Today, we sit down with Rui Rosa, Senior Interior and Architectural Designer at Shelford Quality Homes, to learn just what goes in to designing a home... and what an interior designer actually does!
Rui, you’ve been with Shelford Quality Homes as their Senior Interior and Architectural Designer since 2017. What does a usual work week look like for you?
My working week is usually very busy and often unpredictable! It can involve anything from landscape design to selecting and buying whatever we need to finish a project. I oversee all the quotes, orders and invoices required for the execution of architectural and interior projects that I am responsible for, and I’m also responsible for guiding my colleagues to ensure they meet design briefs and build deadlines.
Interior design entails far more than just picking artwork and furniture. Can you explain the interior design process?
First is the brief development, where we carefully review the client’s ideas, objectives and any essential needs - and importantly, the budget. After this we develop the plan, right through to a concept presentation with sketches, inspirational images, artist impressions and a preliminary selection of finishes and fittings. What follows is either fine tuning or moving to the next stage of design development.
The first part of design development involves meetings with the client where we present more detailed working layouts and drawings that show all the finishes and fittings from the approved concept. Any requests for structural changes are made and if required, planning applications are submitted and amendments to the scope of the project are finalised.
Next is the actual detailed design where every detail is carefully considered, including; joinery, fitted furniture, stone work, lighting and all specified electrical works. Within this stage we produce scaled drawings, material schedules, realistic visuals and finalise the specification with mood boards.
Once the design phase is complete, we start the more practical process of construction project management. This is where we ensure the design is accurately interpreted into actual construction - and where any issues are resolved. Along the way we work closely with all the suppliers, trades and sub-contractors to ensure a smooth execution. The final stage involves the sourcing and buying of all the loose furnishings and artwork for the completion of the finished home.
Interesting! Is the process different when you’re designing a display home, compared to when you’re working on a client project?
It does differ, yes. In the instance that Shelford Quality Homes is building a display home, I will create the brief for the interior. Our accomplished in-house interior designers then contribute to assembling the material and colour palette. This task can repeat itself two or three times until we’re satisfied with what is best suited both visually and economically. Being that it’s a display home, creating a design that appeals to the majority of potential home builders can be very challenging, but it is something that we strive to achieve.
Where a client requests an interior design service, the process is reversed and the focus flips to satisfying the client’s needs. It’s a personable approach, where sometimes a large piece of artwork or family heirloom dictates the complete surrounding.
You’re well established in your career now. What is the biggest change you’ve observed in interiors since you started out?
I don’t recall ever having such a vast amount of product choice when I started my career in the mid-nineties. Such a diverse choice of materials and applications shape the way we design and create the surroundings for our clients.
What are the major interior trends you see emerging for 2019 and beyond?
The growing forces of increased power bills, unaffordable housing prices and demand for sustainable living is shaping the design trends of the homes of the future, both inside and out. Materials such as exposed brickwork, raw concrete with sustainable timbers, low emission appliances and recyclable products are continuing to shroud the growing popularity for designing big, but building small.
Building a house whilst creating a home can be a challenging task. What do you see as the one feature element that helps make a house a home?
Everyone seeks a wow factor, something with charm and a certain attraction to keep us content and relaxed within our surroundings. To me, the number one feature is a kitchen that boasts quality finishes and appliances. Just as important, albeit on a different level, is a living space that blends the inside and out. With broad bright windows and lush landscaping, we stay connected with our immediate surroundings - regardless of the season.
What are your design and styling tips for people looking to revamp the look of their home on a budget?
Creating mood boards with inspirational samples and images is a great place to start. It’s important then to take careful and subjective consideration to the various items that are needed to create the look, feel and function of the space being revamped – and their rough prices. Then do your research, as sourcing quotes and estimates on the actual costs of bringing your mood board to life can be an excellent reality check.
My best tip to stay on budget is to track your actual and projected expenditure in an Excel spreadsheet. You can even link itemised worksheets to an autosum cell, which will update your total every time you enter a new item and price. Technology is your friend – so make the most of it.
The external façade of the Australis Star display home in Baldivis (which has featured on TV!) is an interesting mix of grey toned render against Midland Brick’s Restoration Red bricks. Tell us about this design feature.
The Australis Star was born from a previous loft house model, where its elevation was influenced by our turn of the century Federation styling. The Restoration Red is a perfect reflection of this era. The render colour specification acts to encompass current generation design preferences.
We all seek differences as individuals, but we all respond exceptionally well to a personalised and experienced service. From that comes the confidence and trust to design and build with Shelford Quality Homes.
To find out more about Shelford Quality Homes, visit www.Shelford.com.au or phone(08) 9599 1500.