Neutral colours, natural finishes, luxurious textures. Some things just never go out of style. A room that is oozing with style is not only about what you can see in it, but is also about how it makes you feel – at least that’s what some of the best designers in the industry say.
Nothing in a finished design ever happens by accident and everything has a story to tell. Whether you walk into a luxurious coastal apartment or an edgy office space sparking with tones of sophistication, there will always be a team behind the design who has spent hours curating every last detail.
Christopher Beszant and Kate Cooper live and breathe the world of interiors. As the creative consultant at Architectural Carpet & Tiles in Minyama, Chris offers a space where interior designers, like Kate, can combine their knowledge of design with the latest in the supply world to create something truly special.
Having worked at the company for almost 20 years, Chris has a real passion for quality finishes and loves the challenge of taking a design brief and sourcing the perfect products to achieve the desired look and feel of a project. “I love the fact that I get to start with a set of plans from a designer, or a builder or an architect and then get to see that finished and understand exactly what decisions made that a successful project,” Chris says.
“By us supporting the designers, they can enjoy the design process more because we have the product knowledge.
“Kate gives me a look and feel brief of what she has presented to her clients and with my understanding of the range that we have curated, I can suggest surface finishes that bring Kate’s vision to life.”
Kate began Kate Cooper Interiors in 2014 after transitioning from her career as a teacher. Always in love with design and technical drawings as a child, Kate had no idea there was such a job as an interior designer.
“When I was a child, I thought everybody could see what I could see,” Kate says. “I thought everybody could see proportions of a room and how to put everything together and colours and pattern and textures. I didn’t realise until I was older that not everyone has an eye for design.”
Turning a blank space into a finished project involves a process where Kate will establish the design and then quite literally work from the floor up. “I love when you start a project and you essentially have some plans, and then you make something out of nothing,” Kate says. “It is a black and white plan and you are going to create a feel and a mood for that client.
“First, I will establish the look and feel that a client is after,” she says. “It’s important to get that on the same page. The floor is your foundation, so we decide if they want timber or tiles. Then the wet areas, joinery, tapware, wallpaper if they want it, lighting and it goes from there.”
Kate and Chris then pull together a range of architectural surfaces including engineered timber, porcelain tiles, natural stone and premium carpets to find the perfect products to nail the brief.
“I love the finishes, the joinery design and how it all comes together,” says Kate. “It’s so important to have a holistic view of a project when designing. We are not just looking at something in isolation.”
When it comes to the design decisions, Chris and Kate agree the best projects are the ones driven by style, not trends. While trends and colours come and go, style is eternal.
“We make sure anything that is trendy is also carried by style because style lasts forever,” says Chris. “Fashion is heavily in the ’90s and early 2000s right now. However, it’s much better to use furniture or fittings to trend with instead of something more permanent like tiles or a whole kitchen.
“That is where a good designer will find that balance where it still feels fashionable but making sure it is stylish.”
Kate says most clients are after natural colours, tones and textures when engaging with her for an interior space. “I try not to be trend driven as you are often working on homes people are wanting to live in long-term, so you want it to be timeless,” she says. “Sometimes we will put a twist on it with a trend item. People are often going for natural tones and textures like stone or porcelain. It’s not all sleek and shiny.
“I think it’s important to mix it up too. For example, in a bathroom it’s nice to add a bit of a gloss feature to help bounce the light around. Colours are also more popular in cabinetry right now.”
With the market having far more to offer these days than just a white gloss ceramic basin with a chrome fitting, Chris and Kate believe it is more important than ever to choose products with meaning, rather than being “on trend”.
“People often ask if brass tapware will go out of fashion, or if black tapware is still in fashion,” Kate says. “I think it comes down to there being more choice. Tapware used to be chrome or chrome.”
Chris agrees. “I think if there’s a reason for the finish to be in the project, it will always feel like it belongs. If you are just going for the trend but don’t design it properly, that’s when it goes wrong quickly.
“If it’s a Hamptons home and you try to make it all black and white, it’s not going to work.”
Chris says technology is also making it easier to cost-effectively obtain a luxury look, like a marble design printed on porcelain tiles, or engineered timber flooring. Referencing two recent jobs, a legal firm in Maroochydore and an apartment in Dicky Beach, Chris says these are great examples of how two different projects use the same process to achieve a desired look and feel.
“One is a commercial job, with darker elements to it, and the other one is a light and beachy coastal apartment renovation. They are two completely different projects, but they both got to that place doing the same process.”
And no doubt they will both look as beautiful and stylish in years to come as they do today.