Thursday, August 20, 2015



A design challenge is always something that gets the team at Charcoal Interiors excited!

This particular job was all about bringing elements of style, softness and a sense of togetherness to an expansive multi-level Industrial/Warehouse home on the city fringe.

I sat down with Charcoal Interiors Designer and Director, Cathie Venardos to go through the high points and the challenges faced whilst working on this project.

Q:  Cathie, what was the client brief?

Cathie: Well, this was a young family with kids in their early teens, who love entertaining and spending quality time together.  They wanted a space that focussed on being family friendly, with layers, improvements on their storage space (the existing was minimal), more purpose and functionality to the living space.  Somewhere that was enticing for everyone in the family to congregate, chat, watch television, relax and just hang out together.  
So, the brief was pretty straight forward, however our job was to also ensure the aesthetic balance with the industrial feel, whilst also keeping style and comfort paramount.  

Head Designer, Colette measures up, whilst the client pores through fabric options.

Window Ledging 'Before'

Shelving Area 'Before'

Q. What are the Pros and cons to Industrial Architecture and working with it?
Cathie: The pros are, great textural, light filled spaces and the variations in ceiling heights which create this amazing interest and point of difference.  We absolutely loved working in this type of space.  The cons can be that there is a fine line drawn between balancing the Architectural/Industrial feel with the elements of a family home.  We do, however feel that we know this type of challenge well and completely relished the opportunity to work with these clients.


Q: What Challenges did the team face with this project?
Cathie: This is a very well established warehouse style building with distinctive Industrial character and so there has to be a clear amalgamation of all elements that we introduce.  Whatever changes we introduced, needed to look like they belonged, so a lot of consideration and collaboration together as a team went into making the right choices.  We spend a lot of time sitting together going through all aspects of the job.  Each person brings their own expertise to the table and this is one of the things I love about the creative process.

One challenge that we deliberated on extensively was the Rambling Shelf Cabinetry.  Firstly, it needed to look familiar in the space, whilst still having the critical elements of form and functionality.
The walls were sold brick, and I mean solid!  So, unlike Gyprock which can bring flexibility to the work required, solid brick is quite definitive.  There were existing permanent fixture speakers and light switches that we needed to design the shelving around, but the trick was to keep the design balance.  I think the finished product is a great example of aesthetic balance in design.  The clients delight at the finished product spoke volumes!

The existing Window ledging was low and narrow in sold brick with a timber top.  It was too low and narrow to ulitise.  The solution was, create a subtle feature by extending to create a window seat.
 The entire ledging was finished in the same tone as the rest of the room which aided the visual flow, whereas before the timber top obstructed the aesthetics.

Colette, John and Cathie - Project Meeting

Rough sketches start the process

More comprehensive drawings

John gets to work on the Rambling Shelving and Storage Cabinet

John hard at work on the storage doors

Starting to really take shape!

Workshop Supervisor...

And the finished product.
Rambling Shelving and Storage Cabinet by Charcoal Interiors

Q: There's some beautiful furniture in this room.  Are these all Charcoal Interiors pieces?
Cathie: Yes, we completely fitted out this room.  We added the beautiful hand knotted rug.  Custom made  Black Greenwich Coffee Table by our workshop manager John, who also crafted the Rambling Shelving and storage unit.  The Leather Club Chair was custom made also, from a stunning New Zealand Leather.  Also customised was the sofa (including scatter cushions) and  Smoky Azure Blue Feature Chair - Australian Made using quality fabrics from our favourite European Designers.

Fully customised Cabinetry and Furniture by Charcoal Interiors

Q: And finally, what was the best part of the process?
Cathie: The clients had a vision which coincided with ours and it was a truly enjoyable collaborative process.  Also, designing and creating the Rambling Shelving and Storage unit and the final installation was really satisfying.  We were so happy with the balance and wow factor that it brought to the room.
You know, its an honour to be entrusted with the job of completing an entire space. There's a great deal of satisfaction  gleaned from seeing that this family is firstly so happy with the job we did, but also knowing we have finished a job to completion, giving them the opportunity to just kick back and enjoy it without any loose ends for them to deal with.

Cathie and Colette Venardos are available for consultation either from their Showroom at 41 Brookes Street. Fortitude Valley.  Brisbane. Queensland
Home Visit Consultation by appointment.
Ph 07 38526002
or visit our website for more information and examples of our extensive service options