Melbourne's Best Interior Designers: Creating Beautiful and Functional Spaces
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Melbourne’s Best Interior Designers: Creating Beautiful and Functional Spaces

By Prue Miller
Tue, May 2, 2023 9:11amGrey Clock 4 min

Melbourne has a well-deserved reputation for elegance and style with interior design, and with so many to choose from (especially if money is no object!) we thought a short list of the best interior designers, was needed. Please note, these are in no particular order, because everyone is quite frankly, fabulous.

Simone Haag

An impressive portfolio of stand-out projects is the calling card for Simone Haag. Her website opens with a quote from editor of Vogue Living, which is pretty impressive. Young, enthusiastic, brave. Her studio core values are Discovery, Connection, Significance and Belief. Her “Art House” is a firm personal fav.

 

Christopher Elliott Design

Melbourne Interior Designer

The Richmond base designer has an elevated contemporary style, that transforms spaces in a thoughtful, memorable and meticulous manner using bold colours, clever use of light and interesting textures.

 

Flack Studio

Just flip through The Elwood House pictures to see the breadth of design expression that comes out of this studio, both residential and commercial. They master the contemporary elegance brief with ease, while still allowing a ‘touch of daring’ as they say, to create a holistic design.

 

Megan Hounslow

Is it okay to say Megan Hounslow’s paintings are in fact what attracted me first? A bit off topic, but then again maybe not. The Hounslow touch is pictorial and nuanced. The Netherby House project is a study in rapport between contemporary and heritage aesthetics.

 

Nickolas Gurtler Office

With studio values, such as ‘transportive, immersive and thought-provoking’ , it is no wonder the studio has such an impressive following in residential and commercial design. Their talented curation of items is an art form in itself.

 

Heartly

Project

This Abbotsford studio, which offers full architectural services, has an unpretentious honesty that creates happy spaces. Their profile says “interiors created by Heartly are creative, confident, practical and beautiful”, and that’s true. They were shortlisted in the 2022 Australian Interior Design Awards for Canning Street Cottage.

 

Mr. Mitchell

If repeat and referral business is a signpost to a good studio, then Mr Mitchell deserves to be right up there. Twenty-three years in business, and still producing vital, magazine worthy spaces that will outlast fads and trends – because as we all know, elegance is forever in style. His Mittagong project?  To die for.

 

 

Alexander Pollock

Aaron Wong leads the award-winning Alexander Pollock team as they create outstanding interiors for private residential and commercial residential projects. While all the homes are Insta worthy, their command of eclectic design is outstanding – the Kew House, for example, is brilliant.

 

Six Pieces Interior Design

181210-SP-RH-28-A3.jpg

Finding the perfect piece for the space is a drawcard to this full-service design studio. Although mentioned in other studios, the quality of 2D and 3D renders is fantastic here, guided by the fully qualified and experienced principals Caroline Lawton and Titia Huggard.

Camilla Molders Design

colourful-interior-design

Not just a great place for design, but also a strong advocate for environmental responsibility. But back to interior design, with 20 years’ experience under her belt, contacts and resources are no issue for the studios informed, bespoke designs – from lofts to mansions, this practice is a go to.

 

Is it better to hire an interior designer?

Interior designers can be a better option if you’re designing a whole house because they can oversee the entire project for a more cohesive look. Interior designers also have access to trade prices, and often have longstanding relationships with trades and suppliers that can lead to lower costs, a smoother project and a better outcome in the long run.

 

How much does an interior designer cost in Melbourne?

Like most things, you get what you pay for. An inexperienced designer may charge between $50 to $90 per hour, but the average cost is between $100 and $300 per hour. It’s best to discuss budgets and expectations upfront to avoid disappointment or confusion.

 

At what stage should I hire an interior designer?

If you’re building a house, it’s wise to get an interior designer on board as early as possible, ideally during the planning stage. Often, they can help with critical details such as kitchen layout, storage options and materials selection, which will give you a realistic idea of budget.

 

How do I find the right interior designer?

Social media is your friend here. Many interior designers are active on Instagram, posting progress images, as well as finished spaces. Just be careful to check that the images they post are their own work. Alternatively, word of mouth is still a valuable source. If you visit a house, a restaurant or even a boutique hotel you like, ask who designed it. Be sure to create your own portfolio of images to take to your first meeting to help convey your ideas.

 



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Booming demand for wellness tourism shows no slowing, with travel related to health and well-being projected to have reached $1 trillion last year and to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit based in Miami.

Curated wellness travel programs are especially sought-after, specifically holistic treatments focused on longevity. Affluent travellers not only are making time to hit the gym while gallivanting across the globe, they’re also seeking destinations that specifically cater to their wellness goals, including treatments aimed at living longer.

“I believe Covid did put a spotlight on self-care and well-being,” says Penny Kriel, corporate director of spa and wellness at Salamander Collection, a group of luxury properties in places like Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. But Kriel says today’s spas are more holistic, encouraging folks to understand the wellness concept and incorporate it into their lifestyle more frequently.

“With the evolution of treatment products and technology, spas have been able to enhance their offerings and appeal to more travellers,” Kriel says.

While some growth is connected to the variety of treatments available, results and the digital world are also contributing to the wellness boom.

“The efficacy and benefits of these treatments continue to drive bookings and interest, especially with the support of social media, influencers, and celebrity endorsements,” Kriel says.

While genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, a diet free of processed foods, sufficient sleep, and human connection play essential roles in living well and longer, experts believe in holistic therapies to help manage stress, boost immunity, and ultimately influence length and quality of life.

