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The Sensational Interior Design Finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

TDF Design Awards

Australia truly punches above its weight when it comes to interiors, as demonstrated in the Interior Design category of The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2021

The following 12 projects represent the very best residential interiors created over the past year, as selected by our judges Pascale Gomes-McNabb; founding principal of Carr, Sue Carr; and director of Doherty Design Studio, Mardi Doherty.

There’s so much to love about these stunning projects, so without further ado, let’s take a closer look at this year’s finalists!

19th July, 2021

Esoteriko, Bunker In The Treetops. Photo – Dave Wheleler

YSG Studio, Dream Weaver. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Esoteriko, Bunker In The Treetops

A mid-century flavoured decorative approach directly draws from the unique natural vista to inform shapes, scale, texture, and colour in this Double Bay home.

Customised and handcrafted, the home features an almost artisanal approach to ‘soften’ its concrete structure, and provide comfortable settings with a strong emphasis on materiality. Esoteriko says the project blurs the boundary between design and decoration.

YSG Studio, Dream Weaver

Winners of 2020 TDF + Laminex Design Awards Interior Design award YSG have again been recognised in 2021 with two new projects.

The first is Dream Weaver, – a Rushcutters Bay penthouse renovation that feels revelatory and futuristic, with an upbeat dose of Pedro Almodóvar’s cinematic eccentricity. Project inspirations include surrealism, contemporary Spanish tapas bars and their liberal use of tiling, plus rich colour gradations evoking a material take on the northern lights.

Edition Office, Melburnian Apartment. Photo – Dave Kulesza

Architects EAT, Carpenter’s Square House. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Edition Office, Melburnian Apartment

Edition Office‘s design response to this Melbourne apartment renovation is inherently simple, refined, and calming to restore and create freedom. A sanctuary for rest and recharging, but also a space which challenges the mind to perform.

‘Continuous function’ curves have been employed throughout to elevate the quality of light and shadow to move effortlessly around the rounded forms of the home without any abrupt changes in the quality of light or shadow. The clients now move through the space in a continuous evolving and smooth loop.

Architects EAT, Carpenter’s Square House

Noting this Caulfield East property’s existing solar orientation, context, and the project budget, Architects EAT devised a simple extension that juts out from the original heritage home, before wrapping around the rear like a carpenter’s square.

In contrast to its simple form, the new interiors are richly detailed, with materials reflective of the original architecture. Most notably, the dusty purple brick band on the facade has been amplified to become the interior floor and walls, while the concave battened ceiling is a contemporary interpretation of decorative period styles.

Adam Kane Architects, Barwon Heads House. Photo – Timothy Kaye

Hugh-Jones Mackintosh, The Weave House. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Adam Kane Architects, Barwon Heads House

Textural and moody, Barwon Heads House by Adam Kane Architects takes cues from its relaxed coastal setting to offer a space of refuge and calm for its young inhabitants. The interior design deliberately reveals itself as one journey’s from old into new, and aims to challenge the stereotypical beachside aesthetic.

Upon entering the renovated home, the light interior is immediately present and carefully contrasted with new charcoal floorboards. Complementing the desaturated timber ceilings and joinery, slabs of silver travertine and burnished concrete floors are supplemented with hand-scratched solid plaster walls in a soft, warm ‘bone’ colour.

Hugh-Jones Mackintosh, The Weave House

Faced with an overwhelming amount of dark timber joinery and chocolate-hued floors, the new owners of this house on Sydney’s North Shore called on Hugh-Jones Mackintosh to lighten and brighten the interior for their young family. The home had only been built a few years earlier, but the heaviness of its interior fitout did not match the sunny position or the tranquil views of Sydney Harbour from the upstairs rooms.

In sanding back the floors and repainting, the home now offers a sense of youthful vitality at every turn. Texture, shapely furniture, and pops of blush and terracotta throughout the decoration lend interest and sophistication.

