Saturday, October 3, 2015

My HGTV Fresh Faces of Design Entry

A few months ago, I was approached by HGTV, (The Home and Garden TV network here in America). They were visiting L.A. for a few days and asked me to come in and talk about some of my projects. We met in the beautiful Kravet showroom in the esteemed Pacific Design centre.
Yeap, it was a bit of a thrill!
I think they found me through my Houzz profile, which I must say has been the best referral network for a designer landing in a new town.
HGTV shared some amazing insights with me in that meeting. Their internal research had identified a trend towards authenticity in design and something they termed, The Light House effect. People were seeking homes that sincerely impacted their wellbeing and ones that let in nature and light.

HGTV asked me to become a member of their professional network to discuss design and my personal design philosophy through a series of interviews for their digital channel. I had to load a selection of images of my work to their professional portal and in doing so I was approached by another department within HGTV who were responsible for running their annual Fresh Faces of design competition. They suggested I enter. So I did. Middle Cove project made it to the finals!!! Whoot!

So I thought I'd take this opportunity to chat about this project in more detail today, and hopefully demonstrate more clearly my Space Healing design philosophy in action. The project was completed quite a while ago now but in many ways it is still very relevant.

Simplistically, my philosophy is based on my innate approach to my design work. It is very much like a decision making reference point, where the intent always comes back to one question, how can I genuinely enhance my clients wellbeing?

Decisions are never based on style outcomes. Rather, I start with determining design relevance by committing to a deeper level of enquiry and observation. I ask myself, how can design inform my clients best life and their evolution? What legacy are they trying to create?

Once I have clarity, I assess the space and hone into my design instincts, which I have learnt to appreciate is my most highly attuned skill. It is here where I instinctively sense how I need to manipulate the space to bring it's best foot forward, (and my clients), to co-create what I call, spatial and homeowner integrity.

After doing this work, I very quickly tap into style based visions, which are normally very detailed and descriptive. And away I go....


So this home was for a lovely family of four whom I have become very close to over the years since completing their home. In no particular order, I am just going to chat about each space as captured here by my photographer Matt...

This is the lounge room / dining room. An open plan space designed to promote the soothing and restful view where one can dream, nourish, reflect and revive. The bushy landscape was the reason my clients were so drawn to this property. Every design decision was informed by the healing aspects of nature. It's energising effects and its ability to transform our mood within moments. The interior was fashioned to bring into play these wellbeing powers to move us from dull and tired to enlightened and reinvigorated. My design solution was to keep the space as simplistic as possible and allow the essential materials to do the work and inform the view. With a carefully selected amount of colour to add comfort and joy, I tired to bring the view inside the home wherever possible.


This artwork is printed on a sheet of aluminium which shifts this piece from being familiar to something exceptionally unique and rare. The industrial canvas is genius for the space and the perfect additive to bring meaning and purpose to this thoroughfare, beyond its mere mechanical obligation.

Industrial by construction, I humanised the space with colour, a sense of flow and form. The rug and stainless steel coffee table provided the ultimate family friendly treatment for this heavily used space. Earthy tones were used to identify with the gum tree filled skyline.

An earth beaten pot suggests beauty and serenity come with age. In juxtaposition with the perfect white walls this pot represents that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect, just like as the Japanese aesthetic principles of wabi-sabi.

The client wanted a design that maximised cleaning efficiency. All decisions came back to this intent knowing we could make the space more with plants and towels.


It is all about the amazing contemporary staircase and artwork. The juxtaposition of the heavy materials and the delicate poppies are delightful and in perfect harmony making this space a soulful and soothing experience to transcend through.

The brief was to create open plan living spaces that incorporated independent spaces for various functions and experiences. We transition the occupant from formal to informal areas using different flooring and pocket sliding doors to allow flexibility.

The intention for the walnut timber cupboard material was to cocoon the occupant amongst the earth. Earth elements face your back while you face the earth outside. Visually needed to break up the mass of white, but from a sensory perspective, it was essential to create this nurturing environment for what was considered the heart of this home.


The custom made rug was crafted from 100% goat hair and glued together in stripes to add colour and texture in a flat pile finish which spoke to the concrete floors in a sympathetic tone.

The artwork was by an energy artist Sophie Taggart who embeds intentions into her work. I was involved in this process to guide the intention for the space whilst my client guided the intention for her family. The result speaks for itself. The client often emails me updates on how this piece has uplifted her life. Each time she expresses a new effect to her wellbeing, which I continually find fascinating and so rewarding to read. This is the essence to my work and what I deeply strive to achieve for each client.

Empty corners can negatively impact a space making it feel harsh and lacking. This was the case in this room. Adding the simple sheer drape with a very simple fold that complimented the minimalistic space was the answer and instantly imparted a sense of calm and balance.


The brief was to design a room that maximised TV viewing, nature viewing and family connection. We take this type of brief very seriously and at all times work towards an outcome that honours the inherent beauty of the space and the clients functional requirements. We achieved this by custom designing the modular sofa to work in 3 versatile configurations. Custom cabinetry for storage was designed to work with the unavoidable TV and designed with the intention of balancing the black box with pleasing proportions that spoke to the height, racked ceiling and tree-scape vista.

The desire for flexible seating drove all decisions for the layout. Being avid entertainers, the client wanted the ability to open and close the space to serve mixed functions; host large parties, meditation evenings and intimate movie nights for her family.

Shown here is the sofa configuration best suited to entertaining. Designed to have no back facing the guests, the modular sofa allowed for free flowing interaction from each and every space, inside to out. A robust, family friendly and affordable, wash and wear Warwick fabric was selected, Bronco Cloud. Budget and serviceability always at the top of our design relevance check-sheet.

The red lamp was chosen for its artistic qualities and proportions which filled the corner beautifully and provided delightful ambient lighting at night.

The outdoor dining was carefully considered using a outdoor quality dining setting with bench seating. It was a significant investment. My clients have expressed a few times since, how this investment has repaid them time and time again.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour and that is somewhat demonstrates how I work from the inside out. Less about the visual outcome and more about the genuine intent to bring house & homeowner in sync. Still interior design, but interior design driven with soul and purpose.

This project has been shortlisted in the Crazy For Color category in this years HGTV Fresh Faces of Design. I have been selected alongside a handful of other designers and welcome you to take a peak. All votes for my project are of course welcome!


As always, to you and your home in love and light.


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