PD Thursday | Exploring the colour trends of 2020

PD Thursday | Exploring the colour trends of 2020

As the Colour and Communications Manager for DuluxGroup, Andrea Lucena-Orr researches colour trends across the globe and presents her findings to media, trade and retail markets. In this professional development session, proudly supported by Lincoln Sentry, Andrea will be sharing her thoughts on the colours we can expect to see making their way into Australian interiors in 2020.

About Andrea Lucena-Orr

Andrea Lucena-Orr has been working with colour for over two decades at DuluxGroup, delivering colour training, researching trends and colour forecasting, and presenting her findings to trade, retail and media. Her recommendations play an integral part in Dulux marketing strategies, and ultimately factor into many of the colours we specify for our clients on a day-to-day basis.

Andrea is a member of the international Colour Marketing Group (CMG) and International Color Association (AIC), and a truly passionate advocate for all things colour.

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Boot room, mud room, what room?

Boot room, mud room, what room?

Australia may be an island, but we’re far from isolated when it comes to interior design. We have a plethora of international design blogs streaming to our phones, tablets and PCs every day, and so do our clients.

And when American and European interiors are ‘pinned’ and filed by these clients, so too is the international terminology, adding a few more tweaks to our complicated vernacular and more opportunities for confusion.

In this feature, we’ll look at the subtle differences between three rooms increasingly popular in Australia today.

Powder Room
The term ‘powder room’ has been used by Australians for some time, most often for the small bathroom to be used by guests. The room essentially houses a toilet, sink and mirror, and often adjoins the living/entertaining areas of a home.

Boot Room
The term ‘boot room’ appears to have originated in the UK, defining the room that football teams broke to for their post-game cheers or commiserations. As home-owners looked for a similar space to facilitate muddy boots and wet sporting gear, along with the necessary ablutions, the boot room made its way on to the home design wish list.

Over the years it has evolved to a bathroom near an entranceway that houses a bench to sit on while you pull off your muddy boots, along with coat hooks and storage, a sink, toilet and shower or bath. For obvious reasons, the boot room is best finished with hard-wearing, easy to clean products, but by no means need it look like the ‘man cave’ some would imagine!

Mud Room
The mud room is virtually the American equivalent of the boot room (without the amenities) and until the last few years, has most often been found in snowy, damp northern American climates. The sensibility of such a room can be appreciated in any climate, however, and as a place to store outerwear, boots, sports gear and the like, could be considered a practical must-have. The location of the mud room will generally dictate its contents and finish: by the back door, it may contain storage bins and shelving, and have a floor finish well suited to muddy ingress and egress. By the front door, a more welcoming arrangement would be required, with decorative hardware and cabinetry.

We’d love to see examples of your home-grown versions of these internationally inspired rooms. Send us your best projects and we’ll add them to this feature.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

So much #mirrorlove in this year’s KBDi Designer Awards…! In this feature, we’re reflecting on five of our favourite mirror installations, and sharing some tips for selecting the best-fit mirrors for your bathroom designs.

This 1915 Federation home had several stunning architectural features, giving designer Sally Woolfenden (Lavare Bathrooms), some great bones to play with. We love how Sally’s oval-shaped mirrors duplicate the stunning archway, while adding a touch of contemporary detail to the space.

A matt black metal framed custom mirror suspended in front of a window makes a striking statement in this bathroom beauty. This out-of-the-box thinking allowed Melbourne designer, Penny del Castillo (In Design International) to practically position the mirror while maintaining natural light and ventilation.

Melbourne designer, Alicia Jeffries (Mint Kitchen Group) added a contemporary touch to this period-style bathroom with a bright and bold circular mirror. The curved-end vanity and circular accessories finish the space with class.

Gently curved corners soften the edges of these striking black-framed mirrors. Perth designer, Sally Woolfenden (Lavare Bathrooms) replicated the black detailing in the room’s barn door handle and rail, cleverly linking the bathroom to its adjoining bedroom.

This custom curved mirror makes a grand statement in this beautiful bathroom by Melbourne designer, Olivia Cirocco (GIA Bathrooms and Kitchens). The geometric detail is replicated in the overhead shower roses, making for a very smart and unified space.

Our top tips for selecting the perfect mirror

#1 Size Matters

All of the above mirrors work so well because they’re in great proportion to the vanities they’re sitting above. Intentionally oversized mirrors can be magical, too, but avoid making your mirrors too small.  

