Studio Quarters


Capturing the beauty of the everyday, sharing design inspiration and showcasing Studio Quarters projects.

Interior Design

Australian Interior Design Awards Shortlist

We are incredibly proud to announce that our North Bondi Apartment has been shortlisted for the 2019 Australian Interior Design Awards – Residential Decoration Category.

Here are all the category finalists:

Interior Design

Is Good Design Truly Accessible?

As Australian designers, when it comes to selecting furniture and lighting we are spoilt for choice. We are fortunate to have access to some amazing home-grown designs through local suppliers such as Jardan, Zuster, Koskela, Temperature Design, just to name a few. We also have suppliers who champion overseas design and who support and foster originality in design and engineering – Cult, Great Dane, Hub Furniture and Living Edge are some of our favourites.

At Studio Quarters, we believe that good design involves an original idea, quality construction that will stand the test of time and most importantly, comfort.

But is good design truly accessible to everyone? We believe the answer is yes. Sure, classic pieces may not be affordable to all of us even though we know that when purchasing a classic piece, we are investing in an item that has integrity, is well-made and keeps its monetary value over time. For those of us with a smaller budget, original good-quality design that is comfortable is certainly availably in the market, albeit with a bit more research.

Below are 5 examples of classic pieces that we love and more affordable similar alternatives.

Note: prices are recommended retail prices only and may vary depending on finishes and details and excludes freight.


Interior Design

Interior Designer, Interior Decorator, Interior Stylist – what’s the difference?

The role of an Interior Designer/ Interior Architect, Interior Decorator and Stylist can sometimes be interchangeable but there are definite differences between the various roles – handy to know when one is looking for the right professional.

Interior Designer/ Interior Architect

Interior Designers/Interior Architects are usually tertiary qualified with either a Diploma or Degree. Designers can assist in space planning, the selection of wall and floor finishes, fittings and fixtures for wet areas, architectural lighting, designing of kitchens, bathrooms and any custom cabinetry.

Designers are also able to assist in the selection of furniture, rugs, decorative lighting, window coverings, accessories and art work to suit the built space.

Interior Designers can either work on projects on their own if the scope is predominantly internal changes or collaborate with an architect to coordinate the design of the interiors with the architecture. They are usually responsible for drawing and specifying the design to a level suitable for accurate pricing and can also work with various trades during the site management of interiors component to see it through to completion.

A good interior designer will be able to start with a strong concept that shows their understanding of the client’s needs and aesthetic preferences. Through a rigorous process of designing, selecting and fine-tuning, good designers are able to pull together a home that looks cohesive and well-thought through.

Interior Decorator

An interior decorator is usually engaged once the structure and spaces are built. They are able to assist in the selection of furniture, rugs, decorative lighting, accessories and art to complete a space. Decorators are also able to assist in the choices of window coverings. Their expertise is in understanding how to combine colours, textures, patterns and form to create spaces that fit into the built environment.


A stylist is usually involved in staging a space, sometimes for a photoshoot for publications and sometimes staging a space just for viewing, such as for an open house. Their expertise is to set up a space to set a mood or scene. Stylists can either bring in their own furniture or hire them on your behalf. They work their magic through tweaking the layout of furniture and accessories making it look just right.

(photo credit: Pierre Yovanovitch via Pinterest)


Interior Design

Juggling Act

We are only as good as our built projects. And since projects can take a while – the longest one has been 6 years, it’s inevitable people wonder, what’s taking so long, or worse, they assume we haven’t been busy. There are only so many concept sketches we can show before they outnumber the built projects, so while our project list is growing slowly but surely, we thought we’d share a little about the work that’s being done during the precious hours between school drop-offs and pick-ups.

We are currently working on a range of projects – small and large, from art selection to a complete interior fit-out for a new home, mostly on the North Shore and Eastern Suburbs. Some are at the early stages of design, some are nearing the end and some are simply waiting for photography.

Among these is a project that’s reaching the most exciting stage: seeing it built. It’s not the most substantial project by any means – it’s a breakfast bench with a new dining table and chairs for an existing kitchen, but it’s still special in itself. Because the scope of the project is so small, every detail matters. The fabrics, the type of stitching, the colour of the stitching, how far the leg sits in from the edge and even the radius of the curves. We don’t get to work closely with upholsterers for every project so it’s exciting to visit their workshop and discuss the details. A hugely satisfying part of our work is seeing something on paper materialise into something real.

Another project we are working on is a new dwelling on the Lower North Shore. We’re currently waiting for contracts to be signed and construction to begin. It’s an exciting phase where the discussions between the architect, builder, designer and client become more frequent and you really feel a sense of working amongst a team. A reality of our work is to find the balance between staying within budget while creating interiors that are of quality and substance. For a project of this scope, the interiors are never isolated but seen as part of the whole package. We welcome the collaborative process where we are constantly learning and picking the brains of joiners, builders and architects and we feel we are all working towards the same goal.