Maria Danos Architecture, Henry Street Townhouse. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Fox Johnston, SRG House. Photo – Anson Smart

Maria Danos Architecture, Henry Street Townhouse

A sophisticated yet robust design approach underpins this twin townhouse development in inner-city Melbourne by Maria Danos Architecture. Interiors are flexible anticipating multiple work/dwell scenarios through the considered composition, function and materiality.

Internally, the stair void acts a sculptural insertion with soft corners to enhance spatial flow, and as a conduit of light drawing luminosity from north roof terraces into internal bathrooms and down into the heart of the home at ground floor. Framed by the void, interiors are experienced as dramatic, materially expressive compositions appreciated as aerial perspectives from above, as well as below.

Fox Johnston, SRG House

The 1970s heritage-listed former house of Sir Roy Grounds in Balmain has been reengineered for contemporary family life. Keeping within the building footprint, Fox Johnston carved extra space and forged stronger connections to landscape and place, while maintaining the integrity of the original structure and material language.

The former two-bedroom home now contains four bedrooms with an additional two-bedroom granny flat. Materials and colours mirror the original palette of painted brick, cedar windows and concrete.

Lauren Egan Design, Victoria St. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. 

Studio Esteta, Mornington Peninsula House. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Lauren Egan Design, Victoria Street

A calm and gentle space, but nothing too serious, was this brief for the updated interiors in this 1920s Preston home. Functionality was key, especially in the kitchen, offering plenty of space to gather as a family to entertain.

A Scandinavian meets Japanese aesthetic characterises the updated interiors by Lauren Egan Design. To address the feel of a welcoming and gentle space, a soft palette of toasty browns and muddy greys inherent in the home’s oak and burnished concrete flooring as selected. Flourishes of colour inspired both by the two jacaranda trees in the home’s front and backyards, and a penchant for electric blue, injects further interest and fun.

Studio Esteta, Mornington Peninsula House

The renovation of this Merchant Builders home on the Mornington Peninsula demonstrates considered spatial planning and acute attention to detail, resulting in a design that is harmonious with the landscape, yet reflective of today’s modern living approach.

Through the introduction of new openings and the implementation of a clever and considered layout, both the aesthetics and function of the residence were entirely altered by Studio Esteta. A palette of warm timbers, textured stone and paving mimics the textures and tones of the rolling paddocks and surrounding gums, working cohesively together to create an unpretentious yet modern rural home.

Rosanna Ceravolo Design, South Yarra Apartment. Photo – Sean Fennessy

YSG Studio, Soft Serve. Photo – Prue Roscoe

Rosanna Ceravolo Design, South Yarra Apartment

A longing for ceremony underpins the design approach to this 1920s South Yarra art deco apartment renovation by Rosanna Ceravolo. The project maximises amenity through the implementation of robust and enduring materials, with a view to maintaining the place as a rental property going forward.

Though used sparingly, soft colours and light, textural details such as speckled flooring have an important connective effect. The same terrazzo-like surface appears in different rooms throughout the house – the fireplace, bathroom cabinetry, kitchen splashback and entryway – to create flow throughout the otherwise simple spaces.

YSG Studio, Soft Serve

YSG’s second shortlisted project is this Rozelle home, revived with an ‘adroit telescoping of eras and artistic influences.’

Preserving its historical essence as a purpose built late 19th-century Victorian Georgian corner shop, the three-storey sandstone structure has transitioned into a pragmatic and spacious home for a family of four. Furnishings and fixtures subtly reference Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s delicate Art Nouveau flourishes and the quiet restraint of timber framing devices prevalent in traditional Japanese interiors. Bold hues and textures harmoniously mingle with whisper soft sensuality.

The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2021 Interior Design award is presented by Miele.

A family-owned business for over 120 years, Miele is one of the world’s leading and most trusted manufacturers of home appliances. Miele products set the standards for design, performance, durability, ease of use, energy efficiency and service. To find out more, visit

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.