Expert advice: Building green


Get the most out of the design of your building with advice from energy-efficient designer and builder Ian Cleland.

1. GreeningBanner

While many of the ideas for energy-efficient building design have been around for at least a couple of millennia, they are only now being taken to new heights. Today, energy efficiency should be part of every building’s design, whether a multi-million-dollar construction or a modest family home. Good design should be the right of all people who build and that should not mean costing any more than a poorly designed home.

Most of us live in built-up areas of cities where the surrounding buildings can have a great effect on the micro-climate and the comfort inside your home. Living in the centre of a city is shown to be 10 degrees warmer compared to living on the edge of a city or in rural areas. If you live in a rural area and have acreage, the landscaping around your home can have a great effect on its micro-climate and really assist in its energy efficiency. Australians have another consideration to make: designing for bushfires, even in urban areas.

Last but not least is determining how you will use your home and the spaces you wish to occupy. Building from scratch is the best option for applying all of the above, but if it’s not an option and you have an existing building you are going to be restricted by site location and the building’s orientation. This doesn’t mean you cannot implement many of the other ideas mentioned.

When brought together, the components mentioned above will create an energy-efficient design. One could argue that just having the technical know-how will not equate to great design. You will need an understanding of how to correctly integrate the spaces, not only to have a practical layout for each area but also to maximise the energy efficiency of the connecting spaces. One thing to note here is that the size of the building and the spaces therein will add to the complexity of the design.

Let’s look at ventilation and movement of air through a building. The easy option for keeping comfortable movement and climate-control of air is to install temperature-controlled air conditioning, which does not equate to a design that is energy efficient.

To build natural ventilation into a structure requires an understanding of the direction of the prevailing breezes during the seasons and the times of the day they occur. For example, work out whether the surrounding geography creates local conditions (ie lots of tall buildings create man-made canyons). Using the chimney effect, the differential in air temperature from high zones to low zones moves air through a building. The Venturi effect allows negative pressure to draw air through a building. Other methods of ventilation include using different types of windows such as louvres and hoppers. Using the thermal mass of the building, which is not only used to cool and heat, also allows the movement of air and the use of heat through conduction, radiation and reflection for creating temperature differences that create air movement. One thing we tend to forget about is creating an airtight building to remove all those unwanted drafts around windows, doors, floors and ceilings.

Just looking at ventilation demonstrates how we can design using a number of components to make a home energy efficient and knowing how to effectively implement them into your design will result in an excellent outcome.

Going through the creative process of designing your new home or modifying your existing home can be a very daunting task. It involves conveying your ideas to others so it can be built according to your design brief, budget and timeframe. Unless you have an unlimited budget and no deadline, your ideas are left open to being compromised.

To reduce the stress of designing and building your home, it’s best to plan carefully and define your expectations for both the design and the professional craftsmen you employ to execute your plans. If you do not do this, experience has shown that the results will be less than you may expect and lead to much unnecessary stress by all parties.

Armed with this knowledge you not only have the opportunity to create a grand design but also to create an energy-efficient building that will add to the comfort and aesthetics of your home.

When designing an energy-efficient building, these are the important considerations to take into account:

  • Site location.
  • Building orientation.
  • Geographic location.
  • Location of living spaces.
  • Location and size of windows.
  • The type of glazing used in the windows.
  • Use of appropriate building materials.
  • Use of building materials to maximise energy efficiency.
  • Controlling the sun’s access during the different seasons.
  • Controlling the ventilation of the building.
  • Controlling air filtration, such as unwanted drafts.
  • The type of insulation.
  • The types of lighting and their locations.
  • The appliances.
  • The types of cooling and heating systems.
  • Using passive or active solar design systems.

2. Greening2   3. Greening3


1. The new addition to the house was located at the rear to connect with the garden space. The roof was shaped to capture the sun over the roof of the front part of the house, while expanding with a pergola and struts to provide a definite entry and shade to the west. Designed by architect Carline Pidcock. Photography by Dean Wilmot.

2. This courtyard was designed for cross-ventilation by architect Caroline Pidcock.

3. The corridor is ventilated by the chimney effect. Designed by Dick Clark, Envirotecture.

By Ian Cleland
From Grand Designs Australia magazine Vol. 1 No. 1 

REAL HOME: Philip Island beach shack renovation

An innovative and bold extension, designed by Peter Maddison’s very own Maddison Architects, breathes new life into a striking structure.







