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Go with fun­da­men­tals or fol­low the fads? Choos­ing the right décor re­quires ex­pert ad­vice – and re­ly­ing on per­sonal whims

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - / Living - With NEALE WHI­TAKER

You say macro, I say mi­cro. Sounds like a line from a corny old song, but it was very much the is­sue of the day at a pre­sen­ta­tion I made re­cently about kitchen de­sign. Let me ex­plain. I tend to di­vide trends into “macro” – the big-pic­ture ones that have a sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence on the way we live – and “mi­cro”, the ones that turn on a dime; colours and styles that are on-trend one minute and gone the next.

In the con­text of my pre­sen­ta­tion, I was ad­vis­ing the au­di­ence of new home builders to choose their trends with care. Un­der macro, I told them, I would file sus­tain­able build­ing prac­tices, open-plan de­sign, clearly de­fined liv­ing “zones”, in­door/out­door flow and the im­por­tance of a func­tional kitchen as the hub of a con­tem­po­rary home. Mi­cro would usu­ally in­clude more ephe­meral trends like coloured kitchen cab­i­netry, black tap­ware, leather han­dles, down­draft ex­trac­tors, pol­ished con­crete and Vene­tian plas­ter. And what­ever hap­pened to rose gold? You get my point.

But then some­one asked me about tiles: “Are they macro or mi­cro?” I was floored, be­cause I re­alised that I love tiles. On the floor, on the walls, for splash­backs, even bench­tops. I can’t get enough of tiles. Which makes them macro in my book. But this woman

“What­ever hap­pened to rose gold? You get my point”

loathed them. She could never de­cide which ones to choose, found them im­pos­si­ble to clean (al­though that would be the grout, not the tile) and quite frankly didn’t want tiles any­where near her kitchen. To her, they were as mi­cro as it gets. But if I thought they were macro, then should she be con­sid­er­ing them? Good ques­tion.

So, at the risk of com­ing over all Car­rie Brad­shaw, when does macro be­come mi­cro (or vice-versa), and can the two live in har­mony? The an­swer to the sec­ond part of that ques­tion is

– of course – yes. And the first part demon­strates the vex­a­tious na­ture of trends and the outright fu­til­ity in de­bat­ing them. Ev­ery­thing comes down to per­sonal choice.

But there’s a point at which macro and mi­cro merge and that’s the sweet spot for most of us. For some of us (the lady with the ques­tion) that means a glass or mar­ble splash­back and for oth­ers – me – it means aged brass tap­ware, deep-set but­ler’s sinks, VJ pan­elling… and tiles to my heart’s con­tent.

Neale Whi­taker is co-host of Foxtel’s

Love It Or List It Aus­tralia on Life­style, and a judge on Nine Net­work’s The Block.

JONES & CO planter, $20, mon­sterthread­s.com.au CRATE & BAR­REL serv­ing board, $94, crate­and­bar­rel.com REECE tap­ware, $724, reece.com.au DAN HOBDAY ART can­vas print, from $145, so­ci­ety6.com

HAV­ING A MO­MENT (above and cen­tre) The navy blue cab­i­netry AND pol­ished Con­crete floors In this room by DEVOL Kitchens could be con­sid­ered on-trend, but if you love the look it will stand the test of time; (be­low) sus­tain­abil­ity was at the heart of this home’s ex­ten­sion on Vic­to­ria’s Great Ocean Road at Lorne.

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