#2 Get the Height Right

The height of your mirror may depend on how tall (or short) your clients are. Your clients will want to see the tops of their heads, so ensure your mirror sits at least 300mm above their eye line. Likewise, they’ll want to see below their chin, too, so make sure you consider where the bottom of the mirror will fall.

#3 Lighting for Love

You may have picked a stunning mirror, but poorly placed lighting could make reflections far from pretty. Allow space around or above your mirror for one or more wall lights, and avoid placing downlights directly over the vanity.

Have any other tips to share? As always, we welcome your feedback, so feel free to comment below.


Beauty in imperfection: Laminex Planked Urban Oak

Beauty in imperfection: Laminex Planked Urban Oak

A message from our Diamond Sponsor, Laminex

Created from a photograph of a beautiful piece of salvaged timber, Planked Urban Oak joins Laminex’s collection of highly realistic woodgrain decors.

We can identify any number of reasons why architects and designers are drawn to reclaimed timbers: the warmth and character that comes to timber with age, for example; the emphasis on recycling and sustainability, and the provenance of building materials; the connection to ideas of craftsmanship and authenticity. But Laminex Product Design Manager Neil Sookee sums it up neatly in one short sentence: “It’s the story of imperfection.” A new addition to Laminex’s Woodgrains palette, Planked Urban Oak celebrates the flawed beauty of its source wood, a single piece of salvaged oak, employing the latest production technology to recreate with incredible realism the colour, fibre detail and subtle marks made in the wood over the years – “those checks and splits that develop over time, and the yellowing that comes with exposure to the sun and elements.”

Capturing the true character of aged woodgrain

This approach of realistically rendering the unique qualities of the source wood, common across the Laminex Woodgrains palette and only made possible by advances in digital imaging and engraving techniques, is quite distinct from the flawless appearance often associated with new timber veneers. Sookee refers to the process as the “authentic imitation of genuinely aged material”, and it’s something of a mantra for what Laminex seeks to achieve in all of its imitation decors. “Nature is imperfect, so if you’re reflecting on a piece of material found in nature, then you represent it honestly,” says Sookee. “It’s about taking inspiration from gracefully aged materials – that are almost like found objects – rather than trying to artificially create the look.”

Bringing the look of reclaimed timber to more design projects

The benefit for architects and designers is that it makes it more feasible to bring the look and feel of reclaimed timber into more interiors, because not every project can accommodate the resources required to find the perfect piece of salvaged timber. And by its very nature, the timbers are only available in limited quantities. 

In the case of Planked Urban Oak, the work of finding that perfect timber has already been done by the product design team who, according to Sookee, “will search far and wide to find buildings and structures anywhere they can for inspiration. And then there’s a real skill in being able to develop separations for something that’s beautiful, in a way that delivers the realism they’re looking for.” But once that work is done, the unique beauty of that original plank of oak can be captured in interior spaces again and again, no longer a limited resource.

Planked Urban Oak is available in low-sheen, smooth Natural finish. It’s also offered in the new low-gloss, tactile Chalk finish, which adds additional realism and highlights the source wood’s intrinsic character.

Laminex Planked Urban Oak is available now, order a sample here.

Shades of grey with a touch of timber

Shades of grey with a touch of timber

Warm tones of timber alongside various shades of grey were popular combinations in the KBDi Designer Awards program of 2019. In this feature, we’re sharing just a few of our favourite grey and timber combos.

Timber, white and charcoal were combined to great effect in this stunning kitchen design (St James Whitting). White storm benchtops sit beautifully with charcoal-coloured cabinets, with the pairing brought together by a stunning Calacatta marble splashback. Charcoal-stained floors unify the interior, while oak veneer adds warmth and homeliness to this special space.

Sharp geometric details amidst a black and white scheme were a winner for Tasmanian designer, Lydia Maskiell. The almost-black cabinetry and white and grey-veined benchtop are balanced beautifully with a concrete-look floor, while Tasmanian Oak detailing adds interest and warmth.

Victoria’s Lindsay Williams CKD Au (Mint Kitchen Group) played with several shades of grey in this stunning kitchen design. A textured white splashback adds brightness to the room, while Tassie Oak tones add a homely appeal.

Victoria’s Sam Robinson CKD Au, CBD Au, took out the State title of KBDi Bathroom Designer of the Year VIC with this beautiful bathroom. We love the textural interest of the Grey Oak laminate, and the welcoming warmth of the well-planned lighting.

Fresh perspective: Looking at Laminex through an emerging designer’s eyes

Fresh perspective: Looking at Laminex through an emerging designer’s eyes

A message from our Diamond Sponsor, Laminex

Two kitchens by award-winning young designer Olivia Cirocco show new ways to capture the look of metallics, woodgrain and natural stone with high-quality laminate.

