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Embracing the New


Deciding on a design for your dream home can be a daunting task, especially when blending a modern aesthetic with nature. Modern home designs often contain some classic and traditional concepts like exposed brick and stone, but add a cleaner and sleeker look, which can concern people who wish to stick to the status quo. Rather than attempting to reproduce styles of a bygone era, modern and biophilic home designs embrace the new and unique while still maintaining the traditional silhouette if desired. Melbourne Home Design + Living’s Saturne Roberts sits down with Jarrett Drake from Graham Jones Design and Drake Design to discuss the aspects of modern and biophilic living.

With more than a decade of experience in the industry, Drake Design has established itself as reputable professionals in the modern home design industry. Cultivating an extensive portfolio of elegant modern home designs that transcend the tests of time, Drake believes that “as a modern home designer, it should be about how each individual project invokes a spark of creativity and how we can best deliver the greatest of ideas to better the lives of our clients”. Drake understands that a home reflects individuality, meaning functionality and style become unique in every project, yet are built on the foundation of tried and tested architectural designs. With the explosion of modern home designs having a ‘zen-like space’, the integration of interior design and architecture incorporating the outdoors has also expanded to become biophilic design.


Modern home designs are often feared for not being able to accurately reflect the ‘homely’ atmosphere wanted in a dream abode, so a traditional aesthetic is settled for instead. However, Drake says “a contemporary aesthetic offers a sense of drama, sophistication, and elegance to any home – and that will always stand the test of time”. With the right home designer, a modern home can be turned from sleek elegance into something that reflects the human experience and emotions to generate connectivity with the space. This is done with careful consideration and implementation of texture, layers, scaling and colour to retain a sense of domesticity. Contemporary design also lends itself to more sustainable and environmentally friendly design principles, making it easier than ever to reduce your carbon footprint and live self-sufficiently. From the use of more environmentally friendly materials, efficient running systems and more natural means of lighting, ventilating, heating and cooling the home, a modern design can be a positive choice for the planet. Couple this with inherent qualities surrounding functionality and constructability, and you really can’t go wrong with a contemporary-style home.


With traditional aesthetics still being prominent in home design, how modern design can keep up is the unique ability to repurpose architectural aspects in a modern font. Whether it’s a fear of the modernist aesthetic being too rigid or concern of how the house will sit in its context, there are numerous ways to reinterpret more traditional design approaches for a contemporary setting. Drake states that “a clean, modern design is a great way to design for the local environment, climate, broader social context and place in history – whilst also considering longevity and agelessness”. With an increase desire to coexist nature, modern home designs are the most ideal choice due to its unmatched flexibility. Drake discusses how the signature of modern homes is the ability to take a quintessential classic design and streamline architectural materials and elements and create something bold and unique. Drake uses the example of “simplifying very ornate, classical styles in favour of a more honest and pure aesthetic with a calming, pared back effect”.


Since early modernist architecture, such as Frank Llyod Wright’s ‘Falling Water’ and Mies van de Rohe’s ‘Barcelona Pavilion’, architects have been trying to connect the designs to the sites and create transparency of the built form to the surrounding natural world. Simply by incorporating some key biophilic design principles can dramatically improve your dream home. Drake says, “This design is an attempt to create a connectedness between the home structure and the surrounding environment, with a mindset of sustainability.” Incorporating elements into a home’s structure or décor is a staple of biophilic design. Whether integrated in the interior design through natural materials, or displays, or in the architecture through positioning, the elements are brought from the surrounding environment into a part of the home.


Natural vegetation and flowering plants can be one of the most important elements of bringing the experience of nature into the built environment. Drake explains that by “experiencing bird and wildlife from inside the home, we can create a sense of serenity through design, which is often absent in the everyday urban environment”. Natural light, through sensible and thoughtful design, benefits people and reduces energy consumption and our carbon footprint. Daylight changes throughout the day, enhancing the visual comfort of its dweller. By watching the light change and bounce through the home can cause natural patterns, formations, movements and shadows, which can be an added feature to the design. Water can also be another vital aspect of building design. Either integrating water into the interior of the home or simply having a view of water will immediately revitalise the space. Drake believes “the water element in any building has a soothing effect and the sound created by even a small fountain can reduce blood pressure and heart rate”. Lastly, natural ventilation is essential to human comfort and productivity. By incorporating cross ventilation, verandas, window shrouds, balconies and larger openings, designers strive to encourage airflow, thus improving comfort. Drake leaves us with one last bit of advice: “Integrating biophilic design philosophy in places where we live and work can enhance our wellbeing, especially as we spend more time inside and plugged into the virtual world rather than the natural world around us.” Experts of modern and biophilic design, Drake Design and Graham Jones Design are leaders in developing homes that not only please the eyes, but the minds as well.

Images courtesy of Drake Design

LouvreTec Melbourne
Images curtesy of Drake Design