When it comes to interior design, homes on the Northern Beaches have a distinctively laid-back appeal. There are a wide range of home styles in the area from old beach shacks to breezy coastal homes, sleek modern styles and, of course, the ever-popular Hamptons houses.
One thing they often share in common is the connection to the outdoors, nature and the beach that sneaks its way into floorplans, finishes and furnishings.
To uncover the latest design styles and trends on the Northern Beaches, 26 and Sunny sat down with Dee Why-based interior designer Brianna Sandstrom of Brianna Sandstrom Design.
One of the original founders of the Boathouse Café in Palm Beach, Bri is now well established as one of the Northern Beaches most sought-after interior designers. Well known for her refined coastal interiors, she creates beautiful spaces for homeowners across the Beaches.
Brianna Sandstrom, Brianna Sandstrom Design
So, Bri, let’s get straight to it - what are the most popular design styles on the Northern Beaches in 2022?
I would have to say ‘modern coastal’. It has been growing in popularity and is probably the most common brief I receive here on the Northern beaches at the moment. The style exudes serenity and sophistication, but still gives off that holiday relaxed vibe that everyone wants.
What does ‘modern coastal’ look like?
‘Modern coastal’ is a style that prioritises textures and natural materials. So, for instance, you often see materials like stone and timber incorporated into the design.
There’s also layout to consider. The layout of ‘modern coastal’ is typically open plan, which makes entertaining easy and enables the coastal surrounds to be showcased, if the property affords that.
Talking finishes, they’re commonly drawn from the natural landscapes. Think neutral pallets and lots of lights to create a relaxed vibe.
Is the Hamptons style on the Northern Beaches on the way out, or is there still room for it
The ‘Hamptons’ style really boomed over the last 10 years on the Northern Beaches and I think it will always have a place. It’s more relaxed than the intricate US version and I do think it will stick around.
With lots of large families calling the Northern beaches home, ‘Hamptons’ is an enticing style that can suit the scale of homes in the area as well as the size of the blocks we have here on the Beaches. It also comes with an open-air feeling and open plan layout, making entertaining easy.
If I was renovating my kitchen right now, how would you be styling it?
I’d say lot of natural tones in line with a coastal palette, drawing inspiration from nature. Gray colours are on their way out, with warmer tones coming in.
For the kitchen, I’m also a big fan of natural stone for the slab because there's something special about having a unique piece. Something that’s cut from the ground is yours and yours only. That can be a beautiful statement.
Then I would add warmth through joinery, texture and lighting. This can make the kitchen feel more homely. That’s why wall lights, wall sconces and pendants are huge right now.
So, when you talk about a slab of stone, are we talking marble?
There are different types of natural stone that we can use on benchtops. Sure, marble is very common but there are other products - some more durable - that fall in the natural stone category.
I personally like dolomite. It’s a similar composite to a granite but has the aesthetic of marble. I like to use it because of the durability and the functionality it has within a kitchen.
What’s popular in floorplan design at the moment, and has that shifted since the pandemic
It’s shifted, not just here on the Northern beaches, but globally. The pandemic has changed our way of living in the last few years and design has had to keep up.
Working from home is a case in point. While we were initially made to work from home, many businesses are now allowing people to work from home on a more permanent basis. The flow through for interior design is that multipurpose spaces are a common request.
People on the Northern Beaches are certainly looking to create work spaces at home. Many are also asking things like ‘how do we transform the guest bedroom to be a guest bedroom as well as a home office or a rumpus room?’
Buying fixer-uppers is always popular. What common mistakes do you see with DIY design
Most commonly I finds it’s not having a ‘grand plan. It’s very obvious when you walk through a home where the owners have tacked on rooms, or done things ad hoc without consideration from the get-go.
Don’t get me wrong, there's no problem with staging out builds, especially with the costs of builds going up, but I think having that initial grand plan is very important when it comes to the final result.
For an architecturally designed home, how key is getting an interior designer involved in the process?
It’s a case-by-case basis when working with an architect. Some just like to do the spatial and construction side of things, whilst others will have in-house interior designers.
When we’re involved in a project, we like to collaborate with the architects as much as possible. That’s because it gives us a clear indication of the architect's ideas and how we can also carry that through.
There's nothing worse than having a non-collaborative design approach that results in a mismatched outcome. For that reason, regardless if we are engaged during the architectural design phase, I will always meet with the architect to hear their thoughts so we can both be in alignment.
Prefer to listen? Check out the podcast interview with Bri here.