Category Archives: Residential Interiors

Making your House a Home in 2015: Interview with Shaun Clarkson

Posted on December 15, 2014 by Liz

May Design Series have just released their Interiors Buying Census, uncovering UK consumers’ shifting habits, tastes and priorities for 2015. The Census provides vital information on people’s priority buys for next year, as well as what factors influence these purchases and how we can expect them to change in the future.

This year’s report revealed that a quarter of us are now looking for sustainable products and a further one in 10 takes into consideration whether the materials in our homes are made from recyclable products. Surprisingly, less than half of us shop online for products, compared to more than the two thirds of customers who still prefer to shop in-store. And while there is a growing popularity in buying local, when it comes to home interior products over 80% of consumers asked agreed that being British made makes no impact to their purchasing decision.

WIN had the pleasure of talking with Shaun Clarkson, Interior Designer and star of Channel 4’s Four Rooms, about the results of the Census, the products to look out for in households next year and his own personal tips on how to make a house a home (hint: he likes rugs).

Diamond by Novaluna. Exhibiting at May Design Series.

Thank you so much for joining us today Shaun. Now can I just start by asking you what trends predict for 2015?

Well my trends for 2015 are varied. I think the biggest thing is that I am fed up of down and dirty. I’m sick to death of distressed wood and bulbs in jam jars. I want to see a bit more glamour so I’m predicting we are going to go chequer board floors, hot pink and flower arrangements of gladiola.

Which interior products can you see appearing in people’s homes next year?

The May Design Series Interiors Buying Census show that the most popular thing that people are spending their money on is flooring, followed by curtains and window dressing. I think this is very interesting because I think that if you are going to do something, especially those people on limited budgets, and living in rented accommodation, typically they want to buy something to make their rented flat feel like their own. I think things like rugs and sofas are important as they are things that you can take with you. Pluck and playthings, a treat culture to make your own environment.

Swithy Stools by Two.Six. Exhibiting at May Design Series.

And where exactly should people look to source these sort of products from do you think?

Well I think they should all come to my store in London (ha-ha!).  It’s difficult. I think you need to be very open minded. I spend my life shopping but that’s partly what I do professionally and I’m slightly obsessed, I have a shopping problem. eBay has been a massive influence on how people live in the fact that things are very accessible now. You can find out exactly how much things should cost and I think once you get an idea yourself of what you want you should go for it.

Which are your favourite places to shop? Firstly for yourself and also for the projects you are working on?

What has happened now is that we have a global shop, the internet, where you can buy anything.  Personally I don’t like buying online. I think I’m a bit old. I think people can shop anywhere, I love to go to auctions but I would never do an online auction. I would always go and physically view the stuff. I like to buy at markets and I like to buy in unusual environments, we do a lot of sourcing, we do a lot of upcycling, we take items and we invent them so I like the idea of buying old furniture that’s sustainable as well and reinventing it by spraying another colour, an old lamp, rewiring it and putting a new shade on it. Reinvention is really what we do as a business.

So could you share any of your secret sourcing spots, within the UK?

I would have to kill you if I told you; I have to protect my sources. However, London is the hub of fantastic tradeshows. The one that I would keep an eye on is the May Design Series which is coming up next year. You can see what trends are happening and the way interior design and products are moving.

Cross Lap by Galvin Brothers. Exhibiting at May Design Series.

You mentioned pluck and playthings for renters, but which are the pieces they should look at buying that will stand the test of time?  

Well that’s an interesting question. I have a shop in Shoreditch and we have a young demographic that in the main rents, they buy things like vintage lights and things they can take with them. We don’t do a great trade in hanging lights as you would need an electrician involved but anything that’s not bolted down. I think the furnished flat doesn’t really exist so much these days so it’s up to you to furnish your home and ultimately the ambition is to own your own home so I think that you should start creating your bottom draw and taking it with you wherever you go.

And what tips can you give to home owners looking to revive their interiors without necessarily replacing their furniture?

