DesignerPly adds decorative impact

DesignerPly adds decorative impact

DesignerPly is a decorative range of plywood specially selected to create a visual impact – from wall panelling, joinery and ceiling panels. The DesignerPly range offers an extensive range of products for many applications, with clear and feature veneers to pre-finished Powder Coated surfaces to achieve your desired designs. 

Studio Edwards has converted a trio of shipping containers into a weekend retreat overlooking the Otway Coast called House28. The interior, using DesignerPly for all surfaces, successfully creates a calm, tranquil atmosphere ensuring a relaxing holiday. 

About using DesignerPly in a kitchen, Architect Ben Edwards recommended using a thicker timber for the smaller panel sizes to ensure the natural product will not warp. Mentioning kitchen cabinets specifically, Ben recommends the 19mm sheet size. Speaking of DesignerPly Marine Ben said “With that being an A grade product as well, the thing is when you put the sheets next to each other they look continuous. There are no huge variations in the different colourings of grains.” 

The many options of powder coating mean any colour is available, with the ability to keep the natural beauty of plywood showing through should that be the desire. Clear and lime wash options have been the favourite option thus far, with black powder coating gaining popularity quickly. 

For more information, or to order samples, visit, or phone 1300 088 066.

Selling value over price

Selling value over price

Are the prices (fees) you charge your clients commensurate with the value of service you’re providing? Do your clients really understand exactly how much work goes into a design project from beginning to end?

If you’re feeling nervous about presenting your initial design quotations, or are seriously thinking about stepping up your schedule of fees, we encourage you to work through this ‘three-step challenge’ to determine where you’d like your earnings to be.

Step 1: Break it down and add it up

Begin by breaking down the full scope of services you’re providing. You may have your own terminology for each phase, but all design projects can be basically be broken down into a ‘C.O.R.E’ order:

C: Collaborate and Collect
In the Design Survey stage, you’ll be collaborating with your client to determine their practical requirements for design, their aesthetic and style preferences, their budget and time expectations. You’ll also be collecting data: you’ll be measuring up the existing space, determining site parameters, locating existing services and assessing structural limitations. How long do you allow for this process?
O: Organise and Optimise
If you’re smart, you’ll collate the information you’ve gathered above within a few hours of your meeting. You’ll set out a clear and concise design brief, make sure you have all the information you need about the site (did you get all the measurements?), and send your client a summary of your findings to ensure you’re all on the same page. What is your procedure for this stage of the game? How long do you allow yourself to organise and optimise your brief?
R: Research and Review
Finding finishes, fixtures and fittings that meet your client brief can be a time-consuming exercise. Yes, it’s a part of your Concept Design/Design Development stage, but when you’re lost in a Google-vortex, are you keeping track of time?
E: Execute and Deliver
You’ve gathered your information, organised your findings and researched the best products for the project. Let the fun begin! How much time do you set aside for Design Development and Documentation? Is this the ‘heaviest’ component of your project, or is it relatively light work when you’ve laid out ‘C, O and R’ above?

Now’s the time to be brave: add up your hours, being brutally honest, and move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Deduct and divide

If you’ve set a pre-determined fee for your design service, divide it by the hours set out in Step 1 and determine your hourly charge out rate. Remember you’ll need to deduct your overheads from this figure (phones, office supplies, rent, insurance, electricity etc. – work out your monthly expenses and divide it by the number of hours you’ll be working).

Step 3: Reflect and Review

Are you happy with where you’re at? Is there room for growth in your fee schedule? Are you setting out your full scope of work when you send your potential clients a fee proposal?

When clients understand the ‘real’ extent of the service you’re offering, you’ll be better positioned to sell value over price. You’ll reinforce your professionalism, and let your clients know there’s more to design than picking pretty colours and keeping up with trends.

We’ve specifically structured our KBDi Design Consultancy Agreements to help you with the above. The document sets out all stages, from Design Survey to Project Consultancy/Management, and helps keep you and your client on the same page. If you haven’t seen the contract yet, contact us today and we’ll send you a copy.

Interior design salaries: a global snapshot

Interior design salaries: a global snapshot

KBDi Affiliate Members, Bespoke Careers, are a specialist recruitment agency dedicated to connecting job seekers with employers in the fields of architecture and design. With offices in London, Sydney, Melbourne, New York and Los Angeles, Bespoke Careers have a truly global outlook of the design market, and a great understanding of the range of employment opportunities available today.

Bespoke Careers have collated their most recent findings in an extensive and beautifully set out ‘Global Salary Guide 2018’. With salary guides across Architecture, CAD, Urban Design and Landscape, Interior Design, Business Support, Architectural and Interior Products and Graphics and CGI, the Guide presents a fantastic snapshot of industry positions and is a great read.

We encourage you to check out the Salary Guide here, and thank Bespoke Careers for making this available to our Members.

Smooth curves with Staron Solid Surfaces

Smooth curves with Staron Solid Surfaces

Staron®Solid Surfaces are suitable for endless applications in kitchens, bathrooms or other residential projects. With a silk-like finish and a range of over 80 colours to select from, Staron®is both aesthetically and functionally pleasing.

