Bending The Rules
From graceful curves and sleek integrated stoves to natural stone benches and burnished metallics, Lucy Mackey discusses current home design trends with Daniel Mazzei – the managing director of Mazzei Homes.
Many of Melbourne’s favourite trends in 2019 are in response to the need for a closer connection with nature, or more convenient, customised homes. Others just look great! However, regardless of the specific trends being incorporated, one thing is for certain – with average block sizes decreasing, good design is becoming all the more important. “I think homeowners are realising that you don’t need a lot of space if your house is designed well; we are seeing a trend towards smaller, smarter designed homes,” says Mazzei. “Each square metre of a house needs to be thoroughly considered, with careful planning required for the entirety of the home, including outdoor areas, furniture selection and layout,” he adds. “An appropriately furnished home can make a small space feel generously proportioned.”
YOU’D BETTER SHAPE UP
While clean lines and angles will always have a place in Australian homes, curves are making
a defInite resurgence. “They are a great way to create a focal point to an area, or soften a space,” Mazzei says. Harking back to a classical, stately style, curves in the form of arched windows and doorways can bring presence and weight to a space, especially when paired with contemporary fInishes.
Mazzei notes that graceful curves lend themselves well to bench areas, particularly when you want to make a statement. For Mazzei, replacing the much-loved sharp lines of a kitchen island or bathroom vanity unit with a gently curved design encourages a luxurious feel. This particular trend, often seen in high-end developments, is making its way into residential projects, too.
BLEND IN OR STAND OUT
In 2019, one of the leading trends in appliances is variety. Today, home cooks have access to a greater range of appliances than ever. This is especially true when it comes to ovens, Mazzei notes, with steam ovens increasing in popularity as a healthier and quicker way to preparefood. Most leading brands, including Bosch, Electrolux, Smeg and Miele, offer a steam oven, or a combination steam and conventional model. If you’re considering trying a different method of cooking, Mazzei recommends attending a cooking demonstation – these handy events are offered by many stores.
“In terms of style, minimalist, integrated units are still leading the way”, Mazzei says. Favoured for the sleek, contemporary aesthetic they create within the kitchen, integrated appliances are fast becoming the benchmark for a high-end kitchen.
Installed by qualified technicians, and often featuring custom-designed panels, hinges and fittings, integrated units are built with an inset door that sits ﬂush with cabinets. In the case of appliances like fridges and dishwashers, they are indistinguishable from the rest of the cabinetry when closed. It’s important to note that integrated appliances will cost more at the outset, and so will their service and repair; however, the modern, cohesive look achievable is well worth the expense. Integrated appliances can also be customised to suit your needs. For example, ovens can be positioned at eye-level, or you can surround your stove-top with cabinets that store all your favourite pots and pans.
If trendy integrations aren’t to your tastes, some Melbourne homeowners are making a statement with gorgeous free-standing units instead. There is something particularly timeless and welcoming about a farmhouse-style, freestanding oven, and with the warm feelings they evoke, they will likely always have a place in our hearts and homes.
When it comes to Melbourne’s kitchens and bathrooms, custom fixtures are a defining trend. “The days of chrome-only fixtures are long gone,” Mazzei says.
While matte-black fixtures have been a stylish staple for years now, metallics like copper, brass, gold, and even rose gold are increasing in popularity. “The challenge is to be able to select something that is on-trend now but will also stand the test of time,” Mazzei says. Fortunately, custom fixtures tend to work in harmony with the ever-popular neutral palette offered by natural materials, making it easier to create a timeless look.
When it comes to fInishings, Mazzei says “it really becomes a balance between being too safe and having a house that can feel a bit stale, and going too far with on-trend pieces and having competing colours and textures”. To achieve an ideal balance, Mazzei recommends using accent colours sparingly; “try to show restraint in following every trend that is popular this month.”
“Natural materials and original pieces rarely go out for style,” Mazzei says, and Melbournians really have embraced organic finishings and accents. Exposed timber, cotton, wooden furnishings, and natural stone have all been popular choices in every room of the house.
By selecting one feature material such as timber or stone and using it throughout key areas of the house, you can create a consistent and luxurious feel. For example, Mazzei suggests using the same strikingly veined granite for a kitchen island, a fireplace, and a bathroom vanity top. “The benefit of using natural materials to bring together areas of your home is that, although there is consistency in colour and texture, no two features will be exactly the same due to the variability of the natural product. You get the best of both worlds.”
Along with a general interest in timber and stone has come a focused interest in reclaimed materials. “It is great to see a renewed appetite for reclaimed and recycled materials,” Mazzei says. Incorporating these materials is a wonderful way to honour the past, and even the past life of your home if you’re planning an extensive renovation. Mazzei suggests making reclaimed materials a focal point by emphasising select areas of wall claddings, or kitchen and bathroom benches.
With the rapidly changing landscape of home design, Mazzei looks forward with excitement to next year – and beyond.
“It would be great to see more homes push the mould in respect to materials, layouts, facades and sustainability,” he says. “So often, [perceived] space requirements can impede creative design.” If you’re looking to create a modern space that pushes the boundaries or current design trends, Mazzei suggests experimenting with mezzanines and split-levels as a way to create spatial interest. As Mazzei highlights, “perhaps we have reached the limit to how much interest white walls and a blank canvas can bring to a space.” If the sleek, minimalist vibe isn’t for you, it might be time to get ahead of the curve and invest in some speciality pieces and funky wall finishes!
Images courtesy of Mazzei Homes