Lucy Feagins

Interior style Q&A: what to expect in 2018

These four creatives on the Australian design scene talk to Housing about their style inspiration and the interior trends that will influence designers in 2018.

Photo courtesy The Design Files

Authors

Laura Valic & Cass Proudfoot

NEALE WHITAKER

Neale is a British-Australian television and media personality. He was Editor-in-Chief of Belle (2006–14) and Vogue Living (2014–17) and is best known for his role as a judge on award-winning reality series The Block on Nine, and co-host of Love It or List It Australia on Foxtel/Lifestyle.

What has inspired and informed your interiors style?

I’m excited by so many different styles and influences but would most accurately describe my personal look as ‘modern ethnic’. I’ve always been drawn to the colours, shapes and textures of south-east Asian, Japanese and north African cultures, but I love to blend them with contemporary art, furnishings and finishes. ‘Luxe nomad’ is a term I hear often these days and I guess it applies to me – I can’t deny I like a bit of luxury too!

What design trends will we be seeing in 2018 and which ones are you most excited for?

I rarely – if ever – get excited by trends that come and go too quickly. Having said that, I’m enjoying the current influence of Japanese culture, and in particular wabi sabi, the appreciation of beauty in things that are aged or imperfect. It’s an interesting counterpoint to the ever-increasing role of technology in our homes. I think we’re going to see a lot more emphasis on texture and the contrast between seemingly opposing materials like concrete, timber and steel.

Has design become bland to sell houses – beige walls with colour accents only in furnishings?

I wouldn’t call it bland. I think it makes a lot of sense to play to a home’s strengths in order to sell it, in other words maximising the potential of light, space, size and functionality. Not everyone has the vision to see beyond existing limitations, so it’s always safer to opt for colours, finishes and design choices that don’t polarize or restrict. You want your potential buyer to remember your home for its potential, not for the oversized water feature or tartan feature wall.

Neale Whitaker
Neale Whitaker
Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins

LUCY FEAGINS

Lucy is the creator of The Design Files (thedesignfiles.net), one of Australia’s most popular blogs covering Australian design in all its forms – from architecture and interiors to art, craft, graphic design and illustration. Launched in early 2008, the site has 150,000 unique visitors a month, and a social media following of 700,000 across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

What has inspired and informed your interiors style?

As a stylist and editor I find myself inside beautiful Australian homes every week, and having access to these authentic local homes is what inspires me the most. I’m less inclined to be inspired by glossy magazine spreads, or swoon-worthy interiors from elsewhere in the world – for me, seeing interiors trends come to life in real homes, and translated into the Australian context is what is most relevant.

What design trends will we be seeing in 2018 and which ones are you most excited for?

1970s inspired interiors – after years of mid-century appreciation – the 1950s and 60s, we’re finally seeing a renewed interest in the design trends and colour palette of the seventies. Think deep orange and nutmeg tones, dark timber, as well as decorative woven textiles, and cane/woven rattan detailing. Looking ahead to 2018, we’re predicting a renewed interest in layered, cosy spaces – less Marie-Kondo inspired minimalism, and a return to more personalised, eclectic interiors.

When it comes to styling a room, what does your design process look like?

When it comes to interiors styling, you rarely start with a blank canvas. First and foremost, I consider the existing conditions – even a seemingly nondescript room or space will tell you where to start. A Victorian or Edwardian home has a particular feel which needs to be respected. An industrial style space or warehouse can be most versatile due to its robust features and open-plan layout, whilst a seemingly minimal, modern space usually benefits from a careful, layered approach to add warmth and comfort.

After considering the existing space, I usually start with a wall colour! Our recent scheme for The Design Files Open House pop-up project in Melbourne started with a soft pink base – Dulux ‘Friends’ and terracotta accents – Dulux ‘Very Terracotta’. Once selected, this bold, slightly retro-inspired palette informed every selection.