Neil Wilmot’s beach shack is often referred to as The Lighthouse by locals. Sitting prominently on a hill, the three-storey residence is the tallest building on the island. “I got lucky,” Neil says. “After we finished building, the council put in a ruling against high buildings to protect the scenic coastline.”

Neil purchased the existing structure, dreaming of expanding on the original design and making it his own. “In 1995, the site was a vacant block of land without a single plant on it,” he explains. “That year, the main two-storey house was designed by Maddison Architects and constructed by Bob Matthews, and a few years later the house became available.” Neil jumped at the opportunity to purchase the already stunning design and commenced landscaping. “I was the general manager at Country Road for 17 years,” Neil says, “Any general manager job is stressful, so I needed a weekender — a place where I could relax and use my landscape design skills.”

For a few years, Neil spent his weekends focused on the landscaping, which was a difficult process because the site is exposed to strong winds coming off Bass Strait and the soil is extremely infertile. After a few years he engaged Maddison Architects to design a structural addition to provide extra accommodation. “I wanted a space that would extend the building into the landscape and provide a secluded space where I could relax and unwind,” he says.

Knowing Peter Maddison personally, Neil returned to Maddison Architects for the job because the initial building worked extremely well in the harsh environment and intermittent Victorian weather conditions. “It made perfect sense to re-engage the company,” Neil explains. “I left the brief open but requested that the new building be separate from the main house – a long desire to follow what I had observed in the Hampton beach house designs in America.”

Maddison Architects responded with a building that follows the geometry of the original building but is connected with a tall, protective, linking fence. “This separation of the building forms works well because I often have guests that stay,” Neil says. “It also spreads the house into the landscape, which was part of the brief: to leave as much of the planting I’ve worked long and hard to create.”

The main design consideration for both Neil and Peter was the outlook. The structural addition needed to respond to the views, and its orientation needed to take the prevailing winds into consideration. “It is very windy here. I envisioned having the house sitting into the environment comfortably,” Neil explains, “so the use of natural materials and soft colours to match the landscape interested me.” With his background in fashion, Neil was heavily involved in the interior design of the space. “I see interior design as an extension of fashion and was involved in the design aesthetic from day one.”

The original structure comprises one double bedroom and a bathroom/laundry area, both located on the ground level, while the first floor is home to a living room and the kitchen area. The observation deck on the roof in the existing structure is perhaps the most alluring spot, offering stunning views out to Bass Strait and beyond.

Peter decided the extension should be a standalone pavilion that would replicate the original dimensions of the house (6m × 6m) and the extension was built by the original builder, Robert Matthews. This means the addition doesn’t interfere with the original house.

The extension was originally designed for guests, but Neil loves the space so much he often sleeps there himself and the visitors use the original house. “In summer I am swamped with requests and try to get here every weekend. In winter I aim for every second weekend.”

Neil’s new sanctuary is constructed from painted concrete sheets to match the original structure and features a fresh and simple colour palette of white and charcoal. There’s no overuse of colour or furnishings and it’s this simplicity that emphasises both the extension’s spatial generosity and style. Though it’s a relatively small space, the design makes it feel much larger and two of the surrounding bedroom walls are windows, connecting Neil to the outside world and enhancing that feeling of space.

The open-plan bathroom features a freestanding bath, shower and toilet, while the louvered windows provide a constant breeze. Located just a step up from the bedroom, the bathroom is a sleek design that is both functional and chic. The kitchenette is hidden behind a cupboard near the entrance, so the extension is self-contained.

The extension and original building are linked by a walkway of translucent polycarbonate fencing (fixed with stainless-steel screws), which also acts as a windbreak. This fence has created an exquisite enclosed outdoor space. “To be honest, this wasn’t in the initial plan,” Neil laughs. “There was this void between the two structures so we implemented an enclosed outdoor area. It happened by default.”

The haven-like space is abundant in European-style trees, encapsulating a Mediterranean feel. The plantation featured was chosen for its tolerance to drought and harsh weather conditions so the plant life was able to grow and flourish without regular maintenance. Neil will often find himself relaxing in the enclosed space, which offers both shade and sunlight.

The extension has added character and warmth to the original building, and accentuates the link between the indoors and outdoors. The main body is angled away from the street and captures stunning views out to the distant rock formation, while the addition offers a secluded space. The whole house spreads out into the natural landscape. “That was part of the brief: to leave as much of the planting as possible because I worked long and hard to create it,” explains Neil.

Green living was also a key factor in the design and construction of the original house and, now, the new addition. Many of the timber beams are of a recycled variety from a demolished local hotel and natural materials have been used throughout the dwelling. Neil collects water using an external tank and uses it to water the garden and maintain the decorative pond.

