At Shelter Design, the involvement of principal interior designer Daryl Wark in a project goes far beyond interior decoration, as he and his design team actively collaborate with architects and building professionals. “Decoration is not enough,” Daryl explains. “Good architectural design is always the first consideration; decoration then adds the detail and gives an environment soul.”
Schooled in the classics, Daryl’s style hallmarks are restraint and appropriateness. Objects, patterns, textures and colours, beautifully balanced, have an appealing, undisciplined look — the direct result of great focus and meticulous planning. Daryl’s passion for design extends beyond interiors into the garden. He co-owns Du Monde by Daryl Wark, a furniture, accessories, and “uncommon” gift store in Paddington, Brisbane. “I am an insatiable collector and shop for furniture, accessories and gifts all over the world,” says Daryl. “I’m always searching for items with unique design, character and beautiful workmanship. Just about anything that makes a piece distinctive holds my attention. The footprint of my design work is combining pieces of varying quality and origin, creating interesting combinations and unexpected juxtaposition; my tastes are unabashedly eclectic, like our store. “The store’s collection is expressive and unique and as I’ve found in my design work, pieces often work together not because they are alike, but because they are different. I believe beauty is a healing and inspiring force in nature. My job is to inspire others to see beauty in all objects surrounding them and create a comforting backdrop for their lives.”
While beautiful rooms are Daryl’s first consideration, client service and attention to detail are also of the utmost importance. Daryl creates comfortable rooms and liveable interiors that are timeless. During a 10-year career, he has never lost sight of his primary objective as a designer: to create relaxed, intimate, residential spaces that are so inviting his clients never want to leave. “Consider a design professional as an investment in your future,” Daryl states, “in both comfort while you live in your renovated home, and later in your hip pocket when you decide to sell — even if you feel you know your own taste and don’t need a designer to tell you how to live.” People such as Daryl are trained professionals and know all the tricks of the trade. He suggests you “think of the designer as your taste and budget conscience, who guides you through a minefield of choices and problems that present themselves when building or renovating your home. Use their experience to lessen the possibility of wasting your valuable time and money. “When I begin with a new client I always look and listen, interpreting their words, body language and overall understanding of design. I think it’s essential to have a good working relationship with my clients. I want to make sure we are on the same page and I am the right person for them.
As an interior designer you become very close to your clients, so it is essential you like and trust each other. Most of my clients then become friends when work has been completed. “I believe a client is for life and not just for a single job. You must always respect and listen. You are to take their hand and lead them on an unforgettable journey that will enhance their lives.” According to Daryl, a “little bit” of design knowledge can be dangerous and costly. “The mistake most people make when doing their own design is lacking focus on the big picture, wanting to try too many ideas or styles at once. Not getting the scale right with a room and its contents, watching too many home improvement shows and thinking a room can be transformed into a castle with $300 and a free weekend. Remember, TV is entertainment and it’s all smoke and mirrors. “If you have a modest budget, be realistic on what the designer can achieve. They may suggest known brands such as Freedom or IKEA to help ‘fill the gaps’ in your budget. Don’t be put off or think the designer lazy, as they should then be able to incorporate ‘offthe- rack’ items in a way you could have never imagined or can see in the final product.” Daryl says clients also have an important role when it comes to the design of their project. “Clients can make the design process go more smoothly by being decisive, realistic and, most importantly, patient. No matter how much planning is done, there is always someone who may let you down during the design and building process. Accept this and move forward. The designer’s job is to be your guide and interpreter and turn your dreams into realities. But we cannot turn water into wine overnight.” Many people have influenced Daryl over the years, in styles ranging from classic to modern. “Travel has also greatly influenced my style, Europe and Asia in particular, and now the USA. People I have worked with in London influenced me a great deal, such as celebrated designers Anouska Hempel and Jaya Ibrahim. Others who have influenced me include Australian architect Kerry Hill in Singapore, Vincente Wolf in New York, Christian Liangre in Paris and Ralph Lauren. The list keeps growing the more I travel and experience life.”
There are many rules designers and architects should follow, says Daryl. “A couple are: ask your client as many questions as possible at the start and throughout the design process. Listen to what they say and then interpret their needs and wants. “Always be professional and positive, even in the most trying of circumstances. Finally, have patience and remember the client has to live or work in the created environment long after we have left.”