Interior style
Decorative woven textiles, & cane/woven rattan detailing
Photo courtesy The Design Files
Interior style
Deep orange & nutmeg tones
Photo courtesy The Design Files

AIMEE TARULLI

Aimee spent years in the fast-paced world of advertising. She now combines her passion for colour, creativity and interiors working as a freelance interior stylist. She runs her own interior styling business Archer Interiors and heads up the interior design department of boutique Melbourne building and design company Thomas Archer Homes.

What has inspired and informed your interiors style?

My interiors style is ever-evolving as I find myself inspired by new products, finishes and new applications of materials. I love mixing masculine materials and using them in a really delicate and feminine way. I look to the international trade shows to keep informed on the latest design trends and products, but I don’t live by those trends. I like to take elements of inspiration and apply them locally in a way that suits a more relaxed Australian lifestyle.

What design trends will we be seeing in 2018 and which ones are you most excited for?

2017 saw us become more adventurous in floor and wall finishes with the rise in popularity of terrazzo, and in 2018 this will gain even more momentum. Designers are constantly looking for innovative ways to use traditional materials and I see surfaces like terrazzo being mixed with other popular trends like metallics. Brass inlay features though flooring and surface materials will become the new ‘cool’ as designers take materials like terrazzo to the next level in the style stakes.

Jazzing up your joinery with the latest and greatest hardware will really heat up in 2018 with incredible product becoming available from Europe, and local designers and manufacturers treating the humble handle like a work of art.

What qualities do you look for when choosing materials, furniture and accessories in your designs?

I have a huge passion for original art and unique artwork always inspires my interiors projects. I’m always on the lookout for new local artists. A great piece of artwork will really set off a room and bring a huge sense of personality to the space. I always look for materials and products that are unique, that have been designed with integrity and are original. The key to creating a really memorable and elevated interior is for it to have a distinctive look by using bold design choices and a mix of tactile materials and textures that make the space come alive.
Aimee Tarulli
Aimee Tarulli
Interior style
Unique artwork always inspires my interiors projects
Photo courtesy Aimee Tarulli

DARREN GENNER

Darren is co-founder and designer at Minosa in inner-city Sydney. Minosa is a family business founded by husband-and-wife team Darren Genner and Simona Castagna. They focus on the kitchen and bathroom as hubs of the home. Minosa design luxury environments that foster qualities of organisation, comfort, relaxation, security and peace. Wellness and indulgence are integrated into every project they complete. A commitment to bespoke, authentic design is the hallmark of their portfolio.

What has inspired and informed your interiors style?

At Minosa our inspiration is drawn from our wonderful clients and their amazing homes. They will always push us to come up with bespoke solutions to fit into their lifestyle, as every person we come across will always have a unique set of problems and we have to fit our thinking into their lives. Our style has been developed over a long period, through education, travel, trade shows and meeting amazing people along our journey. I think a lot of people can get caught on the trend line. As Coco Chanel said, ‘fashion fades only style remains.’ Our main focus with interiors is to always ensure there is connection and visual flow from the front door to the back door.

What design trends will we be seeing in 2018 and which ones are you most excited for?

I think the further development of the hidden kitchen is exciting. The kitchen is not really a kitchen anymore, it is more a living room. So with this social integration of spaces we want the functional elements to disappear when we don’t need them, and then when we need them they are there for us to use. I know we have been saying for a while now that the kitchen is the hub of the home but it has really gone to next level now, it is almost the control centre of the house.

What technologies are you looking to incorporate more into your interior designs?

I’m excited about technology! Technology is shaping products and materials in so many ways –we have tiles that are 3.5mm thin and they are 3000 x 1000mm in size. We have LED lights coming that are computer chips and are the size of your fingernail that will double the length of hours usable before replacement. Mirrors that are touch screens (yes keeping us even more connected), electronic openers of all types of scale. It is a very exciting time in design. We can also place clients in a virtual world so they can see and almost feel their space in full virtual reality. The Jetsons are coming!
Interior style
We want the functional elements to disappear when we don’t need them
Photo courtesy Minosa
Darren Genner
Darren Genner

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