The maintenance levels are low, which should always be a priority with a holiday house. Most of the timbers used have an oil-based stain, which is easy to reapply and helps preserve the timber. Verandahs and eaves are connected to all main doors and windows to help protect the openings from the rain and the low sun angles. These overhangs also help keep the building cool in summer. Furthermore, the house is kept temperate through a number of design elements employed, including high-level louvres that provide ventilation, ceiling fans in rooms, and floor-to-ceiling drapes that are able to be sealed in winter for ultimate insulation.

The result is a strikingly beautiful and comfortable building, confidently standing in its eye-catching position. “This building is in a very exposed marine environment, so the materials used had to be incredibly resilient,” Neil explains. “Therefore, great attention had to be paid to the fixings and ongoing maintenance issues.” Understanding the core issue, Maddison Architects chose to use recycled timbers where possible, and minimal painted finishes were used externally. Special seals were implemented on windows and doors and even the interior finishes were designed to be salt resistant.

It’s not just a holiday house, but a second home to Neil, who could not be more pleased with the result. The recent addition has lifted the character of the original building, adding to sleek design and enhancing what was already a bold and emotive space.


This home way built by…

Architect/Designer Maddison Architects Pty Ltd ( Engineer Perrett Simpson Stantin ( Interior designer Maddison Architects Pty Ltd ( worked closely with Neil Wilmot(0413 184 001) Builder Bob Matthews (0413 517 074)

Roofing Colorbond ( External walls (cladding) Scyon ( External timber structure Radial Timbers ( External screening Ampelite ( Internal walls Signorino (

Flooring International Floor Coverings ( Vanity, shower, bath and tapware Reece ( Basin hob CASF ( Toilet Ideal standard ( Lights ISM Objects ( Panel heating Nobo (

Bathroom accessories Madinoz Accessories ( Towel rail Hydrotherm ( Bed, chaise lounge and stools Space furniture (

Landscaping Neil Wilmot (0413 184 001) Local council Bass Coast Shire (

By Tatyana Leonov
Photography by Rhiannon Slatter

From Grand Designs Australia magazine Vol. 1 No. 1

Grand Designs Australia: Paynesville Industrial house

Far from your average suburban brick home, the steel-dominated Paynesville Industrial house is a perfect complement to the stark, industrial environment of its surrounds.

Grand Designs Australia: Paynesville Industrial House

Grand Designs Australia: Paynesville Industrial House Paynesville082

Grand Designs Australia: Paynesville Industrial House Paynesville106

Grand Designs Australia: Paynesville Industrial House

Grand Designs Australia: Paynesville Industrial House

Grand Designs Australia: Paynesville Industrial House

Grand Designs Australia: Paynesville Industrial House

HOUSE Paynesville Industrial house
LOCATION Paynesville Industrial Estate, VIC
COST $470,000
DATE COMPLETED November 2011

Choosing to build your home on what might seem to be an inhospitable industrial environment might seem ludicrous, but that’s exactly what Bernie and Ruth Ryan decided to do. They moved to Paynesville, a seaside town in Victoria’s Gippsland Lake region, around 12 years ago. They started their life there in an old 1960s, weatherboard, two-bedroom home, which was already on the land.

The problem was that after a while it was just too small for a family of six, if you include Trixie their dog. “When we moved to Paynesville, we bought a house because it was cheap in the industrial area,” says Bernie. “We lived in it for a few years and then I started thinking that we should build something different.”

About seven years after moving in, they decided to construct a home, one they would all fit in comfortably and that suited the industrial nature of the land they were living on.

For some, building a home in an industrial area might seem like an odd choice, or even an unappealing one, but for Bernie and Ruth, a couple who tend to find opportunity in any given situation, the area only gave them inspiration. “Being in the industrial district gives you a much better chance of putting a bit of flair into an architectural building,” says Bernie. “If you build a house in a suburb, you have to conform. Build something different – be outlandish. That’s what I want to do anyway. You have to be different. Everybody builds houses the same, they do everything the same — they’re like sheep.” And what better way to avoid conforming than building a two-and-a-half-storey house with a butterfly roof in an industrial park?

This building is very special. “It’s not a normal bricks-and-mortar house, and it fits in beautifully with its environment,” says Ruth of what she considers to be the most important aspect of the Paynesville Industrial House. “I couldn’t imagine building this in a city suburb — it just wouldn’t look right. We love it like this.”