One of the great advantages of Staron®is that it can be moulded and curved into any design or structure through a process called thermoforming. This process allows three-dimensional designs to come to life. Virtually any shape can be formed with Staron®.

This creative process of fabrication can result in endless interesting design possibilities. Kitchen benchtops can be curved and join inconspicuously around soft curves, and custom designed vanities can be a feature with smoothly rounded designs. Create unique curved bowls, vases or make the waves of your project curve and twist into a concept that creates impact and is original.

Staron®can be inlaid, creating a blend of colours into one piece. The flexibility of the range extends to limitless edge profiles, drop down edges, and splashbacks. The durability and non-porous nature of the product also make it easy to maintain. All this comes with a Greenguard certified material and a 10 Year Warranty. Staron®Solid Surfaces provide a design solution that pushes the boundaries of design.

Virtually anything you can imagine, you can create with Staron®.

Discover more at

Image Credit: Design by Richard Cardy.

Gessi 316 Trame Basin Mixer

Gessi 316 Trame Basin Mixer

The Trame Basin Mixer forms part of Gessi’s new 316 Stainless Steel Bathroom Range. Available in four finishes, its attention to detail and the perfect harmony of its contours showcase its Italian style and class.

For more information about this and other Abey Australia collections, visit

Smeg announces celebratory collaboration with Disney

Smeg announces celebratory collaboration with Disney

Smeg has announced a milestone collaboration, of movie-like proportions, with the legendary Disney – revealing a limited edition FAB fridge at London Design Festival 2018.

To mark Smeg’s 70th anniversary and Mickey Mouse’s 90th, Smeg’s iconic FAB28 refrigerator has been adorned with a ‘True Original’ bespoke drawing of Disney’s most iconic and much-loved character.

A beautiful image of Mickey, cheekily reaching for the fridge’s handle, is portrayed in black on the door of the pure white FAB fridge.

The collaboration is a true limited edition with only 90 of the fridges being produced – one for each of Mickey’s 90 years.  Each appliance carries a limited edition silver plaque signifying its unique production number.

The collaboration not only unites two global brand icons but also highlights the ethos they have in common – that of bringing the family together, with a focus on good food and entertaining.

Smeg’s FAB28 refrigerator, with its soft curves and 50s-inspired design, is Smeg’s most widely recognised appliance and acclaimed as a genuine global design icon.

Interior features of the refrigerator include adjustable glass shelves, chrome shelving supports, metal wine racks, LED strip lighting, an ice compartment and a Life Plus drawer that keeps fruit and vegetables fresher for longer.  Each FAB28 has a total gross capacity of 281L and A+++ energy rating.

The Limited Edition Smeg Disney Mickey Mouse FAB28RDMM3 fridge is available exclusively from Smeg’s flagship store in St James, London.  Visit for more details.

Euro laundries in Australian kitchens

Euro laundries in Australian kitchens

With the tiny home movement slowly growing in Australia, designers are being challenged to make the most of small spaces. An obvious place to start is with the functionality of the kitchen, and the potential for this home hub to be much more than the ‘cooking quarters’.

Our European cousins have been combining their kitchen and laundry spaces for decades, and the concept of a ‘Euro laundry’ is growing in popularity in the USA, too. In Australia, however, installing a washing machine in a new kitchen renovation can prove a little more complicated.

To meet the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC), you’ll need to consider a number of items before suggesting this option to your space-saving clients. You’ll need to consider where you’ll allocate a stand-alone washtub in your combined-kitchen space, and how you’ll handle water-proofing in this classified ‘wet area’.

KBDi’s Education Partner, Designer Training Australia, has condensed these requirements into a two-page technical bulletin. This is an excellent resource available exclusively for KBDi Members. If you haven’t accessed your copy yet, email us today and we’ll shoot it through.

Washing machines – build ’em up, build ’em up (or not?)

Washing machines – build ’em up, build ’em up (or not?)

While it makes ergonomic sense to elevate a front loading washing machine, you could create all kinds of alternative pain down the track if you don’t follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Fisher & Paykel ‘Installation Instructions User Guide’ for their WH series range of Front Loading Clothes Washers states ‘this machine must not be installed and operated on a plinth’.

Miele’s installation instructions are clear, too: ‘Plinth installations should only proceed on concrete or cemented bricked plinths. The unit/s must be secured against slippage via retaining clips. Freestanding Besser blocks or bricks are not an acceptable form of plinth, and Miele will not install upon them. Further installations of washer/dryer stacked on a plinth a prohibited.’

A fully loaded washing machine can be a hefty weight, and a full spin cycle will typically create a significant amount of vibration and movement. The structural integrity of the surface a machine is mounted on can make a big difference between a safe performance and an epic fail. If the latter occurs and your client’s machine comes off second best, you can bet your bottom dollar the manufacturer won’t come to the party.

How often do you check and double check the installation specifications of the appliances you specify? Did you know that your non-compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions could lead to a void in product warranty for your client?

We’ve fielded a number of complaints from consumers and queries from Members about this particular topic this year. In the spirit of ‘following rules’ (and learning from mistakes), we’d welcome your feedback on any similar issues that have risen for you or your clients in the past.