6 TIPS ON HOW TO PRETEND MINIMAL 1100 707 Wesley Spencer

Ok folks, I feel like I’ve mentioned this before, but let’s talk about clinical depression … I mean, clinical minimalism. Again, and I’ve said this before, we’re living in a consumeristic society. WE HAVE STUFF.

​In fact, if you want proof, just look at $multi-billion shopping bag industry.


Maybe the Scandinavians and Japanese are having a positive influence, sadly not with our shopping addictions.

One of my favourite clients, Rachel, came up to me the other week saying, “I just want my home to be comfortable to live in”. She got it right. She doesn’t care what other people think; she cares about how comfortable and convenient it is to function in her own home. And yes, Rachel should know; she’s built multiple houses now, and I’m fortunate enough to work with her on their final home.

So we had to employ a different design approach to designing in the details.

home architecture in melbourne outdoor

This is Rachel’s House. Yeah, we have an awesome team at Rara.


1. Stop designing spaces for nicnacs – Fewer open shelves and more storage behind closed doors.

We’ve started to notice a moving trend. YES, people want storage, but NOT for nicnacs; they’re useless and just need to be dusted constantly. Instead, we want to buy longer-lasting items that we can put away and reveal when they will be most enjoyed. There’s as much pleasure in the reveal of the item as there is in having the item. So no more gaudy glass cabinets (except for books. I love those).

2. Dumping Ground

It’s not a mud room, it’s not a storage cupboard. Think of it as a walk-in closet situated near the entry, with a section for each family member. Each section has shelves for shoes, hanging space for coats and a deep drawer for a bag or some such. It’s great for an on-the-go family who may need to occasionally shovel everything into said closet because an unexpected guest rolled up.

This, but better and in a closed space ...

Clearly, Traci doesn’t understand where her shoes are meant to go…

3. Don’t forget your ELECTRIC toothbrush

Where does your hair dryer live when you’re not using it? Is it near a power point? Is the power point near the mirror? Is the powerpoint behind the mirror, which you need to keep open to have it plugged in… need I go on?
Same applies with your electric toothbrush … put a powerpoint in your mirror cabinet. If you don’t have a mirror cabinet, where are you going to store the electric toothbrush? Apply the same thinking to your valued kitchen appliances.

4. Curtain Call

Along with the furniture, curtains are too often an after-thought.

“Oh, we’re not going to have window furnishings” or “We’ll just have block out blinds”

This is messy… as soon as you realise there is a sun, you’ll race off to Ikea to grab cheap blinds. There’s no room for a pelmet, or it interferes with the way the windows open. After-thought curtains get tangled in with the furniture too. Even if you’re not sure you can afford it, have a discussion about it with your architect (if you don’t have an architect, great! Gimmy a call).

Perfect huh? but without a curtain rod, there’ll be a whole section covered in grubby handprints.

5. Study … cos we all need to get smarter

They’re in nearly every house. The hallowed study. Why? Because they boost property value. But even if you don’t work from home, study or have children in school, think of the functional benefit. It’s a place to keep a computer and watch your illegal downloads, a place to keep the keys and bills, a place to store your outdated will kits, which is close enough to pull out whenever the kids are rowdy, but also, and I bet you didn’t think of this, a place to keep the giant NBN box, modem and answering machine (assuming you still have one of those). These days, they function best when part of the main living space, within easy reach and … can have the door conveniently shut to give the illusion of a Zen minimalistic lifestyle.

See how perfect and minimal this room is?

Now keep it that way, don’t touch anything… or put anything there … just don’t breath ok?

6. Stream ‘til you scream on that big ‘ol screen

​Tv’s are getting bigger and smarter ever day. DO NOT think you’re being clever by building it into a niche in the wall. DO NOT build a cupboard around it that’s exactly the same size and DO run an extra large conduit through the wall big enough for a power plug (plus cables already there) that reaches down to the entertainment unit. That way, as things change, you just chuck your new plug down the hole… like Alice.

Speaking of the entertainment unit, think of how this operates when you’re watching something or using the device stored within. I once designed a compact unit with plenty of space for a DVD player and a couple of other devices, but had no idea my client owned an Xbox … which didn’t fit. A mistake I won’t make again.

OMG. This. Just this fabulous B&O Tv and this room.