Design Demystified: Understand Your Grand Design

What are the big reasons why you – and all of us – should invest in good design? Find out as we go on site with our guests, Mitchell Street homeowner Damien, architect Feras, and Daniel, their Rogerseller consultant.

Whether you’re renovating, refurbishing or building from scratch – bringing your design from sketchpad to bricks and mortar isn’t exactly a wallet-friendly exercise. So, since you’re committing a good chunk of your savings to achieving the space of your dreams, let’s unpack the many positives in pursuing a well-designed life.

"Until you walk into a place like Rogerseller and understand the difference between ten different taps, you don't realise – but you're suddenly going to want a tap that you previously didn't know was special!"

Feras Raffoul, FGR Architects

You (Genuinely) Learn Something New Every Day

“I would say everything was an education,” says Damien, owner of Mitchell Street house. “Having to understand a whole new language of design - even just being able to find the words to explain myself - was quite difficult initially, but Feras became my sounding board, and through that I was able to then articulate things clearly back to the builder and other tradespeople.”

Immersing yourself in a new world, and being able to contribute your own eye to a collaborative creative process also leads to a greater appreciation of craftsmanship and detail. “What starts to happen is that during the process clients can become almost an expert in fixtures and features,” says Feras Raffoul, Director at FGR Architects. “Until you walk into a place like Rogerseller and understand the difference between ten different taps, you don't realise – but you're suddenly going to want a tap that you previously didn't know was special!

"Your architect is an expert in designing for longevity, to deliver a space suited to its inhabitants."

Design Value = Lifelong Style

With considered design on your side, perhaps the greatest benefit to celebrate is your continued enjoyment of the space.

“I can take you to buildings that are 100 years old, and the volume and quality of the space is still beautiful,” says Feras. “The facade may look old, but the space is timeless. And I think that’s the first thing to get right.”

Your architect is an expert in designing for longevity, to deliver a space suited to its inhabitants. Similarly, your design consultant is able to advise which products are most durable, and most timeless in style. Both may make suggestions which carry a sizeable upfront cost, but if you consider the quality of the outcome over the course of its life, you almost always get what you pay for. And with this thinking, even the smallest of spaces can look a million bucks.

“Pick the products to suit the space and then let it speak for itself,” says Daniel. “Don't have both a feature basin and a feature bath in a tight space – your eyes will be all over the place.”

Spend wisely on hidden storage details, energy-saving measures, well-planed layouts that optimise functional spaces and passive thermal management solutions, which will all prove their worth time and time again.

"I can take you to buildings that are 100 years old, and the volume and quality of the space is still beautiful. The facade may look old, but the space is timeless. I think that’s the first thing to get right."

Feras Raffoul, FGR Architects

Enjoy a Change of Scenery

Ideally, the process of building a space that fits you like a glove can be both aspirational, and transformative.

Much of the conceptual groundwork for the project came from a trip that Damien and Feras had taken to Japan, where his architect friend was able to point to real-world examples of refined simplicity in both Kyoto and Tokyo. Slowly letting go of his own preconceptions to do with contrasting materials, the client’s understanding of what might be possible through masterfully restrained design flourished.

In Damien’s own words, “I went from referencing the more mainstream type of houses that you might see on The Block to a more subtle style influenced by that experience.”

“By the end of that trip he really understood the language that I was trying to convey,” says Feras. “That, to me, was the milestone moment. Once he understood what I was trying to do, he backed all of my decisions 100 percent. And it's changed his ethos on design.”

"I went from referencing the more mainstream type of houses that you might see on The Block to a more subtle style influenced by that experience."

Mitchell Street Homeowner

Speak to Someone Who Speaks to Architects

Don’t feel pressured to make a selection without expert guidance – that’s what we’re here for!

“Based on us having a really tight relationship between ourselves and FGR Architects, and a good understanding of their aesthetic, we were able to work closely with the client to achieve a successful outcome, as a partner to, and on behalf of, the architect” says Daniel Robertshaw, design consultant on the Mitchel Street project and National Development Collaborator at Rogerseller.