Joe Snell’s five steps to a truly liveable home
Go back to basics for a truly beautiful place to call home, writes Jennifer Veerhuis
Whether we live in a tiny apartment or a sprawling mansion, we all tend to gravitate to the same spots within our homes.
They are areas that are pleasant to be in and filled with light, according to architect Joe Snell.
“I’ve designed everything from apartments to massive mansions and what I find is humans end up in the same sort of spaces, whether you’ve got a big home or a little apartment,” he says.
“I think we structure our homes so that we think, ‘that’s where you do that and that’s where you do that’.
“In reality we should be looking at the environment we’re in and actually designing the home to suit it. That’s what I naturally do as an architect.”
In his new book, Your Best Home, Joe outlines his five steps to help readers create the best home possible.
A former judge on reality TV show House Rules, Joe shows how to optimise his five steps — space, light, air, sound and view, focusing on the entry, living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.
“A great home is about getting the fundamentals right, getting the bones right, and then you can apply whatever style you like and really get into it,” Joe says.
“But if you’re just applying style and you haven’t got the bones right it’s not going to be a good home.”
It might be a challenge to get those fundamentals right without expert help but Joe says often it can be as simple as ensuring the family has breakfast in a sunny room.
“If we can organise it so the place where you have breakfast gets the eastern morning light, then you’ll actually have some sun on your cornflakes, and then you’re going to have a better start to the day,” Joe says.
“People spend a lot of time and effort making sure they’ve got stylish serviettes and lovely bowls and everything’s perfectly styled.
“They’ve got all the mod cons and all the appliances but they haven’t thought about something that’s really fundamental, like sun on your breakfast table.”
In Scandinavia, Joe says locals demand high-standard housing from developers and home builders, even if their homes are not designed by architects.
“Very few houses in Australia are designed by architects and that’s normal, but I want every Australian to have a higher appreciation of what makes a really good house. Then they will start to demand that from people who are providing the houses they’re buying,” he says.
“It’s making sure you know where the sun is throughout the day, making sure you know where the breeze is going to come from and making sure you understand about sound.
“It could just be placing a mirror on the wall so you get a lovely reflection of the view.
“Or it could be making sure the windows are open when the northeasterly hits, right through to doing bigger renovations.”
That’s not to say Joe doesn’t think style has its place.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m obsessed with style,” he says. “I love cushions but what’s the point if you just think about style and cushions and you don’t think about the bones?
“You’re just papering over the cracks.”
The styling in this dining space is beautiful but it’s the cross ventilation and access to natural light that makes it a pleasure to be in. Sandstone flagging here doubles as casual seating in the garden.