Then there’s the project for one of our oldest clients who we met back in 2013. This client came back to us earlier this year requesting for help with accessories and art selection. Time doesn’t always permit us to keep up to date with new artists, or see the exhibitions we would like to, so this project is a welcomed change. Through this project we’re learning that seeing the latest exhibitions and searching online for artwork near and far isn’t the hard part.  It’s having the patience to find the right piece for the right space, that’s available at the right time.

One last project we’d like to mention, and hopefully will share photographs of soon, is an interior refurbishment to an art deco apartment in the eastern suburbs. The project includes a new bathroom, joinery to the entrance, floor finish and treatment, painting, soft furnishing, furniture, art selection and styling. We’re currently finalising the accessories and will wait for the rest of the furniture to come before we begin styling the space for the client. We’re holding our breath hoping the reveal will surprisingly exceed the client’s expectations rather than simply meeting them.

I hope this gives you an idea of what goes on at Studio Quarters. We are both actively involved in all parts of our projects. Our job as designers is to create homes that make life easier, more comfortable and more enjoyable. No project is too small or too large.


Interior Design

A study on colour – Queen Victoria Building

The Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in Sydney is a magnificent piece of architecture. Nestled in the heart of Town Hall, it is home to many high end to high street fashion labels as well as one-off boutiques specialising in jewellery, art, collectable toys, to name just a few. A recent trip to the QVB sparked my interest in wanting to study the relatively new colour scheme, which in my opinion has given this lovely heritage building a new lease of life. The injection of colour is both vibrant but respectful to its original heritage.

From an architectural perspective, architects Anchor Mortlock and Woolley cleverly installed unobtrusive frameless glass shopfronts to accentuate the magnificent columns of the building. Heritage Consultant Graham Brooks worked closely with the architects to revive the historical elements and the new colour scheme was devised by renowned Interior Designer, George Freedman. He was inspired by the use of vibrant and courageous colours, commonly found in the Victorian Era as well as positive and exuberant colours which adhere to the Arts and Crafts Movement

Another aspect of the refurbishment which I personally love is the insertion of the sculptural glass escalator. Besides its practical improvements of transporting people efficiently through the many grand floors of the building, it is a sensitive yet bold insertion of a contemporary element which respectfully sits within a magnificent frame of a heritage building.




Architect or Building Designer – what’s the difference?

If you are thinking about hiring a professional to assist you with renovating or decorating your home, here is a list of professionals you might consider using.


In Australia, an Architect is University-qualified and required to be registered with the Architects Board of their state. Registration requires professional experience, an examination, current professional indemnity and continuing professional development.

Architects are engaged right from the beginning of a project to design and submit drawings to Council for approval. They are then involved in the design development of a project, will usually provide detailed CAD documentation, schedules and specifications and depending on the project, may also be involved during construction. The benefit of involving an Architect during construction is that any design changes required at this stage can be resolved with an Architect’s professional opinion, ensuring the changes still stay true to the original design intent.

Some Architects are happy to take on the interior design of a project but many prefer to concentrate on the architecture and leave the interiors to an interior designer.

Building Designers

The job description for Building Designers and Architects is often very similar but the main difference is that Building Designers can come from a variety of professional backgrounds. In many states in Australia (including NSW) there are no licensing or registration requirements for Building Designers, therefore it is safest to choose one who is a member of a professional association like the Building Designers Australia. Best to check the regulations based on your state.

Whether it be an Architect or Building Designer, choose one who is familiar with your Council’s regulations, one that is suitably qualified for the job, has a portfolio of work that you like, one who is easy to talk and one that you can trust. Afterall, building a house is a long process!

Next article: “Interior Designer, Interior Decorator, Interior Stylist – what’s the difference?”

(Photo credit: Vincent van Duysen via Pinterest)



Matilda Julian “Geurie Town” Exhibition

Matilda Julian’s, “Geurie Town” Exhibition is currently showing at the Mild Manners Project Gallery in Surry Hills, Sydney. I managed to squeeze in an hour before school pickup yesterday to pop in and admire her paintings. I love her work – her brushstrokes, her subject matter (her beloved hometown of Geurie, her friends and family, flowers/weeds and still life). I was lucky enough to come across her Instagram account earlier in the year and now one of her pieces proudly sits on our wall at home.

This wonderful exhibition finishes this weekend and is a must see in my opinion.


Mild Manner Project Gallery

1/499 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Mobile: +61 410 522 717 (call ahead to confirm exhibition times)


Studio Quarters


It’s install day at project Cercis (botanical name for the resident Judas Tree) and we are very excited to see the different elements finally come together – the warm grey v-groove panelled joinery,  paint-washed solid oak joinery handles by Interia and the classic Artek A330s Bells pendant. We can’t wait for the final details to be installed – the display shelf, the block coloured cupboard and especially the  polished brass inserts.

The “trophy” fabric – the Genevieve Levy table runner is off to the upholsterer to be turned into long back cushions for the window seat. And of course, lots of scatter cushions, plants, artwork and accessories which will be collected over time to give this space true character.

Here are a few photos progress shots from the day.