Wednesday, 05 July 2017 00:30

Top Trends In Modern Living

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Top Trends In Modern Living
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Whether you have your heart set on an Industrial, French Provincial or Hamptons- inspired abode, achieving a cohesive modern aesthetic can be one of the most challenging tasks involved in home renovations or new home designs. Georgia Jordan consults home design experts from Aspect Designs and Millbrook Homes for advice on how you can modernise your spaces using elements that will suit your lifestyle and impress your guests now and in the future.

In a world where creative interior design is praised, modern trends to suit any style are within your grasp. Read on as Sydney Home Design + Living explores how core design elements of timeless styles can be fused with up-and-coming trends to achieve a home that reflects your own personality.



In pursuit of a clean and sophisticated look, many homeowners now opt for storage solutions that integrate appliances into existing cabinetry. “Fridges, dishwashers [and] even microgreen grow pots will [continue to] be seamlessly hidden away to minimise clutter, while keeping everything in arms reach,” explains Cameron Crispin, interior designer at Aspect Homes.

Royal green cabinetry with marble benchtops (in any colour but white) will imbue your kitchen with a fresh atmosphere, which can be further encouraged with freshly cut herbs and flowers. Interior design manager at Millbrook Homes, Marcel Andrieux, says wood-grain laminate is also often used to soften sleek cabinetry and further encourage a more natural aesthetic.

Traditional detailing such as cabinet moulding and decorative handles has made a significant comeback, while colour-backed glass has been eclipsed by stone, tile and patterns for splashbacks.

Andrieux has observed an increased focus on the cohesion of the kitchen with the other areas of the home. “Kitchens – as the hub of family life – are being designed to integrate more with the family’s furnishings and lifestyle, while utility areas are [often] hidden in walk-in and butler’s pantries, even in the smallest of homes,” he says.


While the popularity of the open-plan layout endures, Crispin recommends including a niche spot to escape to, whether it’s a window seat, corner nook or even a large, soft sofa. Indirect lighting such as wall lights and concealed LED strips now outshine downlights, while honest and organic finishes have won favour among homeowners. Warm, mid-brown timber, tan leather and textured materials like linen and tapestry are beloved for the stories they tell over years of use.

Overwhelmingly, the TV is no longer the focal point of the living room. “[In] fact, many homes are [now] designed with dedicated TV rooms or home theatres [that move the television] out of the living room altogether,” says Andrieux. “[In cases] where there is a TV in the living area, homeowners [often] hide it inside joinery or [within] innovative frames which – when the TV is turned off – look just like a mirror.”


Crispin says “the theme of decorative minimalism continues in the bathroom with [the rising popularity of] simple layouts, frameless shower screens [and] contemporary fixtures that are overlayed with medium-format tile sizes, textured glass and playful details.”

Andrieux agrees that creative design elements abound in modern bathrooms, with homeowners building vanities from repurposed furniture pieces and opting for mirrors and tiles that are more decorative or textural. “Bathrooms, like kitchens, are [now] designed with more personality and [are made] to feel more like a furnished room than a purely utilitarian area,” he says.



Crispin and Greg Hendy, design manager at Millbrook Homes, associate the Hamptons style with a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, sophisticated finishes, abundant natural light and an elegant coastal aesthetic.

The exterior of a Hamptons-inspired home typically features a wrap-around porch and generous timber cladding and panelling, which exudes a holiday aesthetic.

On the inside, these homes feature grand entry areas and detailed cornice work and trims, as well as strong architectural elements such as pitched roofs, exposed beams and timber floors. Coastal de?cor such as sisal rugs and blonde timbers are common, while the relaxed colour scheme is characterised by pale greys, blues, taupe and white in striped patterns.
“Ornate tapware, door hardware and lighting are also typical of this style,” adds Hendy.


According to Hendy, the French Provincial style looks exceptional when it’s designed to include the following elements, which capture the elegance of rural France in the 17th and 18th centuries:
- A symmetrical fac?ade
- High ceilings
- A central portico/feature entry
- Ornate trims around windows, doors and parapets
- Wrought-iron details
- A high-pitched roof

According to Andrieux, the interior style of French Provincial homes “demonstrates an eclectic, highly detailed aesthetic with contrasting patterns in fabric and wallpaper, [as well as] decorative details in cabinetry... and a seemingly random [yet] carefully curated collection of decorative objects”. You’ll find freestanding, repurposed furniture in each room instead of sleek, built-in pieces.

Crispin says the French Provincial style is characterised by a black and white base palate and traditional details on hardware. “[This style embraces] natural, quality and long-lasting products, [as well as] finishes like porcelain tiles, linen and wicker,” he says. To achieve this aesthetic, use paint or oils to finish timber surfaces, while high-gloss and laminate finishes should be avoided.


Typified by handcrafted furnishings, humble exteriors, rough-hewn timbers and imperfect materials, the Country Rustic style is “similar in its aesthetic to French Provincial – both being bucolic in origin – but somewhat less formal”, explains Andrieux.
Shaker-style furniture is commonplace, while strained pine, rough-sawn and distressed timber, textured stone and brick are popular materials. Crispin says wide-plank floors, fireplaces and panelled walls are often found in Country Rustic homes, as well as a heritage colour palate of dark greens and maroon.


Hendy says the Industrial style is usually implemented when obsolete commercial spaces are converted into residential homes. To achieve an Industrial aesthetic, structural beams and posts are left exposed, along with pipes, ducts and other utility elements. To embrace the history of the original building, large open spaces and raw materials such as concrete and steel are incorporated into the design.

Andrieux and Crispin agree that decoration is minimal inside Industrial homes – with de?cor limited to utilitarian furnishings like repurposed workshop benches and large sculptural pieces – to achieve an aesthetic that references warehouses or factory floors. Machinery or equipment that’s repurposed into light fittings, furniture legs and other de?cor objects will work well, says Crispin, while primary colours that are reminiscent of tractors and steam engines can be used to effectively add pops of colour.


Modern and contemporary homes can encompass a vast array of design features, styles and trends. “These homes can have a slightly more traditional fac?ade that is balanced and well- proportioned but pared down on detail to create a more modern feel,” says Andrieux. “Alternatively,

A contemporary fac?ade might be asymmetrical, with strong – almost brutal – lineal elements.

“These homes will generally have a strong contrasting exterior colour scheme but will often include natural elements of stone or timber to provide texture and softness to the hard edges of the design.

“Internally, a modern contemporary home will generally be well-balanced and spacious, with clean lines, minimal detail in cabinetry and a neutral, blank-canvas colour scheme. [These elements create] a backdrop for carefully [curated] collections of art or de?cor and designer furniture, which will often be bold and generous in size...”

According to Crispin, contemporary homes are typified by open floor plans, integrated technology, environmental sensibility and streamlined details, along with large windows to connect living spaces with the outdoors.


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