 Interior designer Olivia Cirocco, from GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens, had a night to remember at last year’s KBDI Awards – the first-time entrant took home seven of them! A team from Laminex was also there, as major sponsors of the KBDI. They were deep in development work on the new Laminex Colour Collection at the time, and collectively wondered what this emerging designer might do with the decors they’d soon be launching. That speculation became a conversation with Cirocco, and a new project was born – the designer was given two kitchen briefs and the full run of the Colour Collection.

Tinted metallics, muted greens and woodgrains

“Pink and green is my favourite colour combination at the moment,” says Cirocco, explaining her rationale for bringing together soft pink metallic Laminex Matte Rose Gold and yellow-green Seed, in what’s been dubbed the Colour Collection Kitchen. The tinted metallic decor wraps around the top and bottom edges of an island bench clad in Laminex Raw Birchply. Between the upper band of Matte Rose Gold and the woodgrain decor, there’s a finely detailed shadowline in rich grey-based blue Laminex Winter Sky. “Winter Sky is quite a deep blue with green undertones so it provides great contrast against the Matte Rose Gold,” says Cirocco, “and it makes the metallic pop just that bit more.” The dark blue also helps to bring out the darker tones in the Raw Birchply’s woodgrain pattern.

Cirocco’s use of Raw Birchply extends to the benchtop itself, making a feature of the woodgrain in a way that wouldn’t be practical with real plywood, due to its susceptibility to water damage and general wear and tear. Combined with the recessed kicker, metallic edging and shadowline detail, it creates an impression more like custom furniture than a block of cabinetry. 

On the rear wall, there’s more pink, in the dappled colouring of marble tiles. Above them, white panelling in a lining board profile provides a bright background for decorative objects. And then, all around – on overhead, underbench and tall cabinetry – that organic green Laminex Seed. It’s one of a range of muted greens introduced with the launch of the new Colour Collection, and immediately brings to mind the trees and grasses of the Australian bush. Its calming effect is palpable and, with the woodgrain and marble textures, and gently tinted metallic highlights, it makes for a kitchen that feels relaxed, natural and authentic. 

The rise of dark hues, with a flash of brushed brass

The connection to nature continues in Cirocco’s second kitchen, the Minerals Kitchen, although the effect couldn’t be more different. Black marble-look Laminex Nero Grafite features extensively, on a large island bench and also on the rear wall. It’s teamed with blacker-than-black Laminex AbsoluteMatte Black on cabinetry and the rear benchtop and splashback, rich brown Laminex Natural Walnut shelving, and a terrazzo floor with chunky dark aggregate. The subtle shifts in texture and tone between these different black and dark brown surfaces make for a moody and sophisticated space, and it reflects the strong recent trend towards darker-coloured residential interiors, and particularly kitchens. It’s a movement that informed the Laminex team’s decision to develop more richly coloured decors for the Colour Collection, and has also been noted by Cirocco in her daily practice. “People are increasingly willing to be more bold and more dramatic with their design style,” she says. “I’ve designed quite a few all-black kitchens recently.”

Laminex Minerals Kitchen designed by Olivia Cirocco from GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens.

But this kitchen isn’t quite all black. In fact, it’s defined, to a large degree, by the interplay between that marble-look Nero Grafite and a quite different new decor, Laminex Brushed Brass, on the front face of the island bench. The Nero Grafite benchtop folds over this front panel in a triangular form that reaches down to the floor – difficult and cost-prohibitive to do in natural stone, but here achieved quite simply and authentically with high-quality laminate. Brushed Brass is also used for a custom rangehood cover, which, because of its proximity to overhead lighting, gleams that little brighter, and shows off its beautiful brushed texture. It lifts the entire kitchen with a touch of sophisticated glamour.

 All other elements – appliances, tapware and task lighting – are completely black. But while that black-on-black theme is explicitly contemporary, the predominance of authentic marble and woodgrain textures, the tactile appearance of the brushed brass, and the terrazzo floor, make the space feel quite timeless.

 Cirocco’s work on these two kitchens is impressive for any designer, let alone one in the early stages of her career. And it also shows us how well the decors in the Laminex Colour Collection can be used to capture and combine the authentic looks of stone, woodgrain and metallic surfaces, and beautiful natural colours. Seeing these new decors through a young designer’s eyes is inspiring for all of us.

 Learn more about the new Laminex Colour Collection