Anti Ageing and Beyond

“For years, people have been coming to spas, booking treatments, and gaining advice on how to turn the clock back with anti ageing and corrective skin treatments,” Kriel says. However, today’s treatments are far more innovative.

On Marinella Beach in Porto Rotondo, on the Italian island of Sardinia, guests at the five-star Abi d’Oru Hotel & Spa can experience the resort’s one-of-a-kind “longevity treatment,” a unique antiaging facial using one of the island’s native grapes: Cannonau. The world’s first declared “Blue Zone”—one of five designated areas where people live longer than average, some into their 100s—Sardinia produces this robust red wine varietal, the most widely planted on the island.

Known as Garnacha in Spain and Grenache in France, Cannonau supposedly contains two to three times more antioxidants than other red-wine grapes. By incorporating Cannonau, Abi Spa says its unique 50-minute longevity session increases collagen production for firmer, younger-looking skin.

Maintaining a youthful appearance is just one facet of longevity treatments, which range from stress-reduction sessions like massage to nutritional support and sleep programs, Kriel says. Some retreats also offer medical services such as IV infusions and joint injections.

Keeping with the trend, Kriel is expanding Salamander Collection’s existing spa services, such as detox wraps and lymphatic drainage, to include dedicated “Wellness Rooms,” new vegan and vegetarian menu items, and well-being workshops. “Sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness will be a big focus for integration in 2024,” she says.

Data-Driven Wellness

Skyler Stillings, an exercise physiologist at Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort—an adults-only wellness centre in Lanai, Hawaii—says guests were drawn to the social aspect when the spa opened in November 2021.

“We saw a huge need for human connection,” she recalls. But over the past few years, what’s paramount has shifted. “Longevity is trending much more right now.”

Human connection is a central draw for guests at Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Billionaire co-founder of tech company Oracle Larry Ellison and physician and scientist Dr. David Angus co-founded Sensei. After the death of a mutual close friend, the duo teamed up to create longevity-based wellness retreats to nurture preventative care and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the Lanai location, the brand established Sensei Porcupine Creek in Greater Palm Springs, California, in November 2022.

Sensei has a data-driven approach. The team performs a series of assessments to obtain a clearer picture of a guest’s health, making wellness recommendations based on the findings. While Sensei analyses that data to curate a personalised plan, Stillings says it’s up to the guests which path they choose.

Sensei’s core three-day retreat is a “Guided Wellness Experience.” For spa treatments, each guest checks into their own “Spa Hale,” a private 1,000-square-foot bungalow furnished with an infrared sauna, a steam shower, a soaking tub, and plunge pools. The latest therapies include Sarga Bodywalking—a barefoot myofascial release massage, and “Four Hands in Harmony,” a massage with two therapists working in tandem. Sensei Guides provide take-home plans so guests can continue their wellness journeys after the spa.

Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Sanctuaries for Longevity

Headquartered in Switzerland with hotels and on-site spas across the globe, Aman Resorts features an integrative approach, combining traditional remedies with modern medicine’s advanced technologies. Tucked behind the doors of the storied Crown Building in Midtown Manhattan, Banya Spa House at Aman New York—the brand’s flagship spa in the Western Hemisphere—is a 25,000-square-foot, three-floor urban oasis.

Yuki Kiyono, global head of health and wellness development at Aman, says the centre provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Aman’s customisable “Immersion Programs” consist of a three- or five-day immersion. “The programs encompass treatments and experiences that touch every significant aspect to create a path for longevity, from meditation and mindfulness to nutrition and movement,” Kiyono explains.

Banya Spa House at Aman New York.
Robert Rieger

The spa’s “Tei-An Wellness Solution” features 90- to 150-minute sessions using massage, cryotherapy, and Vitamin IV infusions. Acupuncture is also on offer.

“With its rich history of Chinese Medicine, modern research, and the introduction of sophisticated electro-acupuncture medicine, acupuncture has been proven to assist with problems and increase performance,” Kiyono says.

Resetting the Mind and Body

Beyond longevity, “healthspan”—the number of years a person can live in good health free of chronic disease—is the cornerstone of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat’s program in British Columbia, Canada.

Kirk Shave, president and program director, and his team employ a holistic approach, using lifestyles in long-living Blue Zones as a point of reference.

“We improve our daily lifestyle habits, so we live vitally as long as we’re meant to live,” Shave says of the retreat. He built the program from an anthropological stance, referencing humans as farmers, hunters, and gatherers based on their eating and sleeping patterns. Food includes vegetable-centric meals sans alcohol, sugar, bread, or dairy.

Guests wake at dawn each day and have access to sunrise yoga, several hours of “flow” or slow hiking, spa treatments, forest bathing, calming crystal singing-bowl and sound therapy sessions, and classes on stress reduction—one of Mountain Trek’s primary goals. The program motivates people to spend much of their time in nature because it’s been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to inflammation and disease when elevated for extended periods.

While most guests aren’t aware of how immersive Mountain Trek’s program is when they arrive, they leave the resort revitalized after the structured, one-week program. Set in the Kootenays overlooking its eponymous river, the resort and adventure promise what Shave calls a “visceral experience of transformation.”

“They’re interested in coming to be in nature,” Shave says of the guests. “They hit a wall in their life and slipped backwards, so they know they need a reset.”

Banya Spa House at Aman New York provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.
Robert Rieger

This article first appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of Mansion Global Experience Luxury.

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