Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 4

Home Design Find


No Comments »

The Narrowest House in Sydney Makes the Best of a Challenging Site


Haines House, located in the inner city Sydney suburb of Newtown opens up the living space to a small garden in a very challenging site.


A huge black cupboard forms a curious bulk seemingly “outside” the house.


This “exterior” seeming cupboard houses the kitchen plumbing and electrical in an alcove.


An outdoor toilet is housed in the deck portion.


The extreme siting constraints can be seen in the site plan.


A small homework study room in the rear has a window that opens towards the street at the far end of the site.


The narrow house buts up against the site boundary along each side at the back of the sink and it is expected that neighbouring houses will adjoin this as Sydney grows.


The house occupies the entirety of its narrow site with no windows to either side.


The only exception to the absence of windows at the sides is the one clerestory window above the sink cupboards.


The clerestory window is brought to the front of the storage to make the most of the small amount of available light to the side.


Now the extreme design makes sense.

No Comments »

Design Dilemma: How to do Maximalism


eclectic living room how to tips advice

According to design enthusiasts, 2017 is the year of the maximalist. It is perhaps an appropriate sign of the times, after all, exaggeration and braggadocio seem to rule the day. Or perhaps maximalism reflects a desire to retreat from the bitter acrimony out in the cold, hard cruel world to our own safe, insulated, highly-curated cocoon. Or then again, perhaps the turn toward maximalism is simply a response to years and years of bland beige. Whatever the reason, maximalism is the word of the moment.


How to do it right? There are just a few basic tenets to keep in mind if you are dipping your toe into maximalism for the first time:


  1. Collect. Maximalism is all about feeling free to build up what others might refer to as “clutter.” The difference, though, is that while clutter is not intentional, curated or orderly, collections are. A sure-fire way to warm up a cold minimal space is simply to choose something to collect, and then create an orderly display of whatever you’ve chosen. Anything at all can take on a special significance and become a design element when arranged just so.
eclectic dining room how to tips advice
modern family room how to tips advice

In the first picture, colorful lunch pails are arranged like art and set off against a collection of blue bottles and china bowls. The color and texture provided by all the collections work well against the leopard print table and the magenta blown-glass chandelier. Now that’s maximal! In the second photo immediately above, a room that might have otherwise been taken out of a Mid-Century Modern catalog is injected with personality, thanks to a collection of War figurines.

shabby chic style family room how to tips advice
traditional entry how to tips advice

In the two photos above, traditional interiors get a dose of maximalism, thanks to a collection of vases and to a collection of wind vanes. The collectors have kept things looking orderly by choosing similar colors for collector’s pieces (as in the white vases in the first photo) or by keeping pieces in a similar size, as in the collection of wind vanes.

2. Use Color. Explosively bright color is a secret weapon in Maximalism. Feel free to paint walls in vibrant hues, to buy jewel tone furniture, or to otherwise indulge in color where you can.

tropical living room how to tips advice

Above, brightly colored couches boosts this living room into the Tropical sphere. The black accents help to tie all the pieces together and to tone it down just a bit.

contemporary living room how to tips advice

And here, it’s the bright yellow walls paired with the velvet violet couch that makes this interior feel so lusciously rich.

In the room below, the bright red shelves, again housing a collection of Pez figures, paired with an antique celery-colored Chinese cabinet add up to a delightfully sensual mix.

eclectic living room how to tips advice

3. Use pattern. Pattern is another way to guarantee that you will bring a space into maximal territory. Patterned curtains, rugs, sofas and chairs should be freely mixed and match, as you see below.

contemporary living room how to tips advice</a

You get a similar effect in the room below:

mediterranean living room how to tips advice

And in the room below, pattern in artwork, sofa and chair are vivid, yet restrained, allowing this room to walk a fine line between neat, uncluttered MCM and lush maximalism.

contemporary living room how to tips advice

4. Add photos and artwork. Both photos and artwork add a personal touch that is so important in maximalism. Maximal is about individuality and there’s no better way to show it than in photo collections or in choice of artwork. For instance:

contemporary living room how to tips advice
contemporary living room how to tips advice

Or sometimes just one big piece of art:

transitional living room how to tips advice
contemporary living room how to tips advice
5. Go eclectic.

