Simple living is easier said than done. Not dissimilar to the skill involved with writing a concise, compelling letter, the art of creating a minimalist space that makes an impact takes creative courage and a sense of conviction that less truly is more. It’s a challenge not for the faint hearted.
If you’re a minimalist at heart and hold sustainability in high regard but find yourself giving in to overdressing your environment for fear of it looking bland, we have some top tips to help you on your way to pared-back perfection.
Space out your pieces: Minimalist spaces benefit from an uncluttered aesthetic. A living room, for example, may only have the essentials, including a few key furniture pieces with adequate space between them and clear surfaces – few, if any, knicknacks; smart storage solutions to hide anything superfluous to requirement. Quality over quantity is the aim of this style game.
Limited colour palette: A calming, easy environment will always downplay its colour. That’s not to say you have to stick to plain white, but a gentle approach to colouring your home life is key. Muted tones like soft greys, creams, greige (beige and grey) are all great companions to a minimalist space. Laid back luxury is only ever just one lick of paint away.
Worry about the small things: Sounds ironic doesn’t it? But really, attention to detail is absolutely everything when you are taking a step away from a relaxed, layered vibe, to an intentionally barer look. Take time to consider any additions to the space, and don’t be afraid to remove things. Less is always more with this aesthetic.
Amanda Dorset and her husband Ben Wilson are on a mission to transform the way people live in their homes. Their business, Wilson & Dorset, aims to “redefine lounging”.
“People follow this old-fashioned method of setting up their living space, with the traditional three-seater couch, two armchairs and a rug with a coffee table placed right in the centre of it,” Amanda says. “We’re helping people step back and say ‘do I really need those heavy, static pieces of furniture or could I cut out some of the clutter and free up the space?’”
Enter the Intelligent Lounging System, a large collection of high-quality curly woolskin rugs, shaggy bags and stacking stones. Ten sheepskins are used to make one shaggy bag, while six are used to make a set of ‘stones’. Having previously worked in sales and marketing for Icebreaker, Amanda is passionate about how incredible wool is as a fibre.
She is keen to spread the word in an interior design context: wool is robust, repels dirt, liquid and odour, and insulates against both heat and cold, making it brilliantly trans-seasonal.
At the company’s Wanaka Concept Lounge, customers can have a play with the different colours, textures and shapes. That’s when the penny drops, Amanda says. “Once you get people off their heavy armchairs and lounging on rugs and shaggy bags, they appreciate how the lounging system can totally transform their living space. They are connecting with nature and each other, freeing their spaces both inside and out.”
Visit Wilson & Dorset Concept Lounge at 53 Helwick Street, Wanaka. Follow on Facebook or Instagram, or phone 03-443 4376.
There is much satisfaction in bringing a new lease of life to a well-loved piece of furniture and that is McDonald and Hartshorne’s specialty.
“Customers are often amazed at our ability to return furniture to its former glory, or even better,” says Steve McDonald. “The work may be painstaking and require absolute attention to detail, but seeing both the finished article and the customer’s reaction is the real reward for us.”
Delight and amazement was the reaction from a customer recently at the sight of her restored traditional wing chair – handed down to her from her grandmother. “The chair was just a bare frame when it arrived in our factory, so it was almost like making a completely new chair,” Steve says.
“Over some 20 hours we built the frame up again with new springs, new webbing, foam and tetron. The frame was also reglued and cleaned and the legs were repolished. And finally, the chair was covered in a simply beautiful fabric.”
The stunning Designers’ Guild Palasini Cobalt velvet-style fabric was very carefully selected. “The customer wanted a colour and style that would represent her grandmother – a floral influence, but still modern, contemporary and slightly avant-garde. With its very wide wings and the eye-catching fabric, the chair now really makes a statement as a feature piece in the home – a ‘useful work of art’ is the way the client describes it.”
If you have furniture in need of restoration, enquiries are welcomed at McDonald and Hartshorne’s re-upholstery factory and fabric showroom at 430 St Asaph Steet by appointment – phone 03-371 7500. Or you can visit www.qualityfurniture.co.nz.