The plan was simple: a 20-tonne steel skeleton with rusted steel box inserts and a butterfly roof perched on top. Once inside, you can choose between using the stairs or taking the lift up to the first floor where you encounter an open-plan kitchen, dining area and lounge, front balcony, powder room and laundry. Moving upwards again to the second floor, you find the main bedroom with ensuite bathroom and separate shower room as well as a second and third bedroom and a utility room. Ruth’s study is nestled underneath the butterfly roof on a mezzanine level above the master bedroom.

The build, however, was less simple. During the process, Bernie revealed that “if I were running this like it was a job, I wouldn’t be doing it like I am now. I’d have a crane driver, dogman, rigger, foreman and I would be looking around, causing hassle.”

The reality of the help was somewhat thinner on the ground. “We did a lot of work ourselves and had a carpenter on-hand for the last two months,” Ruth explains.

It seems that this was how Bernie and Ruth wanted it, though. They didn’t want involvement from a variety of outsiders because they really hoped to make it their own home — from start to finish. Although they had an architect at the beginning, they chose to incorporate fewer hands on-site during the build, which meant fewer changes to their own original design of the Paynesville Industrial House. “If we’d gone with the original plans I don’t think we’d have the home we have now. They would have had so much input,” Ruth says.

The initial structural design remained as per the original plan, although the outside cladding of recycled timber ended up being changed to Colorbond steel and the lift shaft was made to look like a corrugated water tank. Bernie and Ruth also decided they needed to reduce the size of their ensuite. “The architect designed the walk-in-robe far too big and we don’t have an over-abundance of clothes,” jokes Ruth.

As with any build, special considerations had to be made in some areas, such as the living room window, which proved challenging to install. Ruth wanted stackable windows but the price was far too high for Bernie who liked to keep a good eye on the budget. Bernie was heard uttering the words, “I’m not paying for that. I will design a window.” And he did. The drop-down window is one of the most innovative creations in the Paynesville Industrial House or, in fact, in any house.

The elevator also required special consideration, especially as the lift shaft was initially constructed too small. Regardless, Bernie and Ruth are particularly pleased with their result. “We have made provisions here for our more mature years,” she says. “Yes, we do intend to live here until whenever, really. Who knows what tomorrow’s going to bring?”

“If you’re building a house today that is two-and-a-half storeys or so, you’d be silly, I think, not to put a lift in,” says Bernie. “They’re not that expensive — they’re getting cheaper and cheaper all the time — and if you have elderly friends and they need to come upstairs, they won’t come and visit you if you don’t have one.”

The lift, which was of great concern to Peter Maddison, the presenter of Grand Designs Australia, also proved to be a great source of amusement for Bernie and Ruth. They set up the wheelchair-accessible lift with “Straunie” the mannequin sitting in it, and presented it to Peter to prove their point. “It was very satisfying,” says Ruth. “Peter had given Bernie such a hard time over the lift shaft not being big enough for wheelchair access that we made sure the scene was filmed by the camera crew. Sweet revenge,” she says.

Bernie’s building skills proved to be up to scratch, as did his design skills, but his attitude to the build process of the Paynesville Industrial House was what was particularly special. On the project, he was known for his casual she’ll-be-right attitude. “The best things in life are free, you know,” he says. “And time is free when you’re doing something you love. At the end of the day, it’s the finished product that you need; it doesn’t matter how you go about it.”

The whole experience for these two seems to have been positive. They work brilliantly as a team and have done for the past 20 years. “Living on-site and doing [the build] together was a great challenge for us, but also very exciting and great fun,” Ruth shares. “I was excited about all the possibilities and challenges that came up.”

Bernie also points out that collaborating with Grand Designs Australia brought something extra to the table. “Having Grand Designs be part of the experience has been really good,” he says. “We could have built the house and have everybody say, ‘oh, it looks great’ and that would have been the end of it,” he explains. “It has given us a different perspective on the build of this house,” Ruth adds. It’s been one big family, having everyone down here. It’s just been great.”

Almost exactly one year after the first hole was dug on-site, Bernie and Ruth moved in. It seems to have exceeded their expectations and they are exceptionally proud of their creation. “It’s better than I thought it would be,” says Ruth. “I love the whole house — it’s really good. Everything about it is just great. This has been Bernie’s whole creation and together we’ve created it and it’s just wonderful.”

Now, months after moving in, Ruth cannot get enough of her office under the magnificent butterfly roof. “It’s a great space to work from,” Ruth says. And for Bernie who built the Paynesville Industrial House with absolutely “no setbacks, only opportunities”, it’s no surprise he still loves driving down the road to look up at that opportunity in its entirety.


