It’s such a joy to be on the photoshoot of a home you have been so involved with. I was on a shoot just like that recently, for a project I spent two years working on with the owners. I was involved in the planning, specifying, designing and decorating, while also often being onsite throughout the build process. This project was so wonderful to work on, with amazing clients, who ended up with a stunning ‘Forever Home’.
So I thought I’d walk you through the process we went through for this home, as well as share some pictures on the end result, so let’s take a look……
The design brief was to create a home that was timeless, sophisticated and incorporated their much-loved pieces of artwork and furniture. They wanted to use durable materials combined with an aesthetic that reflected their classic and refined taste, and principally didn’t look like a ‘cooker cutter’ home. They wanted something that showed a sophisticated uniqueness, so we selected materials that had something distinct about them – textured tiles, organic shapes, superior benchtops for supreme durability in 12mm thickness for the kitchen, and low maintenance timber tiles for the floor.
The key with this project was they engaged us early on. At floorplan stage!
This allowed us to go through floorplans in great detail to ensure the plans were going to work hard for them – for when their children got older, for when they became empty nesters, and for when family from overseas came to stay.
We created zones for heating and cooling and flexibility for rooms – the floorplan showed a central room which they initially thought would be a spare room with a hinged door. My suggestion was to use double cavity sliding doors to allow for as much flexibility as possible. As the doors are open most of the time, they still have a lovely sense of space, however, had they stuck with a standard hinged door the effect would have been totally different. Once they moved in, the room actually became a study with a sofa bed – so it’s actually now a study come second living room, come spare bedroom. How I love flexibility!
Once the floorplan was finalised we started on the selections and design scheme which was presented to them for all the hard surfaces – tiles, benchtops, cabinetry, splashbacks, along with the all the tap wear, sanitary, door furniture and so on. We used their brief to come up with the colour scheme, material type and the look and feel. To minimise the overwhelm of our clients having to shop around for all of this, we showed them 3 different design schemes for the bathrooms and kitchen.
We also went through all the working drawings in great detail to design the cabinetry around how they entertain and cook, down to how they prefer to store and use certain items, right down to pot heights! A cantilever drying rail for space saving drying (no dryer required) was specified for the laundry.
Everything was decided on early on in the piece, so that when it was time to tender for builders, everything was pre-selected, so the quote was fixed. This involved going through the advantages and disadvantages of different interior and exterior material types ensuring that selections would meet functional and maintenance expectations. Interestingly, the client was adamant on having a natural timber floor as the main floor. Once I went through the advantages of using a timber tile, and they saw it in-situ at another job, they were hooked on the idea, and the comment from them now is ‘the floor is one of our most favourite things in the house, and it’s the thing most of our friends comment on as they can’t believe it’s tile!’.
We liaised with the landscaper and lighting designer to ensure everything would come together as a whole and be integrated from the outset. All exterior colours and finishes were also selected, with particular detail on the façade to ensure contrast and differentiation was created.
As the alfresco faced South, we also provided suggestions on how to maximise the sun and aspect to maximise light and functionality for the area and its integration with the pool and inside spaces. Likewise with the windows, their size, orientation and shade devices.
Throughout the process we also worked out the flow and space planning of furniture at floor plan stage to ensure everything would be positioned correctly and furniture and rugs ordered would be to the correct scale.
Window treatments were also planned at floorplan and frame stage to ensure we had motorisation installed correctly and reviewed multiple window treatment options before deciding on the right ones for the room based on aesthetics, privacy, sun management and sleeping requirements. In the end we used a combination on curtains, blinds and a fabulous adhesive covering for the window by the front door.
This is what they said once they moved in –
“White Pebble Interior, led by Frances, was a key pillar in the construction of our dream home.
Having met with a number of interior designers to assist us, the selection was easy after we met with Frances. Her knowledge and approach was superior. Luckily, we decided to engage their services early in the process. Frances was critical in all the work we did with the architect, the builder, the garden designer, as well as in choosing most materials.
Throughout the process Frances became a trusted advisor to us and we probably ended up involving her in many more decisions than what would be considered normal. Her advice was always so sound, logical, well considered and yet we still knew that she would always ensure that whatever it was being decided, the end-result would be to the highest standards, have a stylish wow-factor and be within budget.
Once the house was built Frances continued to assist us with all things to do with the inside. Colours, lighting, furniture, artwork, cushions….nothing was left to chance.
Frances’ attention to every single detail meant that every part of our house has worked out to look, function and feel better than we had ever dared hope for.
We learned that working with White Pebble Interiors also enabled us to save a lot of money. Not just savings from not making mistakes we otherwise undoubtedly would have. Real tangible savings were made from the many discounts Frances was able to land us through her many and varied high quality supplier contacts.
Honestly you have been amazing, lovely to work with and very professional. You have the right mixture of making it fun but getting things done. We really appreciate all the extra time effort and thought you have put in on achieving our deadline. We are beyond happy with the house and a big part of that has been you from start to finish”.
It was an absolute delight to work with this family. After 12 months of their home being completed, they still let me how much they love their home and the compliments they continually receive from friends and family. It’s what makes my job so rewarding. To have a result where everyone is happy is a wonderful feeling and it’s why I love doing what I do.
An interesting comment my client made was how her friends keep telling her ‘Oh I wish we had finishes like yours’. ‘Oh, I wish we had of sought the advice of someone during our build’. Several of her friends thought they could do it alone, but in the end didn’t really get the result they were after.
Having someone on your team that can advise about the design and colours that will come together and look great, and will suggest which materials are going to meet your functionality needs is what arms you to make the right decisions. It’s about aesthetics, functionality and budget all coming together to meet your overall goal.
I still drive past this home and quietly smile at how beautiful it is, and think about how much I loved working on it with my clients to achieve the end result.
Would you like to see all the other pictures of this stunning home? View them here.
Don’t want to do it alone? Remove the stress from your own build and take away the pressure of so many decisions. Contact me to discuss how much or how little you may need some help with your project.