Epidode 103: Designing and Building my Forever Home Part 2- Interiors

In this episode of this 3 part series on how Frances created her Forever Home, Frances outlines how she specified the interior materials and finishes for her own home. 

She walks through her vision for the home, her decision-making criteria, things she would do differently now, and how she stayed true to herself when selecting items for her home. 



Look and Feel 

  • She tried to incorporate Moroccan influence where she could as true Moroccan  materials were not easily available at the time. 
  • Her dream was Tadelakt finish for the bathrooms, but again it was difficult to find an artisan who could do it, and when she did, it was well out of the budget. Instead, she sourced tiles with a trowel effect to mimic Tadelakt as best she could Concrete looking tiles were just hitting the market at the time.  
  • Patricia Urquiola tiles were used in the kitchen and ensuite 
  • Classics that had been around over 10 years that she still loved with a passion. 


  • Timber tile flooring – was selected before we even engaged an architect. 
  • Wanted floors to be ‘party proof’ and maintenance free 


  • Die-cut Moroccan Inspired pendant lights used over the island bench in the kitchen.  
  • These were also chosen before the house was designed. 
  • Disco Mirror Ball Light – loved and chosen by her partner 
  • 3-tiered mirrored wedding cake light – also loved and chosen by her partner. 

Work around the Budget  

Like everyone else, Frances had a budget to follow. 

  • She chose her key feature tiles and coordinated more cost effective options around them 
  • She  opted with mid-range tapwear that has the best warranty on the market. 


  • The Patrica Urquiola Mutina splashback tiles were the ‘leading piece’ in the kitchen and all other materials revolved around the splashback colours of mixed greys, off-white and brown accents 
  • White cabinetry in thermo wrap combined with a newly released concrete look solid acrylic surface in charcoal grey from Hi Macs, to pare back with the splashback.    
  • Plus, the White Moroccan inspired pendant lights  


  • Her family bathroom has Moroccan-inspired decorative tiles as a feature and tiles to mimic Tadelakt. This bathroom made it into House and Garden’s Top 50 Rooms 
  • For her Ensuite, Frances wanted a lot of natural light. She wanted to have the feeling of being outdoors so a floor-to-ceiling window was specified in the shower to give that indoor/outdoor feel.  
  • She chose embossed Patricia Urquiola tiles – which she had loved for years. 
  • For the powder room, Frances wanted it to have a ‘wow’ factor.   
  • After seeing a new release of Bisazza’s first ceramic tile designed by Marcel Wanders (Dutch Designer), she completely changed the specification for this room, so these tiles could be used. 


  • The front door was important as it makes such an impression. Frances selected a solid timber paneled door with a custom stain to get the colour perfect. 
  • It was important to match the colour of the home back to Colourbond Surfmist being used for the gutters and downpipes, so the render colour was chosen to coordinate back to this. This saved a lot of money not having custom Colourbond colours. 
  • Preference was for a no maintenance exterior, so they chose Alpolic cladding in a timber look finish to soften the white render 
  • Black windows were used that fitted with the vision of ‘less is more.’ 
  • If Frances had her time over, she would have recycled bricks as part of the façade. 

Lesson Learned 

  • Avoid having a dark coloured solid acrylic surface for the benchtop as scratches are more prominent than if they were a light colour.  
  • If she had her time over, she would have made the shower in the family bathroom smaller and increased the size of the vanity. Get a lighting designer involved from the outset. Residential lighting designers very hard to find at the time of her build. 
  • Install an external vertical blind for the large east facing windows. Should have followed their own advice 

What Frances loves 

  • After 7 years, Frances still loves all the materials she chose, and that’s because she really chose what she loves. Decorating is on-going – it’s forever evolving. 
  • The garden – it’s established and an oasis of green.  
  • Frances loves the natural pool, but it is higher maintenance than anticipated. 
  • She’s proud her home got showcased in Australian House and Garden and featured internationally on Houzz. 

Resources available: 

Unsure how to find the right people for your renovation or new build? 

Download this FREE guide- How to Find your Renovation or New Build Team as this gives you the checklist and process on how you find the right people for your team. 


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