I think the easiest thing is paint, paint a wall a colour and don’t be frightened of paint – it’s easily changeable and it’s a cheap alternative. Rugs are fantastic and vintage rugs are great, it’s something that you have for life but also you can take with you everywhere you go. I have a friend who’s a curtain maker in Liverpool and she has a great range of people who change their curtains yearly. It’s not an overly expensive thing to do and changes your life a little bit.

Ikea has been amazing really as you can reinvent yourself constantly. My parents’ generation had one 3 piece suite for the whole of their life’s whereas I think we are a generation (well certainly in the hundreds of sofas I’ve owned over the years) that replaces regularly. I think there’s an opportunity for you to cheaply change your life with accents and new items which are affordable, I also think dressing your things with a mixture of vintage and new. If you like something buy it.

Klash Chair by Standrin. Exhibiting at May Design Series.

Going back to the theme of sustainability we were talking about earlier, do you think this should just be a factor you consider when purchasing or should it really be a compulsory element in the work of the designers?

Only a quarter of us unbelievably are interested in sustainability, I think sustainability should be something we aware of definitely. I think upcycling is the new hip word, as was vintage, upcycling is a form of recycling and sustainability. I love the idea that if you put something on the street now it goes and it means somebody has taken it and they’ve got a use for it. In my business we’re notoriously bad at throwing things away and I think that eBay is a great opportunity to sell anything and upcycle things.  It’s a tragedy to see things just dumped.

YPSY by Two.Six. Exhibiting at May Design Series.

The MDS report expressed that top of people’s desires for the home are self-cleaning carpets and windows that shut automatically when it rains. Do you see design becoming more technologically focused, more about function and ease of use than aesthetics?

I think it’s a combination of the both really. We all love to live in beautiful environments but I think that the May Design Series Interiors Buying Census shows that people are relying on technology a lot more which is great as it is sustainable. It means that you can control your heating and shut your windows and close your curtains and turn the lights and heating on and off from your mobile phone which is complimentary to what we do professionally.

We live in a boutique generation so I think it’s really important that when you are at home you have the same boutique experience you would if you were in a beautiful hotel and I think people are getting used to that, but obviously the complimentary technology is great. I’m a great advocate of controlling our environments. There’s nothing worse than getting home and having to turn the heating on and waiting for the house to get warm. You want to be able to do if from your mobile phone.

Linger a Little Longer table by Jay Watson design. Exhibiting at May Design Series.

Whose house do you envy the most would you say?

Whose house do I envy? I don’t really envy anybody’s house. I’m trying to buy a house at the moment and I am very envious of it (ha-ha!) – it’s my ultimate aspirational home. It’s a big Tudor mansion in Norfolk and I suppose I’m aspiring to live there ultimately.

What, in your opinion, are the three most important products for any home interior to possess?

Lighting is everything, you need to have a creative lighting scheme. I would want to own the most beautiful lamp, I’m not a great advocate of great big light fittings on the ceiling. I think you need a really comfy sofa. That’s really important, something to sit and watch television on, and something to be romantic on. I believe that everyone should invest in a rug for life and I think that if you can design your own rug and create your own rug, that’s yours and there’s nothing nicer than standing on a lovely big thick rug in bare feet.

Fantastic. Thank you so much for joining us today Shaun.

You’re welcome.

Table by British Artist Jack. Exhibiting at May Design Series.

Talent in Textiles: Interview with Rose Sharp Jones

Posted on July 8, 2014 by Liz

Featured in a previous blog of top picks from Clerkenwell were some quaint crochet cushions, created by skilled designer Rose Sharp Jones. WIN were initially drawn to her stall upon spying a range of beautifully patterned notebooks and we bonded over a mutual love of stationary (it borders on obsessive for us!) We soon noticed the cute knitted details on her stools and chairs and the aforementioned cushions, and business cards just had to be exchanged! Here we find out a little more about the creator behind this charming collection…

Firstly, where did your love for textiles and handmade items initially stem from? Is your background fairly creative?

