FINDING CALM… IN YOUR HOME

On a cold evening, I had a lengthy conversation with my wife about how to stay focused during hard times.  We agreed that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by so many external forces that we have no control over… like this current pandemic that’s literally halted the world. 

Being confined helps us to better understand the purpose of our homes. We now see that our interiors are not only for living but an essential space to find calm.

Calm is not like a passion where clarity, drive, and determination are the fundamentals for succeeding.  Calm is finding a space to trust that reflects your personal memories of strength and wellbeing.

Calm is by far holds greater importance during times of despair.  Calm is remembering the peaceful moments that attribute to your happiness and positive outlook. 

My calm moments are the times I spent growing up in Australia. My connection to nature and to family celebrations are the building blocks to my memories associated to specific colors like this aqua sea blue color.

My regular morning walks at Grange Beach – my home in South Australia. My relationship with weathered wood and white trim comes from memories of this jetty.

My theory of Human Sense Connectivity explores the relationship between memories and external influences (see previous blog on Human Sense Connectivity).  Therefore, the initial stage of design should focus on personal experiences and lifestyle.

The first steps to finding meaning within your interiors are to start isolating your thoughts and start filtering the memories that have had a positive impact.  These flashbacks become the roadmap to your style and design direction.

The Modern Component Construction Flagship Home

I am working on a project for Design Elemental Studio as our Flagship Modern Home in Northern Michigan. My objective is to showcase our new way of design and build using component construction systems. Component Construction is the customization of prefab homes with an emphasis on a meaningful and purposeful interior.

Exterior Concepts that allows natural light and air flow into the inside environment. These linear lines and darker and warmer tones remind me of the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

If you are fortunate to design your home from the initial programming phase, it is important to accumulate enough details that will help you move forward into the next phase. The preliminary design phase begins the filtering process of materials and to start emphasizing the balance of color and contrast of texture.

A New Way of Living

Having room to breathe does not mean you need more square footage. You need to prioritize the efficiencies of each room and how your organize objects and furniture. I typically visualize each space before I decide on a design direction. Having floor plans and elevations are a great source to help visualize.

Kitchen rending of Design Elementals Flagship Home in Northern Michigan. Larger windows and bi-fold sliding glass doors are a key feature to the indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Having a courtyard is the new backyard. I grew up in Australia but my family was from Italy. I remember the courtyards in Italy that allowed for neighbors to gather and for children to play. My concept of this courtyard will be accessed by the kitchen and dining room for entertainment.

The Kitchen

I will be using large slab porcelain tile for the flooring in the entertainment spaces and hardwood flooring in the living spaces. The tile will then flow into the outside courtyards to obtain consistency between spaces. The holistic combination of stone and wood represents nature and a connection to the environment. The horizontal surfaces are reflective and neutral. A wood ceiling provides a balance to the neutral tones.

The Living Areas

These images of the study and entertainment room provides an escape from an open space plan. Cabinetry design is a key factor for luxury living and how customizing millwork elevates Component Construction from your typical prefab homes. Design Elemental Studio has an exclusive line of custom cabinets available to make your home more personal.

The Corridors

First impression is everything, so having a strong looking corridor and a front entrance will then be the catalyst of the remaining spaces.

The Bedrooms

I really like how this king bed frame has a built-in desk behind it, rather than the bed going against a wall. The double bunk beds are perfect if you have younger children who like to have sleepovers with friends. The book casing encasing the window frame is a great addition when guests come to stay and would like to read or browse.

The Bathrooms

Bathrooms are very personal. Tile plays such an important factor to the design which is why Design Elemental Studio has an exclusive range of porcelain tile available for our homes.

Changing the way we think about our interiors

Designing your space is a process and requires a mentor who can retrieve information from your memories to build a more meaningful and impactful solution to your home. It’s not just about the aesthetic appeal but how you find calm amongst a hectic and consuming world. This is a new approach to design and an assertive process to build a sustainable and efficient luxury lifestyle.

COMING SOON – PART TWO – DESIGN DOCUMENTING YOUR SPACE.

My daughter and I spending time with our Aussie family in Florence, Italy 2019

The Color Blue – How memory of colors can influence your environment.

Fountains

Villa D’Este Rome – The Avenue of 100 Fountains

Living in Italy as a 6-year-old with my parents had a profound effect on my creativity and craving for history and tradition. Since then, I remember the smell of moss at the Villa D’Este Rome (The Avenue of 100 Fountains), the color and texture of Pompeii, the grandeur of La Scala in Milan, the historical towns of Positano, and the canals in Venice.

PompeiiThe ruins of Pompeii

There was one item that my mother, Emilia, had bought me at the Vatican that changed my perception of the color, blue. It was a light blue colored rosary bead. I wasn’t sure how to use it, but I was intrigued by the pristine and innocent color. It was these moments at the Vatican when my mother gave me this rosary bead that caused this color evolution for me.

Rosary Bead

The Blue Rosary Beads.

Now, this color triggers a sense of enlightenment, tradition, family, curiosity, tranquility, beauty, and happiness.

There were two opportunities that I was able to use blue as the primary color for a residential and a workplace project. I then had to visually explain why this was the right choice and how this scheme related to their space.


My residential client purchased a lovely home in the Woodlands, Texas. Both are career professionals that value family time and entertaining with friends, so the focus was to redesign the dining room into a special and inviting space.

Before Shot of Dining Room

My clients dining room before renovations.

The dining room is in the middle of the house that has a wall filled with large windows looking into a courtyard. Therefore, there was a good amount natural light. I wanted to introduce a damask wall-covering from Cole & Son which had a reflective silver imprint that would help reflect the natural light. We then traveled to Houston and New Orleans for Italian and French 1900 century antiques and lighting that had soft natural tones with ornate details. The rug and accessories were sourced at the Decorator Center Houston.

Dining Room, Texas

Dining room with blue colors – Schumacher fabric window treatment, Cole & Son wall-covering.

I recognized that their dining room had to have a sense belonging and an attraction that appeals to special moments. Blue was the perfect color for this scenario. The design would be a blend of history, culture, vitality, and sophisticated styles.


My client Pike Electric wanted a space where everybody could be open to discussion, ideas, and problem solving. Even though Pike Electric’s logo is blue, it was important that I structured other shades of blue to balance the darker tone. My source for auxiliary furniture that had the perfect blue fabric was from Andreu World, one of my favorite sources for commercial projects.

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JimSink1

Pike Electric – Winston-Salem, NC

This is an example of how memory of colors affects our environment. My perception of blue has transcended into the lives of others, now influencing their interiors that represent a higher level of wellbeing to build fond memories for the future.

AA