Maximalism connotes having lived a full life. And living a full life connotes travel and exposure to many different things. A maximal interior should reflect this by using furniture from various eras and cultures, and mixing differing styles with abandon, as you see in the interiors below:

eclectic living room how to tips advice
eclectic living room how to tips advice
eclectic living room how to tips advice

And there you have it, our basic guide to maximalism. The key word is FREEDOM. Maximalism means you no longer have to exercise restraint in home design, opting for beige because it goes with everything. Get what you like and make it work. Let whimsy and desire rule. Your home will look like nobody else’s and you will be stimulated and soothed by all the color and pattern around you.

No Comments »

Design Dilemma: Patterned Tile Floors

Cement tiles Victorian style hallway

With “maximalism” as the newest design trend for 2017, we’re seeing much more pattern at home. And one place we’re seeing it is in the newest fascination with patterned floor tile. Traditional in Europe, in places like Italy and Spain, as well as used widely in South America, patterned floor tiles have been less popular in the United States. But increasingly, some bold homeowners are ceding to the desire to move beyond safe neutrals in choosing a flooring material. The move toward patterned floors also reflects a new fascination with all things “vintage” and many of these floors were standard in houses in the early 20th Century. Installing one now is a risk, to be sure, as a patterned floor is a fairly permanent statement that can’t easily be covered up. But if you choose wisely, the pay off can be substantial. You will have a look that is highly individual and very stylish.

Above, for instance, a London townhouse makes a strong design statement by choosing a black, white and brown patterned tile in the entryway. Although the tiles appear to have been laid diagonally, they have actually been laid in a standard grid layout. Their pattern tricks the eye into seeing a diagonal line. These tiles have an Old World feel, as they were typical in many turn of the century houses in Europe.

Here, another entry also sports patterned tile, but by choosing gray and white, offering less of a contrast, the look comes off as more modern.

Shelgate Road

Below, a modern kitchen has adopted the same sort of look as the London townhouse for a “rug effect.” Black and white is always chic, always classic. Although the cabinetry in the kitchen is modern, the floor feels like something you might see in a house in the 1920s.

Peaceful kitchen

In another kitchen below, a note of quirky, playful color has been introduced by an energetic pattern:

Painted Kitchen

And in the kitchen below, a more subtle floor tile adds a note of vintage elegance which is continued in the selection of vintage chairs and wooden table.

Feature Floor

And what about patterned floor tiles in the living room, in place of a rug? Talk about maximal!

Kips Bay 2016d

Also here:

Living Room

And here:

Coventry Grey Patterned Floor Tiles - Direct Tile Warehouse

If you’re worried that a patterned floor is too confining or too busy, you can always try out a much smaller dose in the bathroom and shower.

Guest bathroom

And here:

Hamilton Terrace

And here:

Palace Court

Are you ready to get on board with this trend?

Here are a few tips to successfully adding a patterned floor in your home:


  • If you’re a novice to pattern, choose a patterned floor in a small area. A small foyer, a bathroom, a kitchen, are perfect places to introduce tile where you are least likely to experience buyer’s remorse.
  • Stick to classic looks and color combinations. Although it may be tempting to do something really bold and colorful, you’re safest best is to stick to tried and true looks that have withstood the test of time. That means black and white tiles and patterns, or patterns and colors that offer less contrast.
  • Smaller patterns will be read as a “neutral.” Another way to take a chance with pattern is to opt for a smaller one, that the eye will read as less “busy” than a very big, bold pattern.
  • Let your floor be the focal point. Keep the rest of your furnishing low-key if you’re going with a very bold tile.