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

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­tures Phu Tang More Your Best Home by Joe Snell, Mur­doch Books, $39.99

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.

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