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Redefining Interior Design

Articles From Issue 13

Operating since 1995, Garsden & Clarke Kitchens is an award-winning interior design business that specialises in stunning, high-quality cabinetry for kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, as well as home theatres and offices. Servicing the Greater Brisbane area, the proudly locally-owned and-operated company has produced cabinetry for more than 3500 homes. Garsden & Clarke Kitchens began as the passion project of Wesley and Susan Garsden. When their employment ended with another kitchen-manufacturing company, the duo decided to establish their own design business, which they could control and nurture. “Wes is a fully qualified cabinetmaker and

[I] specialise in design and colour,” explains Susan, who is also one of the company’s senior designers. “Together, [we] built Garsden & Clarke Kitchens, and [the company] is now at a level where we would like to maintain and continue to work on our systems and service. “We believe it is not about quantity, but quality.” The company has undergone significant expansion since its inception, and now employs 38 passionate staff members. The close-knit team foster a supportive and collaborative working environment, where knowledge is shared and ideas are encouraged.

“I like to consider all of my staff as not only colleagues, but friends,” says Susan. Comprising six highly qualified and professional women, the company’s talented design team provides a unique point of difference within Queensland’s cabinetry-design industry. That said, Susan says employing an all-female team was not a conscious decision.

“Over the years, we have employed male designers and salespeople,” she says. “We’ve found that the male designers like to move on, but the ladies become more personally attached [to the company], so they like to stay. “25 to 30 years ago, the cabinetry-design industry was definitely male oriented,” Susan continues. “It took some time before [women] were respected in the industry, even though most people thought the kitchen was a woman’s domain. “I think it’s a much more even playing field in the 21st century, and gender is [thankfully] no longer a factor.”

The most common misconception among industry outsiders is that an interior designer is the same profession as an interior decorator. While they might share a similar job title, Susan believes it’s important not to conflate the two roles, as they are largely different. “I don’t believe a title will always [dictate] the talents of individuals,” she begins.

“However, a designer commonly specialises in the use of space and other factors, while a decorator [deals more in] the use of colour and finishes. “Of course, many [people] are talented in both [areas],” she says. “I believe there is only so much you can teach; talented designers normally have a natural flair.”

There are numerous benefits to hiring an interior designer for your next project. Most importantly, they can create incredible spaces that function in accordance with your lifestyle, while also reflecting your personality and taste. “Hopefully you will build a relationship with [your interior designer] and they will bring together your ideas and dreams,” says Susan. “If you’re not sure about either, your designer will offer you options and solutions.” Susan Garsden Co-Owner, Co-Director

When designing projects, Susan explains that she draws motivation and inspiration from her colleagues, as well as her clients. “My favourite thing about working [here] is [being able to] confidently design and sell beautiful cabinetry, [all while] knowing that I have a professional team working [alongside] me.” With plenty of projects currently underway and a love of design that shows no signs of waning, there are exciting things on the horizon for the passionate team at Garsden & Clarke Kitchens.

Holly Peters Interior Designer

How long have you been in the interior design industry?

I have been working in the kitchen and design industry for more than 35 years.

What drew you to interior design?

I was inspired to do something that I’m very passionate about. I love that I can invest a considerable amount of time and energy into creating something, and then I can admire the end result.

Please describe what your role entails, from the start of a project, through to the completion.

Every day is different. I start by meeting my clients for the first time to go over their plans, and I design each room to meet their requirements. I will then go away and do a design and select colours to meet their brief and budget. Once I’ve completed this stage of the process, I will meet with my clients again to go over the finished designs for each room. This is the most

enjoyable part of my job, as I get to see the excitement on their faces when they see what we’ve created.

What is your signature style?

I love all styles. However, I especially love the modern Hamptons style, as you can use so many different yet complementary textures and colours.

Who do you look to for design inspiration?

I look up to all the young designers that I have the pleasure of working with at Garsden & Clarke Kitchens. They inspire me to adapt with the times.

What do you strive for in your work and what matters to you most?

Work fills such a large part of our lives. The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.


What is your favourite project that you’ve worked on and why?

I have worked on so many beautiful projects; it’s hard for me to pick just one. One that comes to mind would be the Red Hill project.

This was a beautiful home, and we used so many different textures and finishes. This was a very modern style of home, and the finished product combined with the furnishings looked amazing.

I loved mixing warm solid-timber finishes with New Age Veneers and two-pack polyurethane paint in charcoal colours. This project has clean lines and creative lighting solutions, which were used to create an ultra-modern and sophisticated kitchen space.

Charlotte Russell Interior Designer

How long have you been in the interior design industry?

More than 13 years.

What drew you to interior design?

I’ve always enjoyed being creative, so I love the creativity that’s involved in my work. I love the challenge of utilising a space to its full potential with clever and practical design methods.

Why should homeowners hire an interior designer for their next project?

Interior designers have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can help clients overcome what could otherwise be a very stressful process.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Garsden & Clarke Kitchens?

Garsden & Clarke Kitchens is a warm, friendly and family-oriented company. I feel very lucky to work with a group of amazing, highly skilled and likeminded people, and it’s a pleasure to come to work every day.

What are your favourite design trends in 2017?

I love all of the metal elements, such as brass, and powder-coated black finishes. These are coming through in handles, mirror frames, sinks and tapware. I also love the combination of VJ pattern doors with leather-pull handles, as well as the beautiful natural stone products we have on offer, such as marble, quartz and limestone.

What is your favourite project that you’ve worked on and why?

I recently worked on a new residential build in Cornubia, Brisbane. The home was architecturally designed using sustainable and energy-efficient methods. The colour palette used throughout the home is fairly neutral and includes whites, greys and polished-concrete floors. We incorporated some timber elements into the cabinetry design, which was a nice way to invite some warmth. The result is a comprehensive design that will stand the test of time.

Kimberley Whitehead Senior Designer

How long have you been in the interior design industry?

12 years.

What drew you to interior design?

I grew up with a mother and aunty who were both in the industry, so from a young age I’ve been exposed to the design world, and was always keen to pursue a career in interior design. The kitchen is one area that I’ve always been passionate about, as it combines my love of food, cooking, spatial planning and colour.

What is your signature style?

I would describe my natural style as urban or contemporary. I always love to layer or play with different materials and textures, especially timber.

Who do you look to for design inspiration?

I believe we have so many incredibly talented designers in this part of the world! I am always following Australian and New Zealand architecture, furniture and textile designers closely, as I see great importance in the connection between design and the surrounding environment.

What is your favourite project that you’ve worked on and why?

I’ve had the pleasure of working on a number of amazing projects. However, this renovation project was a particular highlight. The clients and I worked together to integrate corresponding finishes, which create seamless transitions between spaces.

The wall that disguised the pantry and laundry was quite a dominant feature upon entering the living space. Therefore, cladding the wall in a contrasting material was the obvious choice. Blackbutt timber flooring provided instant warmth to the space and added texture to the adjacent finishes. As the kitchen was tucked into the corner of the lower level, we opted to contrast the cabinetry for further visual drama. A dark colour often recedes and fades away. However, in this case, it provided extra punch and stature. We played around with angles to the shadowline-handle profile of the cabinetry, as well as the detailing on the stone waterfall bench, and featured bold pendant lighting to provide extra texture and interest.

Images courtesy of Garsden & Clarke Kitchens