I always loved to draw and make things when I was a child, and learnt to knit when I was 8.  I studied art throughout school and after leaving I did a foundation course where I specialised in textiles, going on to do a BA and MA course in Textile Design.

And what inspired you to set up your own business?

After finishing my MA course I realised I wanted to be involved in the whole process – designing and making fabrics, and products from them.

Which are the most gratifying aspects of your work?

I really enjoy the making process, developing new ideas and pieces through experimentation with yarns, stitches and different techniques. I also enjoy working on commission pieces with clients and seeing them happy with the end product.

Do you work from home? And how do you balance running a business with day to day life?

I work from a studio space in east London that I share with other designers.  It can be hard to keep a good work/life balance, having a separate studio space away from home has definitely helped me to do so.  I also find that having defined tasks for the day/week ahead and lots of to-do lists help!

You also teach a range of knit and crochet classes – what does a typical lesson with you entail and where could we sign up?

At the moment I teach a beginners crochet class where we start with the complete basics and learn a range of stitches.  I also run another workshop where I teach further techniques to make crocheted squares that can be used to make a blanket or cushion.  I teach these lessons at the yarn shop Sharp Works in south London.  I also teach private knit and crochet lessons which tend to be quite varied as they depend on what the client wishes to learn.  These can be arranged by contacting me.

How do you approach new designs – what is your process and how do you see each piece through to completion?

I normally start with drawing, and then a research period to develop design ideas further.  After this I begin swatch experiments to try out different stitches, yarns and colours.  Once I’ve decided upon these I then write patterns for the pieces I need and begin making them, making adjustments to the pattern or design if required.

What are your favourite pieces to make and why?

I wouldn’t say that I have a favourite piece to make, although I do enjoy working with the furniture pieces, finding techniques and yarns that are suitable for the piece in question, taking inspiration from the furniture piece itself and developing fabrics that are appropriate for use.

Your work includes furniture, cushions, mittens, hats, bags and you’ve just launched a stationary collection too! Do you see your ranges expanding further? Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

At present I’m not planning on introducing any additional types of products, just some new designs for existing ones!  I will be introducing a range of knitted cushions later this year, as well as a couple of new furniture pieces.

I do enjoy designing across a range of products though, so I’m sure the range will expand at some point!

Have you ever collaborated with other designers, or is this something you would be interested in doing?

I have discussed collaborative projects with other designers in the past and would definitely like to work on such a project at some point.

Finally, where can we find you on a weekend off, what are your favourite ways to spend time?

Enjoying having a break, meeting up with friends and family, going to exhibitions and other events and travelling whenever possible!

Celebrating at Saatchi

Posted on December 10, 2013 by Megan

Ten days on from the inaugural World Interiors News Annual Awards ceremony and dinner the winning designers are still basking in the glory of their successes. London’s Saatchi Gallery played host to the most distinguished figures in architecture and interior design, treating the attendees to an opportunity to view the latest exhibition entitled “Body Language” which explores the physicalities of human beings through photography, sculpture and painting.

Escaping the cold November night outside, over 300 guests from across the globe retreated into the gallery’s warmth for a cocktail reception, a 3-course meal and some all-important networking opportunities. Amongst the many well-known faces was judge and interior design guru Sir Terence Conran, who has been a keen supporter of the awards programme.

As petit-fours and coffee were served, the awards ceremony began with a speech from Annalisa Hammond, Editor of World Interiors News, welcoming the guests and introducing Art historian and BBC Culture Show host Andrew Graham-Dixon who proceeded to present the awards for the winning designs.

Whilst the shortlisted entries from each category were announced and the winners collected their trophies on stage, guests from all areas of architecture and interior design were reminded of the designs which have helped shape the material and cultural landscape over the past year.

When the ceremony came to a close, the elated winners and shortlisted designers were photographed with their trophies and certificates, and the champagne flowed as celebrations began.

After overwhelmingly positive feedback about the event, Annalisa Hammond reflects that “the intimacy and originality of the venue appealed to our sponsors and guests, many of whom have already enquired about next year’s event!”

