indecision. Consider the style of your home and decide on a theme before you start.

modern spanish style bedroom with large oversize windows

Is there a stunning stone fireplace, fabulous wooden floors or surprising windows? Which architectural features can you enhance? Again, an interior designer will help to clarify the design direction for your home. Their renovation advice will give you a result that reflects YOU not them.

See some of the ‘Testimonials‘ for Plush Design Interiors to see what other people have said about this.

Consider Your Lifestyle

How you live your life is a very important part of interior design. If you have small children or a dog that runs amok you’ll probably want to reconsider those white linen sofas. Be honest about how you live your life so your home can be functional as well as stylish. Choose surfaces, fabrics and flooring that reflect your lifestyle.

Family spending time together at home. Father and Son looking at laptop

Plush Design Interiors LOVES The Textile and Design Company for super cool outdoor fabrics and knock-out sun umbrellas that are straight out of Hollywood. Divine!

Don’t be afraid to use outdoor fabrics and patio paint indoors if you need tougher solutions. Modern fabrics and paints can be tough but beautiful. Outdoor fabrics include soft and resilient velvets that are virtually child-proof and weather resistant.

In looking at the floor plan, locate power points wherever you think you’ll need a plug and away from water sources. A lighting plan prior to your build will be of great benefit to your electrician. So follow this renovation advice to save you money and heartache.

Choose the Right Lighting

Often overlooked when renovating, lighting is a very important aspect. How much natural light does your home enjoy? Should you install skylights? Lighting also influences the way walls and ceilings are finished because lights cast shadows or enhance areas.

3d rendering interior of a modern bathroom

Colours will look different under different lighting conditions – pendant lights versus wall scones, for example. Given you are renovating, get renovation advice on how to integrate lighting into the architecture.

Flexible track lighting is also increasingly popular. These moveable fittings have a come along way since ‘back in the day’ and are now beautifully designed as well as highly functional.

Remember the Landscaping

Make landscaping part of your plan. This will help with budgeting but may also relate to the colour and material choices you make.

outdoor contemporary garden seating in a townhouse courtyard

For example, when considering the flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. For a seamless look, choose the same or very similar flooring options that flow between spaces. This may become a landscape issue when creating entertaining spaces adjacent to the home.

Further, when it comes to choosing plants and shrubs, ensure nothing is planted that will block natural light from entering a room.

Home Renovation Preparation Advice

Home Renovation Preparation Advice

When you need home renovation preparation advice then ask a professional. It’s people like me who work in this area and we’ve probably seen everything. So when it comes to home renovation prep, here’s my two bobs worth.

It’s one of my favourite sentences… “We are renovating and need your help”. My eyes light up and a wave of excitement washes over me. Often, however, the person speaking those words is as confused and terrified as I am delighted.

Whilst most people want to live in a home they love, watching renovation shows can make things appear a lot more seamless than they are in reality. If you are planning for a renovation, or even some major redecorating, there are home renovation preparation items to consider BEFORE you even think about interior design.

View of a kitchen with blue cabinets from the viewpoint of the living space which has cream sofas

Home Renovation Preparation: Your First Priority

Before embarking on any renovation or major redecorating project, ensure the essentials are in great condition. Check your plumbing, electrical circuits and roofing. It is imperative to fix any issues, such as water leaks, rising damp or faulty old wiring, before you start. Fixing any issues now will save costly repairs in the future.

Have a Clear Vision

Your budget will blow out if you start making changes to the design after your renovation has commenced. Be very clear about the design before works begin. This is an important home renovation preparation tip.

Write a brief that clearly explains your vision, your budget, timeframes, what will remain IN the house and what needs to come OUT. Have a clear colour palette to use through your home for a cohesive look.

A detailed brief can be referred to later if you need to make a decision.

bedroom with ruby red wall and green bedding

Maximise the Positives

Always consider important elements of the home including natural light sources, air flow, views from windows, and noise control before you start making interior design decisions. The functionality of your home is the priority over gorgeous fabrics and divine furniture.

Fast-Track Approvals

Required approvals will be easier to achieve if you know the rules and can provide rationale for your design decisions. If necessary, tweak your design to fit the required rules.

All the best home renovation preparation in the world won’t help you if you can’t get Council approval. In some States and Territories, illegal renovations may inhibit you from selling your home.

white kitchen with marble centre island and black pendant lights

Tradie Access

Ensure your renovation plans include easy access for trades and delivery of big items. Can trades access the rear of your property from the outside? Can vehicles park on-site? What is required to ensure easy access and minimise the impact on your existing home… and your neighbours.

Renovating for Profit

If you are renovating to sell, research property sales in the area. Adjust your budget, and be strict with spending, so you do NOT over-capitalise, that you cover all costs and you make a profit. Include often forgotten fees such as skip hire, dump fees and a contingency of at least 15% of the total budget.

mid-century style beige sofa with autumn toned velvet cushions and yellow vase

Budget for Interior Design:

Self-serving? Well, no. Budgeting for interior design isn’t necessarily about hiring Adelaide’s best interior designer (although it could, haha). No, it’s more about YOU than me.

It’s important that you provide a budget for furniture, fabrics, lighting, art works and accessories. These are all part of the renovation process not an afterthought.