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design trends

The architectural design space is constantly evolving, with new interior design trends and features emerging all the time. Some are fleeting but many are here to stay for the long haul. As an award-winning, Sydney eastern suburbs architect, I wanted to share the three major design trends I’ve been really noticing recently.

If you’re wanting to find an architect to build your dream home, book a free, no-obligation consultation with GWA.

1. Sustainability in building

More and more we’re seeing people recognise the importance of sustainable living and they’re looking for ways to build more sustainable elements into their home. The good news is that there’s been a lot of exciting developments in the technology used to build and renovate homes, all of which enable us to create most sustainable homes for our clients. 

We’re now able to use solar-panelled tiles. They’re great for when your home isn’t suitable for solar panels or you’d just like a more streamlined, sleek look, with all the benefits of solar power creation. We can also use a lot of high quality recycled materials in our buildings, be they original wooden panels or steel elements. 

We inherently employ passive solar and cooling methods in all designs. Well placed windows for cross ventilation, external louvres to protect glazing, and roof forms that take advantage of the natural orientation are all integral to a successful home design.

And also we’re providing a lot more of the things like composting and sophisticated recycling within the actual home. Incorporating these sorts of sustainable elements into home design is becoming a lot more commonplace, which is fantastic.

design trends

2. Indoor/outdoor living

The next one I’ve really noticed is the indoor/outdoor living trend. Sydney is known for its beautiful climate and year-round sun, so there’s a huge desire to spend more time outdoors or, at least, to keep that outdoor feeling when you’re inside. Natural light is always key in achieving this and we work with a lot of clients to introduce more light into their homes, especially in their darker Paddington terrace renovation or heritage update.

But there’s become a lot more focus on bringing the outside in, so that’s like plants on the inside spaces, continuous finishes from inside to out, and also the backyard is no longer an afterthought. You might see the same floor tiling continuing from the living room out to the patio, or similar wooden treatments or cabinetry.

Using these continuous treatments can really expand the perceived living space you have create a more relaxed indoor/outdoor lifestyle. A lot of thought is now going into creating beautiful living space outside and that’s really fantastic to see.

design trends

3. Defined internal spaces

The third thing I wanted to touch on was just lately I’ve noticed a real movement away from the purely open space living type environments to slightly more enclosed spaces internally. Open plan living has been such a key element of building a new home or renovating an existing property that it’s almost expected. And there’s lots to be said in favour of open plan living matching our more relaxed style of living nowadays.

But – and this may sound controversial – there is such a thing as too much open plan living. Not only is there the heating/cooling issue to be considered, but when you shift to a purely open plan home, you loose the ability to clearly define different spaces for different purposes. You may not want the formal, closed dining room your grandmother had, but your dining table still needs to have a ‘home’ within your home.

So even though you may have an open plan living area, a lot more attention is being paid to how to designate individual spaces within that. You may want a cosy nook to curl up with a cuppa and a good book, or an area for your children to play, within sight, but not too close.

design trends

To achieve this, there might be modulations in the ground plane, – meaning different floor heights with a step separating them, or perhaps in the ceiling heights, or just other methods to enclose different spaces within the larger space. By creating subtly distinctive spaces within your open-plan home, you can create a warm and inviting space that gives your family freedom to live on their terms.

These are just three of the current design trends in architecture I’m seeing right now, but the beauty of using an architect to design your dream home is that it will be customised and tailored specifically for your needs. Unrestricted by the templated kit-homes, you can work with your architect to create a home that meets your specific needs and that, ultimately, you’ll love living in.

Randwick Bungalow upgrade

When Nick and Talia Sinclair first met GWAs Georgina Wilson to discuss plans for their Randwick bungalow, Nick threw down a challenge: he wanted a putting green in the backyard.