With the 2014 Awards due to open in early January, it promises to be another exciting year ahead for World Interiors News.

Westin Palace

Posted on November 19, 2013 by Megan

Rockwell Group Europe have recently completed the interior design for the new event spaces at the historic Palace Hotel, Madrid. Originally designed by Catalan architect Ferrés i Puig, the internal event space within the 20th century building have been given a touch of modern elegance in a bid to revive the hotel’s longstanding role as a hub for Madrid civic life.

A total area of 1,185 sq m was transformed by Creative Director Diego Gronda and his team. Worthy of note within these designs are several custom lighting features, including an LED lighting system which allows users of the “Circulo Palace” to choose between more than 250 colours, to set the mood of the room at the touch of an I-pad.

The new venue, Espacio Palace, complements the hotel’s existing meeting rooms, providing a distinctive spatial and aesthetic alternative. “We developed a design language that is at once respectful of the 100-year history of this magnificent building, yet offers a contemporary interpretation and accommodates the technological needs of guests and customers of the 21st century,” says Gronda. “This project has been especially important to us because the hotel plays such a prominent role in the life of Madrid, and it’s our first commission in our home city.”

Rockwell Group Europe invented a sophisticated, multi-purpose space that is adaptable to amaximum of private functions, such as business presentations, cocktail parties, wedding celebrations, dinners, and ballroom dances. The design is intended to capture the essence of the glamorous “Palace Brasserie” that occupied this location in the early 20th century while imbuing the space with a modern sensibility and firmly anchoring it in our time. Inspired by the landmark Neptune Fountain in front of The Westin Palace, Rockwell Group Europe integrated subtle design references to water throughout the new venue, connecting the hotel’s interior to its urban context and adding a sense of movement to custom furniture, lighting, and carpeting. Neutral and metallic tones lend the spaces a fresh and contemporary feel.  

The project nearly doubles the hotel’s banqueting capacity, making The Westin Palace the largest luxury hotel supplier for special events in Madrid. It is the culmination of Rockwell Group Europe’s interior redesign of the hotel’s most significant public spaces, which began in 2012 with the renovation of the dramatic rotunda lobby and lounge, long known for its spectacular stained glass dome, as well as four of the hotel’s meeting rooms.

The New Face of Student Living?

Posted on October 23, 2013 by Rosie

Could iQ Shoreditch be the future of student accommodation? Showcasing a pioneering design, this unique residential project offers students a living space like no other academic housing in the capital. “We are setting a new baseline for quality student accommodation within central London,” said developer James Crow of Quintain.

Designed by author and television presenter Naomi Cleaver, the project exhibits details which are creative and forward-thinking, giving the halls of residence a distinct edge over its counterparts. “My strategy was to reflect the famously vibrant character of Shoreditch – already a mecca for young people – as well as creating a comforting sense of home for a diverse community of students from across the world,” said Cleaver. “Student accommodation is as much an expression of home as anywhere else but much of the student accommodation I had researched looked corporate to me. While security and efficiency are important, so is nurture and play.”

Drawing on the context of the surrounding urban environment was a key aspect of this creation; young artists and designers were commissioned to realise the design concept, which aimed to represent the “visual anarchy” found in the locality, to reflect Tonkin Liu’s local pavementscape and to appeal to a broad spectrum of students.

In addition to individual bedrooms, iQ Shoreditch features 24 quirky common rooms and public spaces, each demonstrating imaginative, innovative design.  From the stuffed deer in The Conservatory to the iconic film posters in the TV lounges, the varied designs reflect the youthful, artistic vibrancy synonymous with the area. In the reception area circular leather seating surrounds a large tree, which acts as an unusual feature and compliments the motifs in the adjacent courtyard, designed by architect Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.  In The Sky Lounge, an installation of copper rods spans the ceiling, mapping and identifying the stars, whilst string art forms a 24-hour time-lapse depiction of London’s flight path.

