Over the past several years, industrial-inspired architecture has become increasingly prominent within residential designs; however, achieving this sought-after aesthetic without sacrificing character and warmth is easier said than done. Here, Amy Hart, the director of the Mornington Peninsula-based boutique design company The Little Brick Studio, provides expert insight on industrialised style, its rise to prominence, and how it can be realised to perfection.
Please tell us why the industrial style is proving so popular?
AH: I think at some stage of life most people have dreamed of living in a New York loft-style apartment! But in all seriousness, I think that the trend began because people saw what amazing work local designers were doing with residential warehouse conversions in the old industrial areas of cities, and wanted a little of that in their own homes, whether in the inner city or out in the suburbs.
How would you characterise a modern industrial-style home?
For an industrial-style home, it’s important to maintain a rawness to the materials and the structure, which is usually achieved by exposing features that may usually be covered in more conventional homes such as structural elements, beams, rafters, or leaving materials semi-unfinished, like rough mortar in brickwork.
People often associate industrial styling with being cold or clinical. What can homeowners do to inject personality and warmth into their home?
Mixing up the style and materials within each space, as well as incorporating areas with lower ceilings can help to create a cosier environment.
The introduction of natural timber always adds a sense of warmth too. Soft furnishings and artwork can also add an additional layer of comfort and texture – throws, cushions and rugs all help to soften the harshness of the raw building materials.
How can homeowners achieve a harmonious balance between cool industrial tones and warmer elements in their home? Use your designer’s knowledge and expertise. They know how to use light and shade, materials and space to provide workable harmonious spaces.
What advice would you give readers wanting to achieve an industrial-inspired interior?
Keep it simple. Don’t clutter the spaces with too many materials or colours; the industrial look works well with large, open expanses and simple furnishings. Don’t get too hung up on the trends either – utilise what you like and consider comfort in the design.
New York-inspired lofts are gaining popularity. What advice do you have for homeowners looking to build or renovate a double-storey, loft-inspired home?
Do your research and find a good designer who suits your style.
Achieving a loft-style design is not just a matter of throwing in some recycled bricks, exposed steel and concrete – the most important factor is actually how liveable the spaces are, and then combining that with the more obvious aesthetics.
The Little Brick Studio’s ‘Osborne’ residence in Mount Martha (pictured) is a beautiful example of modern industrial-style; can you tell us a little about the brief and vision behind the project?
The client was a bachelor and wanted an industrial show home that he could entertain in. It was a great open brief for us, giving us the freedom to be as creative as the site constraints allowed.
From concept to completion, how did the home come to fruition?
We were lucky to have worked with this client previously, so there was already a level of trust and understanding established. This made the concept process quite simple, as the client loved the initial design and we proceeded with detailed drawings and permits. We also have a great relationship with the chosen builder, and worked closely with them throughout the build process.
What are the core features of the home?
The design was really centred around the void spaces within, and the sense of compression and release which these spaces yield when combined with the lower adjoining ceilings. The large double height entry is particularly striking, while the sunken living area also features a lowered ceiling to provide the room with a cosier feel.
What are your favourite things about this project?
The wine cellar – a late addition to the project. The arches holding the wine sit snugly behind the staircase and the glass front, adding a sense of heritage to the kitchen and living areas.
“DON’T GET TOO HUNG UP ON THE TRENDS EITHER – UTILISE WHAT YOU LIKE AND CONSIDER COMFORT IN THE DESIGN.”
What makes this property stand out from the crowd?
It’s a real combination of elements, which come together to create such dramatic spaces. The bold rawness of the materials, particularly the brick and charred timber cladding, which also ﬂow into the house [contrast beautifully with] the lighter-coloured kitchen. The stunning natural stone and timber bring a sense of warmth and
style into the space.
In creating this property, where did you look for inspiration?
We had travelled to New York prior to commencing the design and stayed in an amazing industrial-style hotel in Brooklyn. It was designed with such a sense of style, using raw materials in unexpected ways that we couldn’t help but fall in love with, and we wanted to recreate elements of it back home.
For readers looking to craft a home that’s ahead of the curve, what contemporary design trends do you anticipate seeing more of in the coming year?
We are already seeing loads of colour being incorporated into designs, and I feel like this will just become more and more prevalent. Bold colours, clashing colours and patterns, but also more muted and natural tones – burnt orange is definitely a popular choice. I also think people are gravitating back to a more handmade style,
valuing quality craftsmanship over quantity – something we are defnitely looking forward to seeing more of!