“I have always been a very keen golfer – it’s what I do to relax and switch off – and I was intrigued by the idea of having a small patch in our new backyard, where I could roll a few putts after work or on the weekend, he says. “But to be honest, I didn’t really think it would be feasible or discreet enough for Talia, until we started talking with Georgina and she showed us how easily and attractively it could be included; that’s when the idea really took hold.”

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with our architects to start your home renovation

After a stint in New York, the two lawyers had decided to return to Sydney in 2016 and, once back, began house hunting for their dream family home in Coogee, Randwick, Clovelly and Bronte. This wasn’t an easy task. The growing family (a two-year old daughter, with a son on the way) knew they wanted to live in the Eastern suburbs, but it was slim pickings. Every place they looked at just wasn’t suitable.

“They all seemed to have some sort of problem,” Georgina recalls. “Whether it was lack of sunlight, unusable bedrooms or no laundry, there was always something wrong about each house.”

When they did find a house which ticked most of their boxes, it was sold before they could even inspect it. So Georgina sat the couple down and gave them a reality check.

“I told Nick and Talia to focus solely on location,” she says. “I said ‘Buy somewhere you want to be and we’ll design something functional, something beautiful that becomes your dream home.’ The trouble with these parts of the Eastern suburbs is that you’ve got very little to choose from. It’s a fabulous place to live and raise a family, but you’re dealing with some pretty basic housing built en masse in the ‘40s.

“They’re generally either completely dilapidated or have had some pretty dodgy renovations done over the years,” Georgina explains, “and most of them need a lot of work to reach modern living expectations.”

Eventually, the Sinclairs found their gem: a crumbling, old bungalow in Randwick. But, importantly, in a lovely street and with incredible potential to become Nick and Talia’s dream home.

And so the planning process began, with a brief extending beyond Nick’s putting green fantasy. The couple wanted a home that could handle the young family’s busy lifestyle and so storage was key. They wanted a haven, a place where calm would reign, despite the comings and goings of its inhabitants and where kids and adults could each escape to their own areas. A flowing ‘indoors to outdoors’ feel to expand the playing area to the green space outside and not clutter the living areas inside with the endless paraphernalia children produce. And, while the functionality needed a serious upgrade to reflect modern-day living, the look and feel shouldn’t venture too far from the building’s original charm.

Now well and truly settled, Nick and Talia’s home is a constant hive of activity. They have a live-in au pair to help with their children, often have international visitors staying and enjoy hosting social gatherings for family and friends. And rather than feeling the home is straining under the pressure, it seems instead to shine.

“I love the way it so beautifully accommodates such a full and varied family life,” says Georgina.

The serene mood is set even as you walk through the front door. Refreshingly, there is nothing to distract young minds, nor trip over, thanks to the oversized (and extremely subtle) vestibule housing all manner of household items. Shoes, bags, prams and sporting equipment are all neatly stored away, out of sight and away from prying hands. It was this never-ending need for storage within a family’s home that prompted GWA to devote the entire existing roof space to this purpose, a feature Nick and Talia particularly love.

“I dare say it was a feat of architectural triumph,” says Nick. “GWA came up with this fantastic idea to line and ventilate our whole roof area which has increased our storage capacity ten-fold. Not only is it a colossal amount of room, it’s not your traditional damp, musty storage room where the dank air seems to ruin everything. I actually can’t imagine ever needing any more space than we now have.”

Australians returning from overseas often come back to Sydney with a new appreciation for the temperate climate which lends itself to the outdoors lifestyle many of us enjoy. The Sinclairs are no different, which is why the outside area featured highly on their list of requirements.

The rear garden is shaded by lush, green trees, providing a pleasantly cool sanctuary to play, entertain and relax. A hot water outdoor shower was even installed for post-surf rinsing and, thanks to some pretty awesome creativity and design, so was the putting green.

For most of the year, the Sinclairs make use of the outdoor area, whether day-to-day or on special occasions. And because the indoors flow effortlessly to the outdoors, with full line of sight from the kitchen and living area, the kids have a certain level of freedom to be outside on their own. Naturally, the younger family members have their own ideas on using the space.