To encompass the varying practical needs of the students, Cleaver’s design extends beyond conventional study rooms to include a music practice room and an art room, where pinboards line the walls and large tables provide a crucial workspace for art, fashion and design students.

Placing high importance on local manufacture and resourcefulness, Cleaver used reclaimed chairs and desks adorned with ripe graffiti to furnish study rooms, and papered their walls with misprinted sheets of Shakespearean plays.

For students living their academic lives against the backdrop of this ambitious design project, their visual landscape is multifaceted. To wander through the rooms of iQ Shoreditch is to experience the many faces of the accommodation; in one room the colour tones, furnishings and features cultivate a homely, welcoming feel whilst the contemporary lighting, interior accessories and wall art in another exude as much edgy character as the borough of Shoreditch itself.

SieMatic opens flagship showroom in Mayfair, London with Nicholas Anthony

Posted on September 9, 2013 by Megan

Last week World Interiors News attended the opening of the new luxury Mayfair showroom by German kitchen manufacturer SieMatic. The Nicholas Anthony showroom has been chosen to become the flagship showroom for the SieMatic network based on Wigmore Street, and will celebrate its dedicated new SieMatic displays and role.

SieMatic S2 – lotus white

As the originator of the handle-less kitchen, SieMatic has been at the forefront of kitchen innovation since 1960, creating timeless, original interiors. Its luxury kitchens are available through a network of specialist showrooms throughout the UK which are handpicked to offer outstanding customer service and unique kitchen living spaces which are a joy to use and experience.

Bernard Otulakowski, SieMatic’s UK Managing Director, commented:

“We are very pleased to welcome such an established retailer as Nicholas Anthony into the SieMatic team. It has a wealth of experience delivering exceptional kitchens and interiors for over 50 years in the South East. SieMatic has been established for over 80 years and so now is the perfect opportunity for the two companies to work together and further strengthen the position of each as we move forwards. The Mayfair showroom is part of SieMatic’s expansion into the key design cities around the world and this location will attract both those in the UK and internationally.”

SieMAtic BeauxArts.02

This new showroom will give customers the opportunity to experience SieMatic’s product offering within the ‘kitchen alley’ of London and benefit from the invaluable experience and expertise of the renowned Nicholas Anthony team. The showroom showcases a number of SieMatic’s most popular solutions for kitchens including the S2, BeauxArts.02, FloatingSpaces and IndividualDesign. Tony Nicholas the Managing Director of Nicholas Anthony commented, “We are thrilled to be joining forces with SieMatic, creating a dedicated flagship showroom in the heart of London. We believe that SieMatic’s exceptional range of luxury kitchens, rich heritage and outstanding service will provide the necessary ingredients for us to evolve and build upon our successes to date.”

BeauxArts.02

The BeauxArts.02 range, conceived and designed by internationally renowned designer, Mick De Giulio, has been designed for those who would like a more ‘transitional’ style than traditional; something that mixes the best of the modern world while following a classic theme. Following on from the successful BeauxArts kitchen furniture range by SieMatic, BeauxArts.02 the concept utilises Sterling Grey SE2002 doors with polished nickel handles and S2 doors in a rich Ebony Walnut finish with the recessed grip slot in polished nickel. SieMatic explain, “It reveals how it’s possible to create a living and dining space even in the compact spaces common in city homes.”

SieMatic BeauxArts.02 – sterling grey

The design of BeauxArts.02 is purposefully segmented; the cooking area is separated from the cleaning or preparation areas and depending on the segment, different materials, handles and dimensions are used for fronts and surfaces. This gives the kitchen the diversity of styles reflective of the BeauxArts architectural style, upon which the design concept is based.

FloatingSpaces

This innovative design feature concentrates on the kitchen as the hub of the home and welcomes the notion of this room as an open-plan living space. FloatingSpaces is made up of a panel system and highly functional open shelves with customisable finishes such as natural woods, which include matt or gloss lacquer and high-quality laminate. The shelves can be chosen in different lengths and sizes to add a personal touch to your kitchen design.

