The top interior design mistakes to avoid this year
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The top interior design mistakes to avoid this year

A top Sydney designer walks through the common mistakes homeowners make – and how to fix them

Tue, Jan 16, 2024 12:12pmGrey Clock 4 min

The days of white-on-white walls are fast disappearing, as we seek comfort and relaxation at home through a warm palette of colour and texture. But how to navigate the myriad options? Starting with where we get it wrong, Julia Green of Greenhouse Interiors sets the new rules for decorating through colour, calm and a little playfulness thrown in.

Using hero colours in isolation

Julia: A common mistake I see people make is not cohesively implementing their chosen hero colour throughout the space. Look at ways to unify hero colours so they aren’t standing alone without company, instead ensuring these hues are weaved through decorative objects and furniture. The most successful designs I have seen have managed to weave colour cohesively through their home like a well-made tapestry. The more subtle the tie-in is, the better!

Designer Julia Green of Greenhouse interiors used the Dulux Journey palette to breathe life into a sterile living space with warm pink tones punctuated by notes of deep plum in accessories.
BEFORE: The living space was in good order but lacked signs of life.

Using only neutral colours

Homeowners often select a neutral shade on their walls and stick to white for their ceilings and trims. The downside of this is that contrast trims on walls and ceilings can draw your eye from top to bottom, rather than allowing the eye to wander seamlessly. Instead, consider painting walls, trims and even ceilings in a single colour, to make the space feel more cohesive. That being said, contrasting pops of colour add balance which is equally important to the look and feel of any space. So, to avoid that floating feeling, ensure your room has an element of grounding through the addition of accent shades from your colour scheme through soft furnishings, textures, florals or artwork as an alternative to doors, ceilings or trims.

Julia’s most recent project used the colour, Dulux Lilac Light from the Dulux Colour Forecast 2024 Journey palette, on the walls, ceilings and trims.

Incorporating colour all at once

Another mistake people make is rushing to add colour throughout their home. Don’t feel pressured to do it all at once, start small and make measured, staggered choices. For a recent makeover I worked on in the Bellarine Peninsula, the walls were painted first in a neutral, greyed off pink shade – Dulux Lilac Light, from the 2024 Dulux Colour Forecast Journey palette – before any other choices were made. The clients lived with that for a few weeks to see how the light interacted with the colour throughout the day, before we approached the rest of the space and introduced bolder pops of colour from the palette to add layering and interest.

Designer Julia Grreen from Greenhouse Interiors says colour and pattern are key to creating inviting spaces.

Forgetting about mood

Colours evoke different moods, so it’s important to consider the look and feel you want to create in the space before landing on your hero colour. For example, I always opt for a calmer palette for the bedroom, as it is a place of rest. A living room on the other hand is where you spend much of your waking hours, so it’s good to liven it up! Pale pink is known for its calming effect – it’s gentle, easy to live with and can add warmth to a space, compared to an austere white shade. It’s also extremely versatile. The emotion it evokes can change completely depending on how it’s styled, which is why it’s a shade I like not only for living areas but also bedrooms.

The wooden dining table has been finished in Dulux Swedish Blue.

Selecting the wrong colour

Most homeowners are apprehensive of colour or they have concerns that colour may make their home feel too bold, which is why choosing the right colour is such a critical step in the design process. Incorporating colour is such an amazing opportunity to inject your own personality and story into the home, so I encourage it wherever possible. My biggest tip is to start with a neutral shade, to create a safe base that easily allows for the introduction of other colour and styling changes over time. If you’re new to using colour in your home, start small and make measured choices. Try living with colour, even if it’s a referenced cushion or decor object. The best thing about the 2024 Dulux Colour Forecast palettes is that all of the hard work is done for you. Their carefully considered palettes are designed to take the brain strain out of companion colours that work well, so when all else fails, look to the experts who have done the hard work for you – it’s foolproof.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now

Companies are eager to hire strong players who use hybrid work schedules to schmooze clients on the course

Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5 min

Standout golfers who aren’t quite PGA Tour material now have somewhere else to play professionally: Corporate America.

People who can smash 300-yard drives and sink birdie putts are sought-after hires in finance, consulting, sales and other industries, recruiters say. In the hybrid work era, the business golf outing is back in a big way.

Executive recruiter Shawn Cole says he gets so many requests to find ace golfers that he records candidates’ handicaps, an index based on average number of strokes over par, in the information packets he submits to clients. Golf alone can’t get you a plum job, he says—but not playing could cost you one.

“I know a guy that literally flies around the world in a private jet loaded with French wine, and he golfs and lands hundred-million-dollar deals,” Cole says.