“We are often treated to impromptu concerts on our elevated grassy area – or what we’ve come to know as the ‘amphitheatre’,” Nick explains, “and, of course, the putting green is a feature in itself, fun for us and a draw card for visitors of all ages.”

While it’s hard to predict exactly what the family will need down the track, the couple anticipates their home will continue to accommodate their lifestyle as the children grow and change. In fact, Nick and Talia are already slightly ahead of the game, enjoying somewhat of a parent’s retreat upstairs. The wonderfully secluded master bedroom looks out to a canopy of greenery, almost creating the feeling of being in a tree house. The room’s large window makes the most of the view outside, reinforcing the quiet cosiness that comes from being up high.

In keeping with the period charm of the house, the Sinclairs opted to re-work the tessellated tiles and other features so familiar in Federation homes.

“It was important to us to stay true to the style of the house,” says Nick. “While it desperately needed an overhaul in terms of liveability, there’s no way we wanted to sacrifice the overall look of the home. GWA did a stellar job of melding the two so that we’ve ended up with this amazingly functional, on-trend home which has not just retained its original beauty and charm, but actually highlighted it.

“Time after time, GWA brought edgy, yet realistic designs to the table, giving us a huge amount of confidence in the whole process,” Nick concludes. “The experience has exceeded expectations for us in every way – we’ve created our dream house in the suburb we wanted and with the lifestyle we’d imagined for our family.”

Top 10 Buildings to Put on Your Architecture Bucket List:

There are so many stunning pieces of architecture scattered all over the world; for an architecture lover, it might seem impossible that you will be able to see all of them in a single lifetime.

1. Heydar Aliyev Center – Zaha Hadid, Baku, Azerbaijan

Starting off with a marvel of modern engineering: Zaha Hadid’s ambitious Heydar Aliev Centre in Baku. While Baku may be off the beaten track for a lot of travelers, the Heydar Aliyev Center’s sweeping layers of white concrete and dramatic interiors – evocative of the symphonies performed within the centre – are well worth seeing in person.

2. Guggenheim Bilbao – Frank Gehry, Bilbao, Spain

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is known to be one of Frank Gehry’s most remarkable designs. The museum’s seemingly logic-defying tangle of silver shapes is reason enough to make the trip to Bilbao; however, the revolutionary influence that Gehry’s iconic building had on the development of the formerly sleepy town of Bilbao – prompting the coinage of the phrase “The Bilbao Effect”- is the main reason why Guggenheim Bilbao places on this list.

3. Jewish Museum – Daniel Libeskind, Berlin, Germany

The radical design of Daniel Libeskind’s extension to the Jewish Museum in Berlin is integral to the important narrative that the building communicates. Unlike most museums, Libeskind’s design goes further than simply acting as a vessel for the exhibits inside; it is part of the storytelling, using its hulking exterior, unexpectedly complex interiors, and materiality to create a raw emotional and bodily experience for its visitors.

4. Dancing House — Frank Gehry, Prague, Czech Republic

Frank Gehry’s Dancing House is renowned for its highly unusual and almost cartoonish forms, which were designed by Gehry to evoke the image of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers dancing. Valued as one of Prague’s most important pieces of modern architecture, its witty design stands out against its more traditional surroundings.

 5. Sagrada Familía — Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain

While any of Gaudi’s buildings are worth seeing, the Sagrada Familia is undoubtedly first on the list. If you visit any time in the next seven years, you’ll be witnessing history in the making; although its foundation stone was laid in 1882, Gaudi’s grand vision for the church isn’t due to be constructed by at earliest 2026. Despite it still being under construction, you can still go inside to experience the spectacular riot of colour and detail incorporated into Gaudi’s design.

6. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque – Isfahan, Iran

The Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Iran is arresting both in its sheer size and incredible ornamentation. Built in the 15th Century, this mosque is renowned for the kaleidoscope of intricately patterned tiles, gold filigree and hand painted inscriptions covering every inch of its interiors. Best known for its towering domed entrance, visiting the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is an unforgettable experience.

7. Fallingwater — Frank Lloyd Wright, Pennsylvania, USA

Frank Lloyd Wright’s timeless Fallingwater house is internationally recognized for its dynamic arrangement of spaces and thoughtful incorporation of its natural surroundings. The design showcases Frank Lloyd Wright’s mastery as a modernist architect, and is a piece of architectural history not to be missed.

8. The Guggenheim — Frank Lloyd Wright, New York City, USA

While the Guggenheim in New York City houses an impressive collection of 20th Century and Modern art, Frank Lloyd Wright’s unconventional design is worth the trip in its own right. Its distinctive spiraling interior ramp and beautiful use of natural light creates a transformative experience for art and architecture viewers alike.

9. Villa Savoye – Le Corbusier, Poissy, France

This list would not be complete without Le Corbusier’s most iconic design. Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye is considered to be one of the most significant contributions to modern architecture, as the revolutionary light and airy design became a precedent for countless buildings throughout the 20th century and introduced principles which greatly influenced the Modernist movement.

10. Taj Mahal – Shah Jahan, Delhi, India

The Taj Mahal is listed as one of the seven wonders of the world, so it’s no surprise that it should place on any architectural bucket list. Not only is it one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, its monumental size and completion in the 15th century is an astonishing feat to behold.

For more information on what our team at GWA can do to help you to achieve your ideal project, click here to look at some of our latest projects.

Everyone has dreams of their perfect home: a space they can truly call their own, which provides flawlessly for their needs and lifestyle, and will grow alongside them over time. Some may have a clear vision of what this home may look like, while others may have a few key ideas, but nothing specific in mind. Regardless, starting on the journey of re-designing your home can be overwhelming. While the final product will be well worth it, there are a lot of small steps in between those first stirrings of inspiration and a functional, beautiful home.

This is the perfect time to call in an architect. Here are five key reasons why:

Architects know how to get it done.

An architect’s role is to guide you through the process of designing your ideal home from conception to completion. They are highly experienced in dealing with the complex – and often messy- parts of a project, such as budget management, council restrictions, building code compliance, hiring and communicating with contractors, and helping to solve any issues that come up during construction. Above all, they are a professional presence who is there to make sure that the project runs smoothly and that your needs are being met at every step of the way.

Architects design with you, for you.

An architect is an expert at taking all of those ideas floating around in your head and using them to create a design brief customised to you and your home. They are able to listen to your needs and desires, and distil these into an achievable, high quality design outcome that is uniquely yours. An architect will bring their own extensive design experience to the table, enhancing and elevating the design to become something truly exceptional.

Architects are ready to create something special.

When you hire an architect to re-design your home, you are hiring someone who will think outside the box. They will approach a project ready to face any challenges that may arise, providing simple, elegant, and clever solutions to difficult design projects. Something which may start as a design problem can become a gorgeous detail or point of interest in the hands of an architect.

Architects know how get the best out of your home.

Architects have a wide knowledge of the factors that will affect the comfort and liveability of your home. They understand how take advantage of the site to create spaces that maximise natural light, capture breezes, and invite in greenery and views of the surrounding environment inside. Having an architect on board will mean that your home will be as comfortable and easy to live in as it is beautiful.

Good architecture is for life.

Simply put, good architecture lasts. Hiring an architect to re-design your home can be compared to buying a tailored garment; it is truly unique to you; it fits you and moves in harmony with you; it can be adaptable, and yet will stand the test of time. A house designed to respond to your specific needs will be a joy to live in for years to come.

For more information on what our team at GWA can do to help you to achieve your ideal home, click here to look at some of our latest projects.

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people to become part of the global movement and solution to plastic-free pollution.

