Why interior design cannot be separated from architecture


View of a clean and beautiful living room

When designing your dream home, you might think of interior design as one of the last steps in the architecture process.

As architects, we often hear new clients say things like: “We’ll think about the detailed kitchen design and layout later,” or “Why do I have to worry about curtains even before we’ve started building, or so early in the design process?”

We believe that structure and interior are two elements that cannot be separated. So yes, let’s talk about curtains in the same sentence as beams and stairs! Here’s why:

Interior of a beautiful stairs

1. Interior is an integral part of the overall architectural design


Architecture and interior design are inseparable.

“I would say if you separate the two elements, you would have two different authors to this novel and the storyline might be inconsistent. The overall outcome will be a testimony to this,” explains Playoust Churcher architect Marielise van der Merwe.

It is important to approach the design holistically rather than seeing it as individual elements that you can implement haphazardly.

If you fail in adapting this holistic view to your home design, the following examples can happen:

  • The window furnishings (curtains or blinds) are not carefully considered and the necessary pelmets or bulkheads are not designed to accommodate them. Adding curtains or blinds to a room as an afterthought can result in a misfit appearance, which deters from the overall design.
  • If floor finishes and material choices are not considered right from the start, it can result in floor differences as tolerances for different materials are not the same. If floor selections are done after the build, it can look dishevelled and incoherent.
  • Installing skirtings, cornices and architraves late can end up with poor detailing and negatively impact the overall appearance of the space.

To spare yourself headaches later, make sure you consider each and every interior element early on so that it forms part of the holistic plan.

2. Have a detailed end view before building starts


“Unfortunately, a lot of people struggle to understand this. They think that by saving money on the design, they’ll have more to spend on the build. But the contrary is actually true. If you lack a full and detailed design early on, a lot of things won’t necessarily be sorted out in the following design phases. And trying to solve problems on-site or making changes while building is underway results in wasted money and an unhappy client. Therefore, we always encourage our clients to engage with us to do a step-by-step design from concept to completion.”

In doing this and preparing detailed drawings/documentation for both the building and the interiors, the initial vision of the home will match the end result.

Blue and white themed dining and kitchen area

3. Design to fit your lifestyle… not the other way around


Living in Sydney’s beautiful North Shore can inspire many people to incorporate the magical characteristics of the surroundings into their homes.

Doing this in tandem with a thorough consideration of your lifestyle requirements and personal taste means you’ll end up with a home that is a marvellous extension of your personality.

“In the work we do, we really try to walk in clients’ shoes to understand what they do, want and need. We also try to be open to all possibilities. Inviting the unknown and being innovative with what you have allows you to create something truly unique and spectacular. We’re not prescribed by style, but by each client’s lifestyle, preferences and personality,” says Marielise.

Partner with an architect who sees the whole picture


A home design is not set and forget. It’s a detailed process that requires strategic thinking by a professional who draws on years of experience in managing multiple challenges to achieve an extraordinary result.

At Playoust Churcher, we’re in it every step of the way. From the feasibility stage straight through to the complex development application – we keep the end vision front of mind and guide you through areas of uncertainty.

“Design as a whole, whether architectural or interior, is a magnificent journey. This process can be daunting if you’re not partnered with experts who are backed by years of experience. At Playoust Churcher, we know the journey all too well,” says Marielise.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your dream home – from architecture to interior design – and everything in between.

Read more articles on the architecture design process.

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