The young Sydney designer banishing beige
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The young Sydney designer banishing beige

Jewel-like colours add depth and personality to this architect-designed inner city apartment

By Robyn Willis
Fri, Jul 21, 2023 9:43amGrey Clock 4 min

T here are people who enjoy living in gallery-inspired, zen-like spaces in shades of antique white and linen finished with layers of soft grey and beige materials.

And then there’s Nic Kaiko.

The young interior designer burst onto the Sydney market more than a decade ago with a thirst for colour and a love of ‘dynamic eclecticism’, a style he describes as a mix of contemporary and timeless design. Since then, he has created his own signature style based on rich colour skilfully imbued with pattern, working across residential and hotel environments.

A crimson red velvet lounge from Arpège anchors the living space. Photo: Fiona Susanto

But despite his experience in hospitality and hotel interior design, when he had the opportunity to create his own space to call home in Sydney’s Waterloo, Kaiko paused.

“Working for myself, I knew I could be a little more flexible but it’s tricky being your own client,” he said. “You can’t just pick up things you like and hope they work together. There needs to be a rationale behind your choices. You can’t have too many ideas.”

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Kaiko had wanted to buy into the Casba building in Waterloo’s Danks Street precinct since it opened almost 10 years ago. A collaboration between architects BLP and SJB, and interior designers BKH, the building is defined by its access to two parallel streets, linked by a central courtyard with a reflection pool at its heart. At street level, it is host to a suite of high end retailers, including  the new Winnings Appliances showroom, now also home to Spence & Lyda and Rogerseller, in the heart of the popular food and art precinct.

“It has beautiful public spaces and it was really activated on the ground floor,” Kaiko says. “The architecture and build was really high quality.”

Apartments were well thought out, with careful consideration given to light, ventilation and the natural flow between spaces. After securing an apartment in the building, he set to work. Because the execution of the design and build was so well done, Kaiko says there was not a lot that needed to change with the floorplan.

“The layout is perfect,” he says. “The bedrooms face east and the two bathrooms and the kitchen are really well planned. In terms of adjustments, which is tricky in apartments, it wasn’t necessary.”

The apartment in inner Sydney has a leafy aspect and enjoys abundant natural light. Image: Fiona Susanto

Taking inspiration from the silver travertine floor tiles and drawing on his experience in hotel design, Kaiko opted to paint the walls in soft grey tones, separated by a thin black line at picture rail height.

“The stripe on the walls came from when I used to do hotel work,” he says. “The bedroom particularly feels like a hotel and the layout lends itself to having that hotel feel.” 

Floor-to-ceiling semi sheer curtains in the bedroom continue the sophisticated hotel vibe, borrowing an old design technique of extending the curtains beyond the window frame to make the room feel larger.

The foundation materials were already decidedly neutral when he bought the apartment, which Kaiko decided to work with, including the flooring.

“The floors are beautiful. The travertine is cross cut and they are laid in that chateau style with big and small pieces,” Kaiko says. “They were fit for purpose and they continue from the public spaces into the bedrooms and then onto the balcony. 

“We always try to make the existing work.” 

To bring some personality into living spaces, the apartment is punctuated by rich tones of cobalt, forest green and a deep crimson, including an Arpège sofa in a colour reminiscent of the 2023 Pantone Colour of the Year, Viva Magenta.

“Cobalt is my favourite colour and I wanted to make that work. In terms of the concept, it was really more about colour blocking and keeping the background palette pretty neutral,” Kaiko says.

An abstract artwork in gradient colour by Brisbane-based artist Andy Harwood plays a central role in the living space, providing depth to the room and drawing together the equally intense shades of cobalt and deep pink. 

Nic has used an artwork by Brisbane-based artist Andy Harwood as the focal point in his living room. Image: Fiona Susanto

A veined marble coffee table from Zuster provides a visual link between the stronger crimson and the quieter neutrals while a touch of rattan in the kitchen pendant lights and the Thonet dining chairs lighten the mood. 

Pinstriped black lines ensure the look is urbane and contemporary, without being too heavy.

