4BC interview – Dining room design

Principal Designer John Croft was recently interviewed on 4BC’s Newstalk program about the latest trends in dining room design. Click on the ‘play’ button below to listen to the interview.

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Interview transcript:

Kevin: We are talking to top Brisbane designer, John Croft from johncroftdesign.com.au

Thanks for your time this morning. How are you?

I want to talk to you about the latest in designs when it comes to doing up, well particularly your dining room, but we will come to that in just a moment. I want to talk about stripes and verticals – what’s in?

John: It really depends on the overall look that you are wanting to go for. There is a big change from minimalism into a lot more colour being used.

Kevin: Thank goodness for that, I say.

John: But I like the minimal look, but it’s very difficult for our clients to live with.

Kevin: It’s really quite boring. I find you go into some of these places and they are so bland. You know one of the other things, and this is a pet hate of mine is that I think tiles have lost their vibrancy, they have gone for the browns and all these earthy colours.

John: Well, that comes from that minimal look to keep everything simple and also a lot of the times if a display house or a developer was putting orange tiles into a bathroom, then it would be very difficult to sell it, it is a very complicated thing to do. Personally, if we were designing for an interior for somebody and doing all the building finishes and what have you, we design it for that family so their children’s bathroom or their bathroom we might do orange tiles and white, but it has been designed for that family not to sell it on.

Kevin: I have watched some of these television shows with horror, and one in particular I was watching last night, I am not going to mention the name of it, but you probably might be able to pick it up from my description of it, but when you have got different people doing different rooms and then it just becomes a terrible mishmash because they all have their own particular ideas about what the client wants and it just looks horrible I think.

John: You are right. Really one of the successes of design is, even if you are doing it for yourself, is you are designing it for a particular family. So we don’t really care whether the neighbours or the grandparents like it, because you are actually designing it for that family. Once you start on a theme, and usually the architecture of a house or an apartment or whatever sets the theme, you have got to be very conscious of that. Once you start down that road you can’t, even if you are doing it over a period of years, you can’t vary from it and that’s when people make a terrible mistake Even I, I like that look, and I like contemporary, and I like traditional and you can’t all of a sudden keep changing as you go around. The only time we really make big changes in people’s houses from one area to another is say, children’s bedrooms, we really then focus on that child – what is the personality of that child so we really try to make it look like that individual’s room rather than look like the rest of the house because that will probably be a bit different. Also when areas of houses are big enough and they’ve got entertainment areas that are designed for a particular purpose let’s just say for a party you can really make it with a lot more sense of humour and a little bit more bizarre, let’s say because it is designed for a particular purpose, like a media room. It’s not a living room, it’s not designed for conversation or getting all the family together and let’s talk, it’s designed to sit into one area and look at a screen, so therefore you make it dark and sort of moody.

Let’s get adventurous now with colours and stripes and verticals and so forth. Wallpaper obviously gives you that opportunity, doesn’t it? Are patterns in or is it the straight lines?

John: Wallpapers are huge and very over-scaled patterns are very popular.

What do you mean by that?

John: Well, let’s say you have a floral. The head of the rose could possibly be 200 or 300 mm in diameter. Huge, on a really big scale. Scale is something you have really got to be aware of, because if you do. Let’s say do a feature wall in that wallpaper or do the whole room, you’ve got to be aware that when you are starting to put other things with it, like art on the wall or whatever, that it’s got to compete with that scale. If you have got a little piece of art that is 600 by 600 mm and one flower on the wallpaper is 200 to 300mm well obviously it is going to one, get lost, it’s not dramatic enough, so then you might have to put a whole collection of things together to get that drama on the wall, to compete with it.

You mention a kid’s room where there is an opportunity for you to do something special, but I love dining rooms too.   You’ve got to get a lot of mood in a dining room I think. You tell me – what should we be doing?

John: If a dining room is isolated, so it’s a separate room, which a lot of houses don’t really have an isolated room any longer, where it is literally four walls, quite often it’s a part of a whole – it might be a formal living, formal dining, but it’s still a part of a living room and dining room, so quite often the mood you might want to create and then you have to work out when are you going to use this dining room, is it mainly going to be for very special occasions and possibly at night, well you can create a mood for that, so it can be quite moody and very rich and exotic and exciting but if it’s a dining room that you use every day, you don’t want to every day come home to a room that’s got all this deep mood you want something that the family is going to feel comfortable. If it’s isolated, then you could create any mood.

Kevin: And you can create a mood, but then you have to couple it up with lighting as well that is so important.

John: Yes, lighting. You can really destroy a room. No matter how much effort you put into choosing the right colours and putting it all together, and then all of a sudden it gets blown apart by really incorrect lighting or not well balanced. You haven’t got enough down lights around.

Kevin: Lighting can even change the colours, can’t it?

John: Absolutely. We find that quite often. The area it goes into. When selecting colours and we have got in our offices, where we do all the selections, we have colour correction fluorescent lights up in the ceiling so we will go through and select it all, but then we still, in the end, go to daylight or big windows just to double check and make sure that a crème, blue, or whatever it is, it doesn’t pick up too much green or whatever. It’s complicated. You’ve just got to take your time and plan and get larger samples and make sure you get all that right.

Let’s talk about pink for a moment. Is pink a colour that you like to work with?

John: I do because it’s really dramatic, and it’s shocking. It instantly gives you a feeling, an emotion.   Sometimes we might do a lot of it, a whole room could get painted, it wouldn’t be a bright pink, it would be getting into a deeper pink, but it is still a pink, you are starting to get into a cerise colour, but where we are painting that whole room, it is because we are trying to create a drama. Or you could just use spots of it. Because rooms are emotion. Forget whether you have got a square arm couch or a round arm couch or you have chrome furniture or what have you, it’s an emotion, and that’s what you have got to think of, what emotion I want in this room. When I walk into a house, how do I want to feel, how do I want my family to feel, how do I want my friends to feel. Then you work around to create this overall look and, as I said earlier, don’t change. Once you’ve got on it, if you have got the guts to go down that road, you keep going.

Kevin: That’s the message, John, and it’s a great message too about developing a theme and staying with it all the way through that makes it even more exciting. John, I want to thank you, we are out of time unfortunately. It’s been great talking to you. If you want to contact John you can do so through his website johncroftdesign.com.au

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