Design Tips with Urban Homes

Words Vicki Ravlich-Horan, images Ashlee Decaires

Building a house can be a daunting project, which is why multi award-winning builders Urban Homes go that extra step and help their clients across the whole journey. Taking up an entire floor of their head office in Hamilton is their state-of-the-art StudioU Design Centre. Here you will find an extensive range of roofing and cladding options as well as everything from flooring to tapware, handles, tiles and even options for light switches.

This is where Business Support Team Leader Jen Boyles’ colours and selections team work their magic, helping each client create their own unique masterpiece. Jen says the process starts with Urban’s New Home Consultants who help clients create the right house design, including things such as the orientation of their house along with other basic functional decisions “like which way a door swings, furniture placement and ensuring the spaces fit your lifestyle”. Once all decisions have been made, it’s Jen’s team’s product and interior design knowledge which kicks in to help bring the exterior and interior finishes together.

I spent some time with the team at StudioU to pick their brains about what’s on trend, what you need to consider when building and how great colour and selection decisions can really make a difference.

Kelly says the trend in tapware right now is brushed brass and gunmetal. They’re even seeing matte white options from suppliers. Like your jewellery, Kelly’s advice when considering these options is to consider the whole outfit, or in this case the rest of your house. “If you choose anything other than traditional chrome,” Kelly says, “do you want that to carry on throughout your house on door handles, kitchen cabinetry and so on?”

Still in the bathroom, Katie says, “Ambient lighting is just as important as task lighting.” While in functional spaces, like the bathroom and kitchen, task lighting is essential, adding dimmers or LED strip lighting are great ways to add interest and mood.

In the kitchen Liana says black appliances are very popular. “With open kitchens still on trend, your appliance choice and the look of these is important.” Liana also says creating beautiful and practical laundry space is another key area she is seeing more clients do. “It’s amazing what you can do, from pull-out ironing boards to cabinetry that matches the kitchen.”

On the floor Jordie says hard flooring continues to be popular but that the more organic midtones are now more popular than the very light Scandi look. These tones are also more forgiving when trying to match furniture. With hard flooring and open plan spaces Jordie’s advice is to use rugs; these define the spaces while adding texture and colour and reducing the noise.

Adding texture is Caroline’s tip. “There is a move away from a pop of colour on a feature wall and instead adding texture with the use of panels.” This can be done using products like Hardigroove or by creating baton details, and you don’t have to stop at the walls either!

When designing your ultimate home, the team are unanimous in the need to optimise storage, from utilising space in the attic or under the stairs, to taking the kitchen cupboards to the ceiling. And for the ultimate in luxury the team says a walk-in linen cupboard is the dream!

To book your exclusive StudioU experience email

Share This Post