FloatingSpaces: SieMatic SE 5005 L lotus – white gloss

The shelves provide space for decorative objects and accessories to be displayed, allowing the seamless integration of kitchen and living spaces. The look is completed with matt aluminium shelf elements, which can be clicked into place at regular distances apart between the panelling so you can move your shelving around to suit you. FloatingSpaces provides a multitude of storage solutions for a practical, yet stylish, kitchen.

IndividualDesign

The IndividualDesign concept brings together a combination of the brand’s most successful kitchen programmes with a stylish new lacquer colour; agate grey. Designed to suit modern living, the IndividualDesign concept makes it possible for designers to integrate cabinets from different kitchen programmes to construct completely new and exciting spaces that blend the definition between living and kitchen areas. Pictured below, the IndividualDesign concept has been created that incorporates elements from FloatingSpaces, SE 8008 and the S2 ranges to produce a highly desirable open plan living area.

IndividualDesign, SE 8008

The launch event brought together the wider SieMatic family with guest appearances from SieMatic’s CEO Ulrich Siekmann, Export Director Roy Oldfield, Architect Marc Sporer and world renowned designer and co-creator of the BeauxArts.02 kitchen, Mick De Giulio. Guests enjoyed fine wine, canapés, music from a jazz duo and cookery demonstrations from appliance specialist Gaggenau.

The new showroom is located at 44-48 Wigmore St, London, W1U 2RY.

Another gorgeous entry to the WIN Residential Interiors Awards: Art Gallery House in Pretoria

Posted on March 18, 2013 by Sian

This project by Thomas Gouws Architects + Interiors involved the complete interior renovation of an existing house situated on Muckleneuck Hill, overlooking the city centre of Pretoria, the Capital of the Republic of South Africa. With the modern art loving owners in mind, the design was based on opening up the existing rooms of the house and purifying it into an airy, functional art gallery-like living space.

Several internal walls were removed emphasizing the raw beauty of the original structural features of the house. Honest, simple cement screed floors and pale plastered walls were used to form a neutral backdrop for functional art installations. The entrance hall is dominated by a grand piano with a colourful light shade canopy above it. This sets the playful tone of the colour red that acts as a contrasting focal colour element used through out the house. The stainless steel cooking island was designed as a dramatic minimalist sculpture.

With a Perspex support on one side it appears to be floating. Despite the obvious aesthetic considerations it is designed for functionality and interactive cooking, and forms the centre point of the living area. A sliding screen door hides the service area of the kitchen. In the staircase shaft, the heavy ornamental balustrades were replaced by a delicate cable screen that connects the three levels of the house.

Raw steel tread plates were used as practical finish to the existing stairs. Functional fluorescent tubes placed in steel angles were used as stark graphic lighting element to uplift the dark space. In the master bedroom the dressing room was placed inside a white glass box, which shows a hint of the colourful couture inside.

Charming story of ascendance and transcendence from Elenberg Fraser

Posted on March 14, 2013 by Sian


Elenberg Fraser’s new residential project, perfectly positioned at the edge of Melbourne’s CBD, creates a vertical village that follows a story of ascendance and transcendence, inspired by the ancient myths of the angel Metatron (or Enoch, or Elijah) and Pandora’s Box.

This project’s massing is crucial to its design. Broken into a series of six white, concrete towers of varying heights, and bound by a central lift core, 33M’s profile mirrors Melbourne’s skyline, creating a city within a city – a juxtaposed silhouette of its geographic context. As you enter the lobby you open Pandora’s box and ascendance shifts to transcendence, as infinite mirrors create the sensation of a body suspended in space.

The overall impression is of a box cracked open, bronze and patterned light forming a path through the black depths. The apartments themselves are white and bronze light. Adaptable, their sliding doors enable the space to be reconfigured, residents can choose whether to integrate the front room into living environments.

