The Style Journal, November 2016



Tell us about this room…
Well firstly, I have to say I’m a big fan of these floor to ceiling sheers, it really softens the entire room. Unfortunately implementing them into the design process was not as simple as originally anticipated. With the window overlooking the neighbor’s roof, the fear of blocking natural light combined with the desire for privacy culminated in a need for problem solving. By picking sheers with hidden lines designed into them and through the addition of additional sheers located in the bulkhead, further privacy was provided for the client without sacrificing sunlight.




 Example of Aristea by Signorino Sense of Style custom-designed bench-top.

I’ve got so much to say about renovating, but I’ll keep it brief for now..
It’s important to remember not to choose your builder based solely on their price.  Price is a great motivator for choice if you’re buying something like a Sony TV, and you’re shopping around for the best price either online or at JB Hi-Fi.  This is a ‘brown box’ product where you can source exactly the same product from a multitude of places.  Building a house or renovating your home is not a brown box product.  It’s a relationship and one that will be in your life for 7 years after it’s complete (the time period Builder’s Warranty Insurance covers).  My advice to my clients is this.  An easy 5 step collaborative process:

a.       Use an Architect or Draftsman to design your home’s structure and form;

b.      Use an Interior Designer to design your home’s interiors and provide a complete and comprehensive Specification document; and

c.       Tender your project to at least 3 builders by providing your Architectural plans, your Interior Design drawings and Specification documents plus your related documents like Engineering, Energy Report etc.

d.      Interview all your builders, call their past customers for testimonials and assess their quotes (notice price is last); and

e.      Finally decide on the builder that you feel listens the best, whose clients rave about them and who your gut tells you is the best person for the job.


Good luck and call me if you get stuck anywhere in this process and I’ll help in setting you straight.





 This week I want to talk about benchtop options.  Once upon a time there was but really one option, and that was good old laminate.  This quickly became superseded by man-made composite stones like Caesarstone.  We’ve all had an affair with a Caesarstone benchtop at one point or another, with most of us choosing Osprey or Ice Snow (most of Melbourne gazes down on this stone each night during dinner prep).  BUT there is so much more to choose from.  Here are just a quick sample of benchtop materials with a brief discussion around their pros and cons:



A much more popular product than it used to be, Concrete has been used extensively for bench-tops, flooring, and seating in many Contemporary homes.

Pros:  Relatively inexpensive and can be formed on site.  Look out for the fabulous burnished stains your floor installer can include in your concrete on polishing to give it a glossy, black/dark brown sweep of movement in it.  Just beautiful!

Cons:  It’s porous and can chip easily.  Concrete needs to be sealed once poured to reduce the porousness of it which prevents stains from soaking in quickly and damaging the concrete.  Think of your concrete garage floor, it’s probably not sealed and probably quite stained.  Eeww.






Porcelain Sheet
A high-end product, these sheets come in 3000mmx1500mm (typically) sheets that are only 6mm thick.  Their purpose is to replicate the intricacy and beauty of marbles without the upkeep factor.  My favourite product at the moment, I have used these sheets in many jobs and just love them!

  Pros: Depending on the brand, (my favourite is Aristea by Signorino, as seen above as a different marbling effect), this product is stain proof, scratch proof, heat proof and just about indestructible once installed. The Aristea sheet is the most realistic replication I have seen of the different Marbles and Onyx and it is a fantastic product that will look just about brand new forever (just like any porcelain tile would).

Cons: Whilst not expensive to buy (around $1100 a sheet), you need to add 2-3 times that for installation!  Ouch.  This is a not product for the faint hearted or tight on budget.  Having said that, it’s still less expensive to buy and install than real marble which can cost around $25-30,000 for the same quantity.  It is handled with velvet gloves (make sure you use a stonemason who has used the product before NOT a tiler, sorry tilers, but this is a specialised job) as the tiles can easily be broken during handling so just make sure your contract stipulates who the financial responsibility rests with before proceeding (your builder will take care of this for you but make sure you have the conversation with him).


Stay tuned… To be continued next month… 






 Image: Horgans



Why does this scheme work?

This is a soft but sophisticated scheme that works because of the contrast between the dark wall and pale blue sofa.  If the wall was painted white, we would have a Hamptons/Beach house feel but the dark wall allows the room to step up to its full potential of a grown up version of the Hamptons style.  The white hide cushion and un-seamed ottoman keep the scheme from becoming too serious and add a layer of freshness that every room should have unless you’re in love with complete drama.  If you’re not, then adding elements of white allow the eye some relief when taking in this space.  Notice how the room is layered with accessories to ensure engagement with the eye and prevent the space from becoming boring.