When you sit down and think carefully about how you live – what does each room mean to you and why? In terms of Architecture concepts, we feel comfortable when we feel safe, secure, when we have somewhere we can call a sanctuary and where we feel grounded – some parts of the house are for resting, others are for the dynamics of family life, for conversation, for movement – there are design principles that celebrate these feelings and functions within a home.

This beautiful interior design by Justine Hugh-Jones (Sydney), within a 1920’s bungalow, focuses on the senses with its tactile surfaces, careful use of materials, elements of history and personal touches, and use of light. It uses contemporary details but also respects the rich character of the building. What I quite like about the feel of this place is that it is arranged around comfortable daily living and celebrating the sheer pleasures of daily rituals in the sunny kitchen, the soft welcoming living room with its inviting oversized cushions, the practical bunks in the boys rooms. It gets to the essence of what each space means to the family.

This consideration of each room, its function, its feeling,  is at the heart of good Architecture and design. It’s so much more than just ‘building’. I think Nigella Lawson said it well when she wrote about what a kitchen space means to her:

” The kitchen isn’t just the room in which I cook, it’s the place where I live. There’s a dynamism to a kitchen that seems to draw people in. Part hub, part haven, the kitchen is where, I’ve always found, people speak more freely than anywhere else. Maybe it’s because when you’re cooking, you can talk and listen without shining the light of your attention too closely on those who may need to talked or be listened to. I feel I am much more likely to find out what might be worrying a child, or to let an otherwise self-contained friend unburden herself, while I’m in the kitchen, gently busying myself with chopping a carrot or stirring a soup….”

To me that is what good home design is about – it’s seeing those daily moments in a family’s life and celebrating them, and this lovely design does just that.



Justine Hugh-Jones Design – Thankyou !

This Beach cottage is also available for hire – see here for more information.


4 thoughts on “Sanctuary

  1. Important points on the origins of good residential architecture; nicely put. And having followed your blog, I know you speak from experience.
    By the way, out of professional curiosity, how successful have you been in getting clients to enter into that mindset needed to provide good feedback to your first question?

  2. By asking the question, the answers seem to come – its interesting talking with different families about this, and they all intuitively know how different spaces work for them – some naturally are on that wavelength and for others I can hear their descriptive words and can translate them into architectural concepts on their behalf. The blog has been a good way of illustrating these concepts (highlighting what people already feel/know by instinct) and defining them I guess for those unfamiliar with the industry. I suppose one of my aims is for people to SEE and UNDERSTAND the value of an architect designed space that goes beyond house value and fees, tile choices, bricks and mortar, but also looks at how it can positively impact lives and our everyday.

  3. Trying to see through someone else’s eyes sometimes helps me break loose of unconsciously held assumptions that may have calcified into dogma at worst, poor guides at best. Thank you for sharing with me what you see.

  4. I was a graduate architect in a wonderful company where the principal philosophy was ‘we dont design for ourselves, we design for our clients – so you wont see a typical CCA building as they always vary from client to client’ – I learnt a lot from that, and they continue to produce amazing architecture. I see that in this lovely designer featured above – its a rare trait where the designer is learning and exploring new ideas constantly to suit each family and certainly one to be celebrated!


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