The New Moderns: Just Add Color – Decorating Tips from Downunder


There’s a new sensibility at work in homes that demonstrates a modernist, almost minimalist, aesthetic.


The message of simplicity in concrete floors, natural timber joinery, exposed beams or blackened steel-framed windows and doors may still be characteristic, but it has been brushed with colour. Softly muted tones, deep muddy shades or occasional pops of a bright hue feature in the latest residential interiors. The result is a more casual, cosy and more compassionate version of minimalism.

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Park House is a perfect example. It’s at the vanguard of Australian home design and stole the show at the recent Australian Interior Design Awards (AIDA), receiving both the coveted Premier Award (Victoria) and top honors for Residential Design.


This house is in Melbourne’s suburb of Hawthorn and was a design collaboration between Leeton Pointon Architects and Allison Pye Interiors. It is fresh and inviting, even homely, despite its sophistication, largely because of the muted colour in every room. There are also curvaceous walls, which work as subtle sculptural nuances delineating each space. And a generous use of timber offsets the austerity associated with the many concrete surfaces.



“Robust natural concrete, polished concrete floors, natural grey rendered walls are set against natural timber ceilings, hand-made bush basil tiles, soft-waxed walls and linen curtains,” says architect Michael Leeton. “Furnishings in natural linens and artwork made from natural materials complete the overall picture.”


For the furniture and furnishings, in the bedroom and living rooms of Park House, subdued colours, such as dusty pink, sandy tan, speckled grey and soft teal, add warmth to the more brutish materials used for hard surfaces.


“We like to juxtapose raw materials against softer elements as a way of heightening and celebrating their innate qualities,” says Leeton. “It’s a wholistic approach to design that creates environments which imbue this quality and allow a sense of silence to the space.”

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