We have designed and worked on many residential projects where clients have their own studies and libraries. The study we are discussing here is in Melbourne. The design of the cabinet work has integrated a ‘secret door’. It could have been a simple everyday door, but it was far more interesting to create a concealed hided door. We used old book covers to create the illusion of book shelves filled with books. We took the covers of old encyclopaedias that were out of date, and books that were damaged and heading for land fill. It was a great way to recycle part of something that had no further use. When the door is closed it looks like continual book shelving running across the back wall of the room. With the touch of a concealed lock, you are able to enter into the room behind with the greatest of ease. We’ve all seen the Agatha Christie movies with secret doors in stalely homes that lead to mischief and mayhem. Well this is certainly different, nothing sinister going on here. What could have been just a plain doorway, is now an interesting architectural talking point that is both practical and unique.
A Bathroom from a past project, that is a wonderful space filled with natural light. Finishes of Carrara Marble, white Subway Tiles, quality sanitary fixtures, and costumed designed cabinet work painted in neutral tones, creates a perfect bathroom. A space that's a sanctuary, beautiful but also very functional at the same time, that's the hallmark of good interior design, that Thomas & Alexander has built it’s reputation on.
Thomas & Alexander Interiors | Paddington
Established in 1988, Thomas & Alexander Interiors is one of Brisbane’s most respected and celebrated interior design specialists. With a passion for connecting their clients with transformative styling and an instinct for design, Christopher Thomas offers a high-end and professional service to his clients. Christopher’s process involves an in-depth consultation with his clients to determine what suits them and their home, as he understands that the process is not about his own taste but about best understanding each individual property and personal needs.
Covering everything from architectural detail and design to custom manufacturing of soft furnishings, design and making of furniture, and to sourcing art and accessories. Thomas & Alexander offer a wide range of design services, often managing every individual aspect of a design project. Their attention to detail is what has made them one of Australia’s most celebrated design experts for over 30 years.
With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Christopher is able to advise his clients on even the most minutiae of details. For example, if you’re currently looking to redesign a space, Christopher recommends you “focus on one really exceptional piece and make that your focal point. One statement piece will always outshine any other mediocre selections and give substance.”
Rather than try to get an entire project over in a weekend, Christopher advises his clients to go slowly and act with consideration. “Try buying and adding pieces over a period of time, editing as you go. By doing this you will create a room or even a home that will never date. Anything instant is never successful, but slow accumulation over time creates an interior for a lifetime.”
By Siobhan Taylor - Style Magazine
Get to know Christopher Thomas of 'Thomas & Alexander Interiors'.
Christopher Thomas of Thomas & Alexander Interiors is known for his passion and dedication in creating timeless, understated luxury.
Christopher Thomas speaks to WILLIAMS MEDIA about creating comfortable spaces for clients, flexibility in design, and not having an identifiable style.
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
The end result of course!
The sheer delight expressed by a client when they finally either move into their new home which we have been collaborating on, or when something is completed in their existing home.
When the final touches are put in place and the client feels comfortable, happy, and connected with the style, vision, and design of these spaces.
No matter how nice a room may be, unless it feels comfortable and fits with the personality of the client it is not a true success in my opinion.
Secondly, the incredible connection and sincere and deep relationships formed over a 30 year career.
I feel so incredibly lucky to have made so many friendships, some of whom I have known since my early years in design and have seen their children grow into young adults!
I find that designing for people with whom one doesn’t connect and feel a strong desire to work with closely (as it is for me a close collaboration with the client that makes for a genuinely great outcome) is very difficult.
In a professional capacity it is important to challenge clients to go further than their comfort level, in order to achieve greatness and for them to feel inspired by their environment.
If you feel connected and comfortable with each other, and trust being imperative, then the focus on achieving something great together makes for a lot of fun and pleasure, and longevity in the relationship!
With the current focus on sustainability what trends do you see emerging in design?
This is such an interesting question and one area of design that should take precedence over any other aspect.
I have seen many trends come and go over my 30 year career and I have lamented most!
I have incorporated many of these influences in my designs for years, but in a way of creating interiors which are so personalized with such exceptional quality that they endure and sustain, and look amazing 20 years on!
I see a trend of using furniture, fabric, wallpaper and rugs manufactured by companies whose designs and quality have the least impact on the environment, and are imported from countries with strict environmental policies, and strict labor laws with no exploitation of people.
I have used antique furniture instead of reproductions as they are the ultimate in recycling!
And that goes for quality vintage of the 50’s and 60’s, that to me is true sustainability.
Trends are so transient and wasteful!
They are here for a period and are out of fashion so quickly leaving a home looking dated and in need of refurbishment ever so quickly.
Interiors which have influences and draw inspiration from the client and the architecture can have minor changes made to update them and therefore are the most sustainable.
Our planet has given us many gifts, like timber and stone and other many wonderful products which I think must be used with extreme consideration, so they can be significant 30 or even more years on!
We see many heritage houses and public buildings worldwide which have served us well for centuries, and we must draw inspiration from these and use products than can endure the test of time with wear and tear, as well as visual sustainability.
