As far as inspiration goes there are few better starting points than nature. Drawing from colours and materials within nature is a foolproof way to create a balanced palette - think about the nuance of colour across moss covered rocks or the variations of neutral tones and textures layered within paperbark trees. These colours, textures and combinations often surprise but never fail to please. From light schemes to dark, from monochromatic to high contrast, and muted tones to vibrant colours, the rules in nature apply perfectly to texture and colour choices for your home.
Creating a connection between the colours and materials outside the house, the ones applied to the exterior, and those inside the home itself becomes particularly important when looking at the house within the landscape and observing how it either settles into the environment or stands out from it. As Australians, it’s fair to say that we love the outdoors, whether it be for entertaining, cooking or just relaxing. Our exterior materials choices can really enhance this outside-in connection by complementing the naturally occurring colours, moods and textures that we see when we look out through skylights, windows or large exterior openings.
Alternatively, making deliberately contrasting choices can provide a definitive break between the natural environment and the interior spaces of your home. What’s more, the size, shape and type of exterior opening will also help either separate or connect the world outside so consider these elements carefully when designing your home’s interior and exterior schemes.
Barefoot Bay Villa by The Designory (pictured above) is located near the beautiful Byron Bay and instead of utilizing a pale, light colour scheme typical of coastal locations, the palette is instead drawn from the nearby dark coastal cliffs and surrounding bushland. The house is designed with entertaining in mind with the main living area opening up to the outdoor patio and pool area. The repetition of textured materials such as timber and matt surfaces, and the earthy tones used for the cabinetry and furnishings connect the outside to inside seamlessly.
A simple way to start is to look at the room connecting inside and out. Is it your kitchen and dining area or your living room? What’s the view that you see through this connection; is there a pool or an attractive landscaping piece? These features can provide clues to some of the colours and textures you can successfully introduce inside. Allens Rivulet House by Room 11 (pictured below) blurs the line between the interior and exterior through the use of oversized openings off the kitchen and living rooms. And through creating ‘exterior’ spaces within the interior of the home – like the courtyard below. The seamless connection between the spaces is achieved through the repetition of colours and textures.
Also look at the colours and textures that are dominant on the exterior. Are there small touches you can bring inside? Can you use subtle details such as stone or timber which will provide warmth and cohesion? Will you be able to use some of the roof or cladding colours such as COLORBOND® steel Shale Grey™ or Surfmist® or Dune®? Sometimes the colours in your view can also be reflected in your soft furnishings or cabinetry. A coastal style cabana designed and built by Cadence & Co (pictured below), takes inspiration from the natural surroundings by incorporating these colours and textures into the roofing, weatherboard cladding, furniture and soft furnishings, and beautifully connects the outside to the inside.
Aside from how you choose to translate the colours and textures from the landscape into your home’s aesthetic choices, you should also consider your home’s actual setting as an important factor in the creation of its most appropriate and effective palette. A beachside locale will challenge not only your choices around durability but also a specific look and feel that will complement your home’s unique location. The colours and materials used should be informed by the bright light and cool temperature colours of the sea and shore, such as a white exterior that continues inside with similarly light soft furnishings and natural timber joinery. In contrast, an inland home will have a different set of physical challenges and require an altogether different approach, where colours may skew darker or more muted and be more aligned with the surrounding earth or trees.
Your physical environment can also encourage decisions that result in pleasing aesthetic impacts. For example, if you are in a bright, sunny and warm location you could diffuse the light beautifully with a matt finish. In this instance a pale colour such as Dune® Matt or Surfmist® Matt in the COLORBOND® steel Matt range may be the perfect solution, which can also help keep the surface temperature of your exterior roofing lower. Alternatively, if you have a cooler climate and a deeper, greener landscape, you could be well served by a darker Basalt® Matt or Monument® Matt colour. The choices you make should be led by how best to both manage the challenges and maximise the benefits of your location. Weekend Haven by Detail 9 Architects (pictured below) is a stunning example of how a house can settle into the landscape beautifully by drawing its colour and texture inspiration from the surrounding hills and gum trees. The design of the home includes large doorways and windows that draw the light in, and also incorporates the spectacular views as ‘artwork’ for the home.
Lower or higher light levels and climatic differences will also dictate things like size and type of exterior opening, with warmer climates instinctively calling for larger doors, windows and skylights. The amount of light within a home will clearly be affected by these decisions but less obvious is the impact of these openings on your ability to connect with the landscape, seascape and skyline from within the home. You can also use large openings to bring the scenery inside and create a light-filled space. Wilderness House by Archterra (pictured below) is a stunning example of this, and the home also works beautifully within its location by anchoring the colour palette with the landscape.
Designing a home and planning its colour and material palette seems like a task with endless variations and possibilities, but if you simply start with nature, and the environment around your home, you’ll naturally find a handy set of constraints and parameters that will help you narrow your choices and make the best possible decisions to connect your home to its location, from outside to in.
- Allens Rivulet House designed by Room 11 features COLORBOND® steel Night Sky® in a LYSAGHT profile. Photo by Ben Hosking.
- Cabana designed and built by Cadence & Co features COLORBOND® steel Windspray® in LYSAGHT TRIMDEK® profile. Photo by Simon Whitbread.
- Weekend Haven designed by Detail 9 Architects features COLORBOND® steel Woodland Grey® in LYSAGHT LONGLINE 305® profile. Photos by Derek Swalwell.
- Wilderness House designed by archterra architects features COLORBOND® steel Monument® (cladding) and COLORBOND® steel Shale Grey™ (roofing, not shown) in LYSAGHT SPANDEK® (cladding) and LYSAGHT TRIMDEK® (roofing) profiles. Photos by Douglas Mark Black.