This year, our team at Georgina Wilson Architect are taking part in Plastic Free July. We are concerned about the amount of waste produced in our office and in our homes, which end up in landfill and pollute our streets, parks and oceans worldwide.

Will you join us? You can refuse single-use plastics in July. Being part of Plastic July will help us find alternatives that will become new habits.

Curious to know what our team are doing for Plastic Free July? Our talented architect, Kat Prowse, shares her tips on how to reduce plastic waste;

  • Choose to reuse or sit down for five minutes and have your coffee to stay. Australians love their coffee. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 billion takeaway cups and lids are used, landfilled and littered every single year.

You can also encourage and support cafes to become a part of the Responsible Cafe network.

  • Choose to refuse pre-packed fruit and vegetables. Buying plastic-wrapped or packaged fruits and vegetables can be convenient, but unfortunately it creates plastic waste. Buy seasonal and fresh produce from markets, or otherwise Harris Farmers Markets offer reusable bags and allow you to choose loose fruit and vegetables.
  • Choose to refuse single-use shopping bags. Plastic bags are incredibly dangerous to our wildlife and environment. Bring your own reusable bags and help put an end to plastic waste. Keep them in your car so you’re always organised.
  • Choose to refill. Bringing your own containers and jars can help to minimise waste and your impact on the environment. Kat recommends Iggy’s in Bronte, Harris Farm and Naked Foods. Kat mentions you can re-fill milk, however it’s not cheap at $3 a Litre, but is organic, full cream and mentions it is delicious!

Iggy’s also have oil and granola that you can re-fill, as well as delicious bread that is put in paper bags. You can also bring your own egg carton and stock up on eggs. They sell yogurt in glass jars – these jars can then be returned to Naked foods for them to reuse or recycle. Naked foods will also re-fill cleaning products. Some companies like Jurlique and L’Occitane will recycle beauty packaging. You can also make your own yogurt, if that’s your jam…

To go one step further, you can encourage and support businesses to rethink and reduce single-use plastics.  Tell them about reusable alternatives that they can use instead and ask them to encourage customers to bring their own containers.

  • Choose to refuse single- use plastics in your workplace kitchen. Swap single-use plastics with ceramic mugs, stainless steel cutlery and glass cups. If you don’t have a workplace kitchen bring your own fork and container for salads from home.
  • Choose to Recycle. Recycle to help create a more sustainable future for our planet.

Kat’s recycle tip, “Set up a cupboard dedicated to organising reusable items and for recycling specific items. If you don’t have one, or don’t have space for one, visit your local double bay architect. At Georgina Wilson Architect, we incorporate a ‘RRR station’ (reuse, reduce and recycle) into all kitchen designs”.

If you can’t recycle items in your municipal system, search for special recycling companies near you such as TerraCycle or REDcycle.

  • Choose to inspire others. Inspire others to participate in Plastic Free July and refuse to use single-use plastic.

Kat has been inspiring her son to make a difference;

  • Kat’s 5-year-old son: “Mumma, can we please buy some lollies?”
  • Kat: “But they’re in a plastic packet and plastic is poisonous to fish and birds and all animals, how about we go home and have something else that we have purchase sustainably…like chocolate!”
  • Kat’s 5-year-old son: “OKAY!!!”

Kat mentions this trick works every time… obviously more effectively with chocolate, but really kids have a natural love for nature, and we should learn from them.

So, are you ready to join us and take the Plastic Free July challenge?

“I have found the past few weeks, extremely rewarding, by just refilling my milk and bringing containers with me on shopping trips my recycling waste has halved, and it feels empowering. I hope this helps you all to consider a few of these tips in the next month and going forward” – Kat Prowse, Architect at Georgina Wilson Architect.

Together, we can make a difference and be part of the solution. For more information, or to learn more, give our friendly team at GWA a call today: (02) 9363 9182

Introducing a special personal project, the renovation of one of our Architects own family home. We’re pleased and proud to share Kat Prowse’s beautiful work, and showcase her deep knowledge and skill within our industry.