This home was built by…

Architect Slap Architects ( Building Surveyor Coast to Coast Building Service Pty Ltd (03 5182 6477) Kitchen, Bathroom & Laundry Design Paynesville Joinery (03 5156 6065) Structural Engineer Gamcorp (

Building Supplies Dahlsens Bairnsdale (03 5152 5434) Concrete Paynesville Concrete (03 5156 6073) Framing Russell Morris (0412 615 779) and Steve Burnett (0423 366 533) Plaster Council Brothers (0416 059 996) Steel Fabrication Bairnsdale Engineering (03 5152 2321) Trees Blerick Country Retreat and Tree Farm (

Lift The Lift Shop ( Sustainable & Recycled Building Materials Pumphouse Design and Building Works ( Timber Flooring Snowy River Eco Timber ( Windows Lakes Entrance Glass and Glazing (03 5155 3477)

Furniture Hire Great Dane ( Workshop Drawings David Gaskin Design (03 5674 2045)

Carpenter Stuart Hughes (0411 429 256) Concreters Geoff Bills (0419 385 104) Electrician Gippsland Energy Alternative (03 5156 0808) Floor Sander Chris Weir (03 5152 2868) Hire Equipment East Gippsland Hire Pty Ltd (03 5153 0330) Painting Mark Kellow (0412 178 572) Plumbing Barry McCartney (03 5156 8562) Tiler Mick Saunders (03 5156 7494)

By Alexandra Longstaff
Photography by Rhiannon Slatter
From Grand Designs Australia magazine Vol. 1 No. 2

Enjoyed reading about the Paynesville Industrial House? Explore more in our Grand Designs Australia archive.

Must-have renovation iPhone apps


We’ve compiled the latest and greatest iPhone applications to get you started on your next renovation project.


1.1a Caesarstone App hi res (2)  1b Caesastone app_drag and dropjpg

2. 2a Haymes_app2b Haymes

3. (before)3a iGraniteAppBEFORE

(after)3b iGraniteappAFTER

4. 4a Hansgrohe_App_04     4b Hansgrohe_App_05     4cHansgrohe_App_06

5. 5 iHandy Levelapp

6.6. Duluxapp

7. 7. Photos Measures (metric)    8. 9 Flooring app Bunnings 9.8 iphone app BIG 2

1. Caesarstone has released an iPhone app that allows you to not only view its catalogues but drag, drop and match different Caesarstone products to your own kitchen or bathroom using the “Visualizer” function. When you’ve found what you like, the showroom locator will direct you to your nearest store.

2. Haymes iColour app gives you access to its full range of colours. Simply take a photo of a colour you like — whether it be on a pillow case or the colour of a flower — and match it to Haymes’ collection. Haymes iColour will then offer a selection of professional colours schemes to match your favourites.

3. Granite Transformations has created an app that allows you to “remodel” your home by uploading an image of your kitchen or bathroom and transforming your counter, walls and floor with different colours and textures from the Granite Transformations range.

4. Hansgrohe has developed hansgrohe@home, an iPhone app that lets you see what a Hansgrohe mixer would look like in your bathroom. A simple three-step process allows you to upload a photo of your washbasin, erase your old mixer, and test out the Hansgrohe range to see which you like best.

5. iHandy Level is an app created to help you align picture frames, home décor and measure angles of your furniture, walls and floors without having to heave out the massive metal ruler from the shed. Just make sure you calibrate before you begin using the app to ensure total accuracy of your level.

6. Dulux has released a MyColour iPhone app that enables you to match your favourite everyday colours with Dulux versions and then see what it will look like on the wall of your room. Simply upload an image, select your favourite colour, apply the colour to the image of your room, save and share.

7. Are you having trouble remembering all the dimensions to the room when going to buy supplies or talking to a contractor? Big Blue Pixel has created Photo Measures, which lets you take a photo of your room and add the measurements of every wall, floor and window, providing an easily accessible storage space for all of those numbers and figures.

8. Bunnings has developed a Flooring Calculator iPhone app that allows you to enter in the measurements of your floor and browse through its range of tiles, carpets, floating and vinyl floors to estimate the cost price of your new floor, as well as check out Bunnings’ entire range on the couch with a cup of tea.

9. Silestone is one of the leading brands in Quartz surfaces, all its products are made from 90 per cent quartz. And, lucky for us, Silestone has just released an app for the iPad and iPhone that allows you to browse through its products and get some great tips on designing your room around your Silestone surface and the best ways to maintain maximum hygiene in your kitchen or bathroom.

