SUMMER 23/24

DESIGN MATTERS, with Poppy Bevan
Our homes are on the precipice of a new design era.


Building, renovating, or planning major interior design works to our homes are not things most of us do for the short term. Design decisions should reflect who you are and how you live to ensure a uniquely personal home that will stand the test of time. This is why it is important to be aware of the current trends, to make sure you are not just following what is popular, but rather creating a home that you genuinely love.

Happenings in the design world start with purist ideas and gradually filter down into our everyday lives. Our first experience of the next up-and-coming design movement is usually in cutting-edge restaurants and bars because, unlike our homes, they have the freedom of being updated every few years. Take The Bon Pavilion in Gosford – currently undergoing a major interior refurbishment only three years after opening.

Until recently, we have been in a phase of restraint, which included the prudent use of colour and the celebration of simple building materials. This was a time when the humble concrete block was elevated to architectural significance, and whites and greys reigned supreme. Stylistically, these materials are used in a technique called ‘modelling’, where individual building components are put together and remain visible in the finished product. We see this in the prevalence of polished concrete floors, exposed concrete blockwork, natural timber elements, simple corrugated steel cladding, white-on-white interiors, and even the return of the 1960s’ breezeblock. 

Right now, we are on the precipice of a new era and, for those who love opulence, this is your time. The world of design is moving away from a devotion to restraint and into an era influenced by the excess of the roaring 1920s. In this spirit, we are seeing a shift to design that is fundamentally more luxurious, richer in colour, and invites the return of craftsmanship. 

We will see a prevalence of innately luxurious materials including beautiful natural stone, brass (polished or left to patina), leather, detailed plaster work, and intricately crafted timber veneers. We will see a change from ‘modelling’ to a technique called ‘carving’, where designs appear sculpted as if cut away from one larger element. 

A great example is in kitchen design, where there is a move away from the ‘modelled’ formula of kickboard + cabinets + countertop + splashback, towards the creation of ‘carved’ kitchen joinery that creates a cohesive streamlined effect. In this approach, island benches of ornately veined coloured stone become a sculpture in themselves, appearing carved from one large piece of stone with minimal fussy details. 

In another luxurious flourish, colour will return as a major design element, and not in the fashion of the feature wall, but as a confident entire room application – a simple way of creating spaces that feel as though they are one all-enveloping whole.

Finally, there will be a return of atmospheric lighting including wall sconces, concealed cabinet lighting, and standard lamps that avoid the spotlighting effect of downlights. This softer, more delicate luminance will act as a sculptural element that can transform how a space feels.


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