Tee times and networking sessions have long gone hand-in-golf-glove. Despite criticism that doing business on the course undermines diversity, equity and inclusion efforts—and the fact that golf clubs haven’t always been open to women and minorities —people who mix golf and work say the outings are one of the last reprieves from 30-minute calendar blocks

Stars like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie West helped expand participation in the sport. Still, just 22% of golfers are nonwhite and 26% are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.

To lure more people, clubs have relaxed rules against mobile-phone use on the course, embracing white-collar professionals who want to entertain clients on the links without disconnecting from the office. It’s no longer taboo to check email from your cart or take a quick call at the halfway turn.

With so much other business conducted virtually, shaking hands on the green and schmoozing over clubhouse beers is now seen as making an extra effort, not slacking off.

Americans played a record 531 million rounds last year. Weekday play has nearly doubled since 2019, with much of the action during business hours , according to research by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom .

“It would’ve been scandalous in 2019 to be having multiple meetings a week on the golf course,” Bloom says. “In 2024, if you’re producing results, no one’s going to see anything wrong with it.”

A financial adviser at a major Wall Street bank who competes on the amateur circuit told me he completes 90% of his tasks by 10 a.m. because he manages long-term investment plans that change infrequently. The rest of his workday often involves golfing with clients and prospects. He’s a member of a private club with a multiyear waiting list, and people jump at the chance to join him on a course they normally can’t access.

There is an art to bringing in business this way. He never initiates shoptalk, telling his playing partners the round is about having fun and getting to know each other. They can’t resist asking about investment strategies by the back nine, he says.

Work hard, play hard

Matt Parziale golfed professionally on minor-league tours for several years, but when his dream of making the big time ended, he had to get a regular job. He became a firefighter, like his dad.

A few years later he won one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the country, earning spots in the 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, where he tied for first among non-pros.

The brush with celebrity brought introductions to business types that Parziale, 35 years old, says he wouldn’t have met otherwise. One connection led to a job with a large insurance broker. In 2022 he jumped to Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates in Wellesley, Mass., which recognised his golf game as a tool to help win large accounts.

He rescheduled our interview because he was hosting clients at a private club on Cape Cod, and squeezed me in the next morning, before teeing off with a business group in Newport, R.I.

A short time ago, Parziale couldn’t imagine making a living this way. Now he’s the norm in elite amateur golf circles.

“I look around at the guys at the events I play, and they all have these jobs ,” he says.

His boss, Chief Executive Chip Gibson, says Parziale is good at bringing in business because he puts as much effort into building relationships as honing his game. A golf outing is merely an opportunity to build trust that can eventually lead to a deal, and it’s a misconception that people who golf during work hours don’t work hard, he says.

Barry Allison’s single-digit handicap is an asset in his role as a management consultant at Accenture , where he specialises in travel and hospitality. He splits time between Washington, D.C., and The Villages, Fla., a golf mecca that boasts more than 50 courses.

It can be hard to get to know people in distributed work environments, he says. Go golfing and you’ll learn a lot about someone’s temperament—especially after a bad shot.

“If you see a guy snap a club over his knee, you don’t know what he’s going to snap next,” Allison says.

Special access

On a recent afternoon I was a lunch guest at Brae Burn Country Club, a private enclave outside Boston that was the site of U.S. Golf Association championships won by legends like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. I parked in the second lot because the first one was full—on a Wednesday.

My host was Cullen Onstott, managing director of the Onstott Group executive search firm and a former collegiate golfer at Fairfield University. He explained one reason companies prize excellent golfers is they can put well-practiced swings on autopilot and devote most of their attention to chitchat.

It’s hard to talk with potential customers about their needs and interests when you’re hunting for errant shots in the woods. It’s also challenging if you show off.

The first hole at Brae Burn is a 318-yard par 4 that slopes down, enabling big hitters like Onstott to reach the putting green in a single stroke. But to stay close to his playing partners and keep the conversation flowing, he sometimes hits a shorter shot.

Having an “in” at an exclusive club can make you a catch. Bo Burch, an executive recruiter in North Carolina, says clubs in his region tend to attract members according to their business sectors. One might be chock-full of real-estate investors while another has potential buyers of industrial manufacturing equipment.

Burch looks for candidates who are members of clubs that align with his clients’ industries, though he stresses that business acumen comes first when filling positions.

Tami McQueen, a former Division I tennis player and current chief marketing officer at Atlanta investment firm BIP Capital, signed up for private golf lessons this year. She had noticed colleagues were wearing polos with course logos and bringing their clubs to work. She wanted in.

McQueen joined business associates on the golf course for the first time in March at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She has lowered her handicap to a respectable 26 and says her new skill lends a professional edge.

“To be able to say, ‘I can play with you and we can have those business meetings on the course’ definitely opens a lot more doors,” she says.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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