By Karsha Green
From Grand Designs Australia 1.2

Alfresco dining: Petite terraces vs. luxury backyards


It’s the battle of the backyards! Whether you choose the side of rolling green hills or tiny balconies, there is an array of products available to suit your outdoor dining needs.



Above: Alfresco kitchen by Germancraft,

Alfresco dining has grown in popularity thanks to our glorious climate and sheer the abundance of space this country has to offer. But don’t think for a second that a small outdoor area is going to limit your possibilities for outdoor dining. We’ve compiled a comparative list of options to suit any size space, from luxurious, sprawling backyards to petite terraces (and even tiny balconies).

Petite terraces vs. luxury backyards


1. OutdoorDining1a  2. OutdoorDining1b


1. Breville’s Dual Burner Grill is a great alternative when you don’t have space for a full-size barbecue. It would also suit a small balcony.

2. If you’re a grill-a-holic, the Burner Matador Grande hooded barbecue is sure to be right up your alley.


3. OutdoorDining2a 4.OutdoorDining2b


3. A frozen jacket for your wine, the compact Vacu Vin Rapid Ice wine cooler can chill wine in just 5 minutes.

4. Your guests will never be without a cold drink in hand with the the stylish CoolDrawer, an outdoor fridge/freezer drawer by Fisher & Paykel.


5. OutdoorDining3a 6.OutdoorDining3b


5. Metropolitan outdoor chairs can be neatly stacked to conserve space when not in use.

6. Splash Modular Sofa is the epitome of outdoor comfort and it comes with fully removable covers for easy maintenance.


7. OutdoorDining4a                   8. OutdoorDining4b


7. This skinny Patio Heater is just the right size to fit neatly into a small corner or balcony.

8. No-smell, no-smoke and no-fuss outdoor ethanol fires from Ambience Eco Fires will keep your outdoor space usable all year round.


9. OutdoorDining5a  10. OutdoorDining5b


9. Keep BBQ tools to a minimum with the BAR.B.PACK,

10. or opt for the maximum with the deluxe stainless-steel 24-piece barbecue set from Masport.

From Kitchens & Bathrooms Quarterly 19.2


Trend alert: Vertical gardens

Perfect for the urban home or an outdoor area that wants to stand out from the crowd, vertical gardens are becoming all the rage in landscaping.

By Tessa Hoult


1. Ensuring it uses the latest technology, Fytogreen is the industry leader in all things green and prides itself on its quality and innovation.  Fytogreen’s vertical gardens’ vegetated panels can be attached to any surface and its hydroponic watering system makes sure the vegetation stays fresh.


2. Vertical Gardens Australia’s expertise in all things green is extensive. Provided in all shapes and sizes, Vertical Gardens Australia’s products are self-watering, low maintenance and can be fitted with a variety of plants.


3. Greenwall’s VertiGro range offers homeowners design flexibility, sustainability and versatility. Using the Bin Fen system of individual species plantation, the VertiGro range allows each plant to be grown in its preferred medium.


4. Specialising in the installation of hydroponic feature vertical gardens, Lushe Urban Greening uses a proprietary felt-based product which allows you to quickly plant a vertical garden on site. Also offering homeowners a DIY option, Lushe Urban Greening aims to create beautiful landscapes in dense urban environments.

From Renovate magazine Vol. 8 No. 4

Trend alert: Unique outdoor lighting


Sculpture gallery or backyard? Your outdoor space will be the envy of friends and family with one of these gallery-worthy outdoor lights.



1. Taking inspiration from the Middle East and in particular traditional Moroccan punched metal lamps, Mora from Vondom is simplicity at its best. Javier Mariscal’s design features irregular hand-drawn patterns on each face to ensure each lamp remains individual. Available in two sizes, Mora comes with a handle for easy movement and suspension, with the option of a coloured or “white” LED.




2. Six distinctive “antennae” and a sense of weightlessness ensure heads will turn when viewing FloorA. Designed by Chiaramonte & Marin for Vondom, each of FloorA’s arms measure three metres in length and can be slanted as desired. Housing an LED light in each, FloorA’s injection-moulded “antennae” are paving the way for unique outdoor lighting designs.




3. Available in timber or an aluminium structure, ISU’s Salsola will be the feature of any outdoor area. Available in three sizes, Salsola finishes include aluminium, white or brown. Able to be suspended or placed on the ground, ISU’s Salsola will ensure every space is illuminated with sophistication.