The original house was an old, dark and pokey semi, which has since been transformed into a light-filled generously spacious family home. To achieve this, the plan is hardworking to ensure the entire site is utilised and in turn, give an experience of a spacious interior, on what is uniquely a smaller site.

The house has a calm and peaceful vibe as you move through the home and experience the gentle and subtle layering of spaces. As you’re delivered to the kitchen you instantly feel relaxed and calm surrounded by a beachy vibe of vertically lined joinery and playful splashes of colour and texture.

The kitchen looks out to a central courtyard which acts as a lightwell, interjecting light, deep into the centre of the house. The courtyard also activates the previously unoptimized side passage as a landing strip for kids to play. Care has been taken to make this space free of utilities and ‘stuff’ that typically clog up a semi dwellings side passage.

The kitchen flows into the main living area at the rear which projects outwards towards the garden allowing the house to connect seamlessly to a newly landscaped and functional rear yard. New floor to ceiling glass sliding doors allow morning light to bathe this room, filtered through the rear gums trees and frangipani.

Centrally located is a timber stair taking occupants up to the more private part of the home. The steel handrail of the stair adjoins a striking curved timber edge detail forming the stair void. Natural light floods through a north facing skylight directly above the stair. The upstairs bathroom is separated from the house with frameless glass at high level allowing it to borrow the natural light from the skylight.

Vertical louvres have been strategically placed to the upstairs windows to direct occupants’ sight-lines to capture sea views between apartment buildings to the east and park views to the west, while also giving occupants the ability to block harsh summer sun before it hits the glazing, keeping the upper level cool in summer.

“As the architect and the client, I am immensely proud of the home I have created for my family. It’s both a characterful and functional realisation of our family’s home life.” – Kat Prowse, Architect at Georgina Wilson Architect.


Builder: Yakka Build

Photographer: Noel Mclaughlin

Stylist: Jackie Brown Stylist

Our home is our temple, a place where we can clam our minds, relax and spend quality time with family and friends. As the saying goes, our home is truly our sanctuary. As we progress further into 2019, we begin to see a range of soft, nurturing tones, textures and elements playing throughout the home interior and decor space. There’s a sense of quiet minimalism and we love it, so much so we’ve collated some of our favourite style and design elements of this season.

Colour and curves

Style doesn’t just come across in signature elements, but more so colour incorporated with design. We can use colour and style to align our body, mind and home.

Use a soothing tonal palette to style a serene place, balance is found in subtle textural details and still colour accents. Set curved forms with imperfect textures to style a delightful, pleasing heaven. Ditch sharp, graphic edges and fill your space with flowing, rounded edges.

Rest soft orange and nude hues with solid pink accents and creamy neutral paint colouring as well as greyed-off mauve to cool colours of natural stone and granite to modernize your bathroom. Paint the guest room or retreat soft green to evoke a feeling of relaxation and wellness. Use tonal hues for other elements.

Natural Elements and Textures

Indoor plants rise our mood. A trailing devil’s ivy on a bookshelf or a large, potted long-leaf fig in the corner of a room can provide a sense of calmness and lift the natural element within the space.

Station rough textures with creamy colours or incorporate value simplistic pieces to create a sense of space and elegance.

Display Ceramics and Aesthetic Sculptures

Cast black or charcoal amidst the pastel palette if your place becomes too sweet.

Display handmade ceramics and aesthetic sculptural forms, textured fabrics and wall hangings to add depth to your pastel palette.

Offering a sense of minimalism and simplistic design, these elements can help you to create more feel to your home this season. For more information on how our team at GWA can help you to achieve a sense of more space and modern design, view our latest projects here.

Paspalis Business Centre Darwin nearing completion.


GWA has been working with Injalak Arts in the Northern Territory to develop four 6 metre long artworks for our new business centre in Darwin.

Ocean Ave, Double Bay