For Kaiko, it’s not just a design statement. As all good interiors should, the apartment reveals the personality of its owner.

“This project gives people a good indication of my loves,” he says. “Some people think colour is not high end but some of the great designers across the world use colour.

“A lot of people are afraid of using it and have a tendency to think ‘If I do everything white, it will look more high end’ but it can look incredibly pedestrian.”

No chance of that happening here.


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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Anger Does a Lot More Damage to Your Body Than You Realise

We all get mad now and then. But too much anger can cause problems.

Fri, May 24, 2024 3 min

Anger is bad for your health in more ways than you think.

Getting angry doesn’t just hurt our mental health , it’s also damaging to our hearts, brains and gastrointestinal systems, according to doctors and recent research. Of course, it’s a normal emotion that everyone feels—few of us stay serene when a driver cuts us off or a boss makes us stay late. But getting mad too often or for too long can cause problems.

There are ways to keep your anger from doing too much damage. Techniques like meditation can help, as can learning to express your anger in healthier ways.

One recent study looked at anger’s effects on the heart. It found that anger can raise the risk of heart attacks because it impairs the functioning of blood vessels, according to a May study in the Journal of the American Heart Association .

Researchers examined the impact of three different emotions on the heart: anger, anxiety and sadness. One participant group did a task that made them angry, another did a task that made them anxious, while a third did an exercise designed to induce sadness.

The scientists then tested the functioning of the blood vessels in each participant, using a blood pressure cuff to squeeze and release the blood flow in the arm. Those in the angry group had worse blood flow than those in the others; their blood vessels didn’t dilate as much.

“We speculate over time if you’re getting these chronic insults to your arteries because you get angry a lot, that will leave you at risk for having heart disease ,” says Dr. Daichi Shimbo, a professor of medicine at Columbia University and lead author of the study.

Your gastrointestinal system

Doctors are also gaining a better understanding of how anger affects your GI system.

When someone becomes angry, the body produces numerous proteins and hormones that increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can raise your risk of many diseases.

The body’s sympathetic nervous system—or “fight or flight” system—is also activated, which shunts blood away from the gut to major muscles, says Stephen Lupe, director of behavioural medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s department of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. This slows down movement in the GI tract, which can lead to problems like constipation.

In addition, the space in between cells in the lining of the intestines opens up, which allows more food and waste to go in those gaps, creating more inflammation that can fuel symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating or constipation.

Your brain

Anger can harm our cognitive functioning, says Joyce Tam, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. It involves the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, the front area of our brain that can affect attention, cognitive control and our ability to regulate emotions.

Anger can trigger the body to release stress hormones into the bloodstream. High levels of stress hormones can damage nerve cells in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, says Tam.

Damage in the prefrontal cortex can affect decision-making, attention and executive function, she adds.

The hippocampus, meanwhile, is the main part of the brain used in memory. So when neurons are damaged, that can disrupt the ability to learn and retain information, says Tam.

What you can do about it

First, figure out if you’re angry too much or too often. There’s no hard and fast rule. But you may have cause for concern if you’re angry for more days than not, or for large portions of the day, says Antonia Seligowski, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who studies the brain-heart connection.

Getting mad briefly is different than experiencing chronic anger, she says.

“If you have an angry conversation every now and again or you get upset every now and again, that’s within the normal human experience,” she says. “When a negative emotion is prolonged, when you’re really having a lot more of it and maybe more intensely, that’s where it’s bad for your health.”

Try mental-health exercises. Her group is looking at whether mental-health treatments, like certain types of talk therapy or breathing exercises, may also be able to improve some of the physical problems caused by anger.

Other doctors recommend anger-management strategies. Hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness can help, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Lupe. So too can changing the way you respond to anger.

Slow down your reactions. Try to notice how you feel and slow down your response, and then learn to express it. You also want to make sure you’re not suppressing the feeling, as that can backfire and exacerbate the emotion.

Instead of yelling at a family member when you’re angry or slamming something down, say, “I am angry because X, Y and Z, and therefore I don’t feel like eating with you or I need a hug or support,” suggests Lupe.

“Slow the process down,” he 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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