4. Bringing life back into a tired outdoor area, Foscarini’s Uto suspension lamp has a futuristic element about it. Made from silicone rubber, the Uto is able to be hung from unconventional places. Available in yellow, white or orange, Uto’s softly emitted light will cast a pleasant hue over any setting.




5. Inspired by their real-life counterparts, Chemistubes from Vondom are both decorative elements as well as lighting features. Made from glass and polyethylene, Chemistubes originated from the mind of designer Teresa Sapey. Available lacquered and in varied colours, Chemistubes are perfect for all outdoor areas.

From Renovate magazine Vol. 8 No. 4

Expert advice: How to plan your interior


Interior designer Darren Palmer shares his advice on how to achieve a beautifully crafted interior in your home.



By Darren Palmer

To make your project come to life, you need to be creative. Big ideas are born from a single thought and ideas-driven interiors are the most successful of all.

There are few times in one’s life where it pays to daydream, but planning your interior is surely one of them. Let your mind roam free and unencumbered. If you can literally sit yourself in the space that’s great; if not, mentally place yourself in your property and imagine every detail. Picture how it might look, feel and even sound, fleshing out your mental picture with as many ideas, pictures and feelings as you can muster. Shoot right for the stars, as now is the time to think big. When the reality of your situation, project and budget come into play, you can always scale your ideas back or adjust them to suit.

The brief

A brief is drawn from conversations with your designer and is given to you for approval or comment so you can be sure the designer shares your vision and has an accurate understanding of what is to be achieved. The process isn’t limited to working with a designer, though, and is often overlooked as unnecessary if you are managing your own project. However, without the benefit of a brief you won’t have a bible to refer back to when making decisions based on look, style, feel and function. All of these elements are integral to your finished outcome; if they’re not clarified at the very beginning, delays and confusion can occur by bouncing between styles, layouts, finishes and fixtures. Your brief should outline:

          Your target market (age, income, household size, occupants — this could be you and your family, a tenant or the end buyer).

          The ambience you want to achieve.

          The functionality of the property.

          Items for inclusion.

          Items for removal.

          Primary and secondary objectives.

          Priorities in terms of budget allocation.

          Anything that makes you understand your outcome before you start sourcing tradespeople and products. 





Your brief will be your starting point, defining areas of attention and works for completion. Next, you need to decide exactly how you’re going to achieve the result.

A concept can be as simple as a feeling, such as “relaxed beach” or “sophisticated city” or could be tailored to suit its occupant, such as “stylishly feminine” or “bachelor pad”. The concept will allow you to sort through finishes and schemes to achieve the right look and feel to represent your vision. You’ll need to find plenty of references — online, books and/or magazines are great sources — and create a scrapbook of ideas and inspirations. Having a clear idea of the types of colours, finishes, textiles and inclusions will make your job easier, faster and cost-effective.

When deciding on the creative direction of your interior, be careful not to mistake a concept for a theme. Themed interiors can look crass and tacky (think Mexican Hacienda), whereas a clever idea carried through appropriately will yield the best possible result.


At the planning stage, you’ll know what you want and how it is going to look and feel. The next step is to work out how things will function and flow. Get out your scaled floorplan to see how the space is currently configured and if you can find any major issues that may have simple solutions.

These concerns should be the major focus of your project. Allocate time and budget to fix planning and layout problems, such as badly located walls or doors, restricted available light and making the most of outlooks, to present your property in its most appealing way.

Look at the proportion of the rooms and how they affect the home’s flow and liveability. Improving the layout of a kitchen or bathroom, or even relocating them if poorly positioned, should be top priority. An accurate, to-scale floorplan is also necessary to ensure furniture fits well into the space, allowing for proper walkways and visual space between objects. It’s far better to troubleshoot the position of items in your plan than it is to move things around in the space — or worse, have items not fit at all. Also, be sure to check the size of furniture (sofas, tables etc) and inclusions (kitchen cabinets, benchtops and appliances) against access openings such as elevators, doorways or halls.


Choosing your décor isn’t only about size and position; it’s also important to have a consistent, cohesive and considered approach to the items you choose. Most people don’t know where to begin when creating their space. Armed with the scrapbook containing your concept images, do a reconnaissance trip prior to purchasing, taking images of possible inclusions for later perusal. This the best way to make considered buying decisions to ensure everything you choose fits within the overall scheme.

Once you have most of your potential selection sourced, lay out everything you’re considering on a finishes and inclusions board so you can see if all the items you have sourced compare favourably to your concept scrapbook. You should immediately see if anything clashes or stands out in an abject way. Don’t fret! Remember, you haven’t bought anything yet, so if you find something that needs replacing simply do more research to find the perfect piece.




