By Verity Coonan
When people think of Darwin it’s often red dirt and crocs and some backwards living – some people (admit it) might not have even heard of the place. However in recent years Darwin is coming into its own, with a bustling city, waterfront precinct and youth bursting with fresh ideas and eyes for new opportunities. Darwin is no longer the ‘city up north’ but one to show itself on the map as a landmark city with a style of its own.
The design culture in Darwin is as diverse as its people. Our conditions are harsh (they don’t call it going troppo for nothing) and because of recent events the budget strings pull especially tight. But seeing these elements as a benefit, even an inspiration, is what drives the eclectic style I like to call ‘Darwinian’.
Browns, ochres, reds and yellows and you see the Darwin sunset, the rugged outback and essentially, the dry season. Switch to the other extreme and you have blues, green, greys and you have the monsoonal rains, the gushing waterfalls… the wet season. These 2 extremes have fused the gorgeous combination of palettes that showcase the interiors and exteriors of Darwin living.
Making the most of the weather adds such a great deal to designing in the tropics, with open spaces a must. Open plan living is what you will see in almost every house here; an extension from the kitchen to the outside is perfect.
Entertaining outdoors is a huge part of the culture – on the balcony or by the pool. It’s great to be creative here!
If you have the chance to add height to your home, go for it. Airflow can make or break your stay here!
The Asian influence up here is huge. With such easy access and great furniture stores it’s easy to recreate that holiday retreat at home. So often I hear – “the look I am after is a Bali style”. Design your home with natural elements to create a long lasting, luscious feel.
Darwin design trends are year-round which is real and injecting color is always a must for me whether it be pop art to the front door – colour is required!
So when it comes to Darwin being left off the radar – this is no more. There is now an emerging design culture up here, I am determined to put us on the design map. I mean why wouldn’t you want to create such amazing spaces in the tropics? Envious yet?
Verity Coonan is a Darwin-based interior designer. Find out more at her website.
Jen is currently on honeymoon in Tokyo, Venice and the UK, and has opened up the blog to a series of fabulous guest posters to share their interiors-related expertise in her absence. She hopes you’ll enjoy them and look out for the odd honeymoon post from overseas! The new Mrs Francis (who will still be known as Bishop for work purposes) will be back at her desk on 11 November.