No longer satisfied with run-of-the-mill housing, West Australians are increasingly thinking outside the box when it comes to designing their dream home.
An architecturally designed home was once a luxury reserved only for the wealthy but these days more and more innovative, bespoke homes are turning heads in suburbs all across the metropolitan area.
Ara Salomone, State of Kin associate and graduate of architecture, says Perth is definitely becoming more design savvy. “Fortunately, we are seeing huge progress in the Perth market with people embracing really exceptional designs that go against what has often been a cookie-cutter approach,” she says. “We are thrilled to be a part of this changing landscape in which design intent and liveability are becoming the norm.”
Ara says people are seeing the benefit of designs that were previously frowned upon. “We’re seeing clients and councils get on board with flat roof forms and creating usable outdoor areas where a pitched roof used to be,” she says. “We have also seen exposed, coloured brickwork in interesting applications; terracotta has made a comeback in contemporary forms, steel mesh is now less industrial and more quirky.”
Natural light and connectivity of spaces are important elements that people want to incorporate into their homes and there is also a greater focus on sustainability and greener living. “Sustainability is definitely getting some traction, even in the mass-market, developer realm. We would love to see the ocean of roofs along the freeways covered in solar and it’s getting there.”
Alessandra Salomone, who is at the helm of interior design at State of Kin, says open-plan living is still desirable but separate kitchens are finding favour again.“There’s a new perspective that is actually leaning back to a more traditional format,” she says. “People want to be interacting throughout their home but the separate kitchen is making a comeback. Kitchens are becoming more evolved, with the main food prep and cooking activities being concealed from view to the open-plan areas, with only the servery area being connected to the integrated spaces.
“There has also been a shift away from stainless steel and laminates with a growing appreciation for more natural finishes like brass and copper, timber and stone. People are getting a little braver about the maintenance and care involved in using these products and embracing the way they age over time.”
Tracy Lefroy, curator and owner of Cranmore Home, says the days of the stereotypical mansion are well and truly over. “We are now looking at homes which have a smaller footprint but are cleverly designed to feel vast,” she says.
“The popularity of games rooms and home theatres is declining, although second living spaces are still very much in demand but these tend to now take the shape of well-appointed outdoor rooms or multipurpose rooms that can change in function as the requirements of the family change.”
Tracy says Western Australia is defined by its warm, inviting climate and this is being reflected in modern home designs. “We are lucky enough to reside in a city where we truly can live the indoor-outdoor lifestyle all year round. My customers often say that they want their home to flow seamlessly from indoors to out. This means treating our outdoor spaces as part of our home and paying them just as much attention as the indoors.”
She says outside and inside living areas are typically being integrated via floor-to-ceiling windows and bi-fold doors. “Outdoor spaces are not just for warmer weather,” she says. “I see them layered with floor rugs, knitted throws and cushions, making them inviting even in mid-winter.”
“The best success in interiors and design always comes when you take parts of the trends that are appropriate to you and reproduce it in a way that is unique to you. Reinterpretation of trends is the key. Layering of items with meaning, items that bring a sense of home and comfort is what makes all the difference.
“Bespoke finishes will always be high on people’s list of luxury wants. This can be anything from custom cabinetry in living spaces through to floor finishes which incorporate timber and other interesting finishes.”
According to Richard and Katie Shortland-Webb of KTR Creations, the building industry is constantly evolving and West Australians are increasingly open to new trends when it comes to designing their homes.
Katie says people are customising their designs so that they are unique and possibly more timeless. “Unique and personalised front elevations create an eye-capturing streetscape and first opinion on the house,” she says.
Inside, people are being more thoughtful about how they spend their budget. “We have noticed people are spending a lot more of their budget on custom cabinetry and decked-out walk-in robes. Walk-in pantries and sculleries have been a common addition. In bathrooms, a freestanding bath and double overhead shower heads are a prized possession.
“With the market being flooded by smart TVs and other devices, more people are looking at installing data points within the home, allowing connection to the internet or a personal server more accessible. “People are also understanding the importance of sustainability and environmentally friendly designs or products which can be quite expensive upfront, however will be beneficial in the years to come whilst living in their home.”