What to buy first

It makes sense to lock in the items that are the hardest to source or those with the least variation of choice — it could be the flooring, the benchtop, that perfect dining table or an amazing artwork. Start with whichever item is most specific to your concept — your focal piece, the one that your concept wouldn’t be complete without.

Once you have your focal piece, you can then see which elements you want to mirror and contrast to form the basis of the rest of your selections.

Take this rug (above) by Easton Pearson for Designer Rugs as an example. Its central colour scheme, floral pattern and shape could be used as the foundation for a selection of furniture and fabrics that have curved lines or you could play on the rug’s contemporary take on a floral motif, or both. In this case the rug becomes the base of a cohesive palette, but the same principle will apply regardless of your focal piece.

Complement and contrast

The best interiors are varied, textured and layered — a vast contrast to a boring, beige room that doesn’t have a focal point. Use your brief, concept scrapbook and finishes and inclusions board to narrow your search and find the right pieces for your desired look, thinking all the while about how the furniture, colours and textures you choose add to, or take away from, your overall idea.

All the items in your interior should work in harmony — some are complements, drawing on commonality; some for contrast, to add interest and variety. It’s important to avoid matching items, such as lounge suites or complete packages of furniture. Striking the balance between variety and uniformity is the hardest to master, but when it’s found you’ll be astounded with the results.





1. and 2. This bachelor pad by Darren Palmer had two underlying ideas, the first incorporating animal iconography in the springbok cushions and sculptural horse (bedroom), and stallion image panel (kitchen)

3. The sitting area by Darren Palmer was the starting point of the overall scheme, with the Easton Pearson Designer Rug being the first purchase.

4. Ralph Lauren’s Ladies’ Day Floral Spectator fabric was used as the starting point and central feature of the room. The fabric was used on opposite ends of the room, becoming a focal point from all aspects of the space.

From Grand Designs Australia magazine Vol. 1 No. 1

Get the look: Going for gold


Add a little luxury to your home with a hint of gold.


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1. Add a touch of glamour to your kitchen with Calimero pendant lights by Cattelan Italia. Available from Milano Furniture,

2. There is something so luxurious and exotic about this richly coloured Barneby Gates wallpaper. Available from Wall Candy Wallpaper,

3. The unique patterning of the Asuka rug by Akira Isogawa not only adds texture to a dull space, it feels like a dream under foot too. Available from Designer Rugs,

4. Oluce’s Atollo gold lamp has a masculine edge that would work well in a den or home office. Available from Euroluce,

5. This limited-edition Spaghetti table looks a lot more expensive than it is. Available from Freedom Furniture,

6. Antlers by Yellow Goat is a four-metre long lighting installation. Though not for every home, it is a stunning centrepiece that demands attention. Available from Yellow Goat,

7. Inspired by the shape of a Calabash pumpkin, the Calabash pendant light by Komplot combines an organic shape with modern gold twist. Available from Cult,

8. It might look like something right out of a Dali painting but the Leda armchair by BD Barcelona is surprisingly comfortable! Available from Kezu,

9. Made from etched brass, Brian Steendyk’s Anise pendant lamp changes the entire look of a room by throwing beautiful patterns onto the wall. Available from Anon & Co,

From Luxury Home Design magazine Vol. 15 No. 3

Get the look: Retro futurism by Michael Yeung


Avant-garde, industrial-styled pieces from Hong Kong-based designer and sculptor Michael Yeung, evoke visions from the days of future past.


By James Cleland

The strong look and style presented with this collection have been formed with the idea of interplay between shadows, lighting and physical form to create an edgy, dark and brooding atmosphere. It’s well suited to creating an interior space that is uniquely masculine in form, without compromising on a functional living space.

Steel, aluminium and leather feature throughout this collection and are the fundamental materials in construction. The designs evoke images of the retro-futurism art movement, which extrapolates visions of the future from the eyes of the past.

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1. Vantage console, Tinossi carbon and black steel.

2. Vantage coffee table, black steel and graphite leather.

3. Mines swivel chair, carbon leather and matte black.

4. Imperial desk, Matrix shadow and shiny steel.

5. Nowis chair, black leather and black steel.

6. Vortex bookcase in shiny steel.

7. Titan armchair, Stealth leather and brushed steel.

All pieces are from the Avant-garde collection by Michael Yeung Design.

From Luxury Home Design magazine Vol. 15 No. 3