One of the best things to come out of our participation on two series of The Block has been starting our own design and construct business, D + D Home.
As a couple obsessed with real estate, construction and design, a move into building and designing our own projects, as well as taking on clients, was our dream at the end of Darren's football career. We have been very lucky to have a steady stream of clients wanting to engage us.
Every client has their own vision for their home but the ones who have approached me for interior design advice have decided that they love certain things about my style and would like to replicate that aesthetic in their own homes.
These are the most requested styles and trends that I am asked to create for clients.
Our first bathroom on The Block was my favourite and one that has inspired many since. I think that is because it was timeless and, considering how expensive it is to renovate or build a new bathroom, following trends that will date in a year or two is not smart.
I always specify a neutral palette of white, greys, charcoal, navy and timber - colours that never date.
Quality fixtures and finishes are a must and nothing that is too on-trend. For example, I'm careful with metallic taps; I love them but they do go in and out of fashion.
Stick to chrome or black and stay current with less expensive and easily changed items such as towels.
Feature tiles are a great way to make a statement as long as they are not overdone. Choose one or two walls, or the floor, for a marble mosaic or patterned tile and keep the rest of the space simple and clean with large format tiles to avoid distracting grout lines. Marble bench tops give that beautiful hit of luxury.
Kitchens are the most expensive space to fit out in most homes and another one where a classic approach is a good choice.
I like to create warmth with timeless hard finish and colour choices. Once again my palette for kitchens is neutral with plenty of white, mixed with warm greys, putty, pale green and timbers.
I love to add interest with simple shaker door profiles and either a small handle or none at all. Open shelving or glass fronted overhead cabinets are always my preference over solid overhead cabinets.
Functionality is crucial so I spend a lot of time working out how clients use their kitchens, how much storage they need and that all the right appliances are included.
Texture is an important part of the aesthetic clients ask me to deliver.
Grass cloth wallpaper brings a sophisticated, elegant feel to any room and looks especially good in dark colours if you are brave enough.
Wall panelling is another of my favourite applications that can create either a casual look or a high end, period style.
Herringbone or chevron timber and tile floors are a beautiful choice and work best with simple design.