The 3 Best YouTube Channels For Interior Design Lovers
These channels on the video platform unpack of-the-moment architecture and interior design.
These channels on the video platform unpack of-the-moment architecture and interior design.
IF A PICTURE IS worth a thousand words, what does a seven-minute video weigh in at? In the case of these three YouTube channels, the answer is a lot of home-design advice and inspiration. Sweeping house tours canvas chic dwellings both inside and out. Brainy architects and creative interior designers guide your visit and share their motives and insights. Here, some details on our three favourite accounts.
What started as an Instagram account dedicated to celebrating standout Australian residential design—with a focus on modernist-inspired contemporary homes—has evolved in the past year into a YouTube channel called The Local Project. “Illustrating the architecture and design of a project will always be at the crux of our video content, but there seems to be a real appetite for seeing and hearing from the people behind these projects,” said Local Project founder and director Aidan Anderson.
In a typical clip, Sydney architect James Stockwell talks us through the rationales and execution behind his firm’s Bunkeren (Danish for “bunker”) project, a concrete dwelling that seemingly floats on the edge of a rocky forest just south of Newcastle, in New South Wales. Integrated into the landscape, the home has planted roofs that cater to the family’s love of gardening and cooking, explains Mr. Stockwell, while noting the virtue of concrete in the fire-prone bush: “[Avoiding] the risk of burning down is a pretty big relief for families.” High-quality production and editing, as well as involving music, make these 8-minute experiences more like movie shorts than videos.
The videos from heritage fabric and wallpaper purveyor F. Schumacher are ultimately promotional (its products make not-terribly-subtle cameos), but like the New York company’s email mailings, the clips on the Schumacher1889 channel are well-presented and engaging.
Six-minute house tours sweep through projects like Atlanta interior designer Beth Webb’s glass-walled Brays Island, S.C., retreat and Jenny Holladay’s grand millennial-inflected Chicago townhome, but the educational how-tos and entertaining In the Bag series are also a plus. In a clip from the latter, bicoastal designer Mary McDonald rifles through her leopard-printed Dolce & Gabbana purse, digging out design tools like fabric swatches (from her Schumacher collection). Her most unexpected possessions are two striped paper straws, one blue and white, one red and white, that she defends. “Aren’t they cute?” Then, holding them side by side vertically, she outlines her vision: “Look. A whole room after this. Painted. On the doorways.” A telling glimpse into the creative process.
Fans of Never Too Small, a YouTube channel dedicated to small-format architecture and design, describe watching the company’s videos as a “meditative experience,” said Australian creator Colin Chee. “There is a simplicity in the way we produce, and our shooting style is purposely still.” The intention: to give the audience time to absorb and appreciate ingenious design, like that of a 581-square-foot London apartment by British architecture firm Craft Design.
The seven-minute films also give the dwellings context. The Craft Design apartment, for example, is one third of what was once a single-family home in the jumping Camdon neighbourhood. “Amy Winehouse used to live literally around the corner,” the architect-homeowner tells us.
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You’ll never guess where they found a little extra room when renovating this west coast house
There was a time, not too long ago, when the most important must-have for would-be renovators was space. It was all about space to be together and space to be apart.
But as house prices increase across the country, the conversation has started to shift from size for the sake of it towards more flexible, well-designed spaces better suited to contemporary living.
For the owners of this 1920s weatherboard workers’ cottage in Fremantle, the emphasis was less on having an abundance of room and more about creating cohesive environments that could still maintain their own distinct moods. Key to achieving this was manipulating the floorplan in such a way that it could draw in light, giving the impression at least of a larger footprint.
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Positioned on a site that fell three metres from street level, the humble four-room residence had been added to over the years. First order of business for local architect Philip Stejskal was to strip the house back to its original state.
“In this case, they were not quality additions,” Stejskal says. “Sometimes it is important to make sure later additions are not lean-tos.”
The decision to demolish was not taken lightly.
“Sometimes they can be as historically significant as the original building and need to be considered — I wouldn’t want people to demolish our addition in 50 years’ time.”
Northern light hits the site diagonally, so the design solution was to open up the side of the house via a spacious courtyard to maximise opportunities to draw natural light in. However, this had a knock-on effect.
“We had to make space in the middle of the site to get light in,” Stejskal says. “That was one of the first moves, but that created another issue because we would be looking onto the back of the neighbouring building at less appealing things, like their aircon unit.”
To draw attention away from the undesirable view, Stejskal designed a modern-day ‘folly’.
“It’s a chimney and lookout and it was created to give us something nice to look at in the living space and in the kitchen,” Stejskal says.
“With a growing family, the idea was to create a space where people could find a bit of solitude. It does have views to the wider locality but you can also see the port and you can connect to the street as well.”
A garden tap has also been installed to allow for a herb garden at the top of the steps.
“That’s the plan anyway,” he says.
Conjuring up space has been at the core of this project, from the basement-style garaging to the use of the central courtyard to create a pavilion-like addition.
The original cottage now consists of two bedrooms, with a central hallway leading onto a spacious reception and living area. Here, the large kitchen and dining spaces wrap around the courtyard, offering easy access to outdoor spaces via large sliding doors.
Moments of solitude and privacy have been secreted throughout the floorplan, with clever placement of built-in window seats and the crow’s nest lookout on the roof, ideal for morning coffee and sunset drinks.
The house has three bedrooms, including a spacious master suite with walk-in robe and ensuite overlooking the back garden. Adjustable blades on the bedroom windows allow for the control of light, as well as privacy. Although the house was designed pre COVID, it offers the sensibility so many sought through that time — sanctuary, comfort and retreat.
“When the clients came to us, they wanted a house that was flexible enough to cater for the unknown and changes in the family into the future,” Stejskal says. “We gave the owners a series of spaces and a certain variety or moods, regardless of the occasion. We wanted it to be a space that would support that.”
Mood has also been manipulated through the choice of materials. Stejskal has used common materials such as timber and brick, but in unexpected ways to create spaces that are at once sumptuous but also in keeping with the origins of the existing building.
Externally, the brickwork has been finished in beaded pointing, a style of bricklaying that has a softening effect on the varied colours of bricks. For the flooring, crazy paving in the courtyard contrasts with the controlled lines of tiles laid in a stack bond pattern. Close attention has also been paid to the use of veneer on select joinery in the house, championing the beauty of Australian timbers with a lustrous finish.
“The joinery is finished in spotted gum veneer that has been rotary cut,” says Stejskal. “It is peeled off the log like you peel an apple to give you this different grain.”
Even the laundry has been carefully considered.
“The laundry is like a zen space with bare stone,” he says. “We wanted these different moods and the landscape of rooms. We wanted to create a rich tapestry in this house.”
The owners now each experience the house differently, highlighting separate aspects of the building as their favourite parts. It’s quite an achievement when the site is not enormous. Maybe it’s not size that matters so much after all.
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