33M gives you the bird’s-eye perspective and convenience of the inner-city high-rise lifestyle, with the amenity of a house or large complex. The sky really is the limit here! 33M has been entered into the WIN AWARDS Residential Interiors category. Find out more at www.wanawards.com. Early Bird Discount ends Friday 15 March 2013.

Coastal living in the Australian bush

Posted on March 13, 2013 by Sian

Architecture Saville Isaacs Pty Ltd have submitted this light and airy rural residence to the WIN AWARDS Residential Interiors category, demonstrating a seamless contextual blend of architecture, interior design and muted decor.

This holiday home by Architecture Saville Isaacs Pty Ltd is flexible to accommodate extended family, robust for hoards of children, yet with an element of adult luxury. A casual home with strong relationships to outdoors, it takes advantage of orientation and bush setting with sunlight, privacy and diagonal views modulated by pivoting timber screens.

Flexibility extends to opportunities for multiple activities: covered outdoor rooms, open living/dining zone, enclosed rumpus. Internal spaces are delineated by a timber spine formed by the timber walkway and vertical post screen, continuing down the suspended stairs under the kitchen island and out.

Internal elements are extensions of the architecture. Joinery is used as space making elements (timber screen wall folds over as support for benchtop). There is a marked contrast of solid textures, white linear planes, rhythms of timber posts, smooth polished concrete, steel and glass against rough sawn wire-brushed timber create drama that animates the interiors.

Focus is on the tactile quality of materials: a consistent palette of polished concrete, waxed recycled wire-brushed tallowwood, textured white laminate joinery – selected for robustness, low maintenance and recyclability. Low VOC, non-toxic materials and finishes, hydronic floor heating and cross ventilation ensure a healthy indoor environment.

The integrated interior furnishing concept was to focus on a palette of natural materials and finishes, locally sourced, designed and made. These choices are environmentally responsible and the brief was responsive by blending into and creating an emotive response to the Australian bush.

This project demonstrates the possibility of achieving quality design using ecologically sustainable development (ESD) principles and sustainable, recycled, low-toxic, cost-effective materials. It focuses on the interrelationship with the surrounding environment, volumetric quality, light enhanced sculpted open spaces, and tactile quality of materials. The design promotes the unity of architecture and interiors, working with the elements of materiality, space, volume and light seeking to achieve a sense of peace and tranquillity.

Montreal interior preserves its architectural heritage

Posted on February 21, 2013 by Rebecca

From a tree-lined street of 1960s bungalows the new house is far from conspicuous, blending with ease into the surrounding landscape. But inside is a deceptively designed space that harbours generous volumes on three levels. The original house was in such a state of disrepair that the clients were granted a demolition permit, on the strict condition that the new building follow the original plan. This could have potentially posed a real problem for the designer, given the clients required the liveable space to triple in size. But with just the one floor, a long façade and a double-pitched roof, René Desjardins has created a space of sheer inventiveness. An essential quality of any family home is the space to come together, but also to disappear. The fluid circulation that is so characteristic of the Desjardins’ style has been rendered in such a way that the parents can easily cohabit with grown-up children seeking independence.

In the vestibule next to the garage, a steel-and-glass staircase leads to both the guest suite and the basement, a place where the boys can venture off on their own, enjoying the living room, the steam room/washroom and the home gym. The designer, whose manifesto is “less is more”, has created a home completely respectful of the clients’ personalities and lifestyle choices.

The ground floor foyer sets the tone. It is generous and unadorned, with the garden on the horizon and a spectacular staircase in anthracite iron lace. A feeling of well-being is immediate, with a unity achieved through materials and colours. There is a definite sense of looking to a simpler future, which is rather apt given one of the clients recently turned 50. The decision to take the building contemporary – a brave decision on the part of the client, has been sympathetically embraced.

The neutral palette serves to frame the beginning of a promising art collection. The same can be said for the discrete lighting rails and niches, which will eventually house sculptures.

The ground floor doubles as both a living area and a setting for parties, with the immense island in the kitchen a great spot for a DJ. A perfect example of minimalism creating space for possibility.

For more information: www.rdesjardins.com