Q: How do you manoeuvre your style to suit the client brief?
JM: I feel some designers find a certain niche and operate within that. Personally, I have chosen not to specialise in a particular genre and instead maintain the freedom to move within a broader range of designs and styles. Being unapologetically client focused means I explore endless ideas based on what our clients want and what we can then imagine for them. That aspect of understanding and valuing our client’s personality is what creates such a unique element to our work.
Because you are designing a home for a particular individual – a sanctuary built just for them – there are often a few tricks designers can use to create a space exclusive to their style while adding some personality. For example, using neutral base colours that offer an organic, natural feel – such as warm timbers – helps to link the home to the outdoors. Implementing materials and textures, such as those found in Corian products, helps to create versatile and beautiful alternatives to conventional designs through non-linear shapes and angles.
A great way to incorporate personality is through the kitchen splashback. Splashbacks can support and elevate a kitchen design, depending on what you are trying to achieve, in a way that isn’t overbearing. I often use various colours, tiles and patterns to create another layer of interest to the space, giving the design style that we are going for a bit more individuality.
Q: Of all the designs you’ve created over the years, which is your favourite?
JM: This is an impossible question for me, it’s like being asked to pick a favourite child! When I am working on a project that one is my favourite at the time and it’s all I can think about. Being a part of the collaboration process with my clients, making their dreams of the word ‘home’ and all that it symbolises a reality, gives me an insight to what the space needs to provide the owners. The goals I had as a young designer are different to the ones I have now, but one goal that has never changed is making the space comfortable and practical. When considering the design, I think to myself “would I be happy with that outcome in my home”, and if yes, I proceed.
A key point for me to remember when designing – and other designers need to be cautious of – is that our personal love for particular styles or eras shouldn’t outshine the requests of the client. Instead the two should complement each other. There is always room for creative freedom when bringing various styles, materials, forms and ideas together; it’s just about making them work as one. The reality is you are not simply designing houses, but instead homes for people that brings them joy and peace in their intimate spaces.