It can be so easy to buy some contemporary pieces or art to add to a room or house.
Even to re paint or just add wallpaper to update a home.
These are what I believe will become the most adopted sustainable trends.
To value and consider the environment, the cost to the client, and to choose mediums which look and wear with minimal impact for generations!
An example is the client who buys products like Hermes, Dior, Chanel, Givenchy and so on.
These can be often be worn for decades and added to in small ways to keep them current, and if ever needed to be moved on they can easily be resold in quality vintage stores.
This can easily be applied and has been for many decades by designers like myself and many in other states and countries.
Design that excels rarely displeases!
With 30 years of experience, what trend in your opinion, has stood the test of time, and remains permanently popular?
The trend that is no trend!
The interior which personifies luxury, quality, and personal tastes of clients rather than chasing fads which should be avoided at all costs, especially by clients seeking top end luxury and quality that is cost effective in the long run.
Interiors that can evolve over time and become subtle and just sheer wonderful as they are put together slowly and have a rather beautiful and personal style of the homeowner!
Like a collection of quality art or wonderful jewels, these can rarely be bought in one afternoon or week.
Interiors that are well thought out and added to over time are best!
What would be your advice to a new client?
Find an interior designer whose design ethos you admire and respect, and whom you know you can trust and work with.
Then allow yourself to be guided and challenged to go beyond your expectations, and step aside and allow the process to unfold.
Related reading: Having a Pinterest-worthy home is the key to happiness, report
What is the most interesting brief you’ve been given by a client?
Too many to mention!
I have had the privilege to work on so many truly exciting projects over 30 years within Australia and internationally.
I have truly been very fortunate to have had many great clients, who have worked closely with me to create some amazing homes.
The quality and detail of my work doesn’t change depending on the job or client, it is consistent and there are no variables other than taking into account the taste of the client.
This makes for all jobs to be professionally satisfying.
There are so many projects I have worked on which spring to mind that I would love to share and talk about, but as so many of my clients are reserved and quiet achievers who value
their privacy, it is very difficult often to share images or even really discuss the full extent of these briefs.
But let me assure you there are three decades of gratifying and inspirational design projects I am grateful for, and seriously excited to have been involved with.
What advice would you give a young designer?
Never compromise quality, and work overseas if you can to learn what quality and luxury really are!
Quality and luxury are the most over used adjectives in interior design.
Where do you live now, and where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
I live in a classic colonial house in Paddington and have lived here for 20 years now!
I adore everything about my house and garden and plan to remain here for many years to come.
I love so many different countries as each can offer something unique in their architecture, culture and cuisine.
Greece, Italy and France would have to be my pick!
I was born in Europe and these countries hold the most appeal to me.
Thomas & Alexander Interiors
There are always 'fashionable 'trends that appear in the world of design every so many years. We had the French Provincial Look, The Tuscan Look, Minimalism, English Country House and so on. At present I hear the word 'Hamptons', way too often, and never really understand exactly what the term means. What is the Hamptons ? Well its a place on Long Island, one of the burrows of New York City. Its a town, about two hours drive from central Manhattan , where wealthy city dwellers have always gone to escape the heat of the city in summer, and be by the water. In winter the place is deserted, in summer its the complete opposite.
The architectural styles that have evolved over time in the Hamptons are very varied. From grand stone mansions, to hard edged modern brutalism, and beach shacks built on the dunes, the contrast is extreme, but the point is that there is no definitive style you could call Hamptons. Yes, its a lifestyle by the beach, but again this is very open to interpretation by those who chose to live here and have the money to buy a property in this part of the USA. So my point is you really cant put your finger on a formula, that adds up to a certain style that says, this is Hamptons.
If someone asked me to describe what it is, rather than go into describing certain elements that make up a style, I would say think of the movie 'Something's Got To Give', with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. The house although a movie set, captured a feel of the lifestyle wealthy New Yorkers enjoy during the summer. Relaxed, elegant, comfortable, decorative elegant rooms filled with furniture, art and objects. No minimalism here. A place to cocoon, chill and revive. But again, its no formula and is very open to personal interpretation.
So when you get to design a home where the client asks for a feel and look that could be described as Hamptons, there are many, many pathways to choose. The room seen here is from a project that was inspired by the clients love of American interiors, and from the comfortable lifestyle of places like the Hamptons.
Comfortable, timeless, peaceful, and most of all real. I mean real, in that it reflects the people who live here, rather than some generic interior chosen from a catalogue of furniture and items that says, this is Hamptons Style.
This Family Room from a recent project, is stunning. What made it exceptional was the chose of wallpaper. Its bold, it adds colour, it creates atmosphere in the room, and without it, the room would be nice, but way inferior as a finished interior space.
The images seen here are from a recently completed project. The selection of finishes, colour pallet and furniture, were chosen to create bedrooms that were peaceful retreats, a place to unwind, relax and let go. Timeless and dateless. Contemporary leegance at its best.
In colours of silver, grey, taupe and cream, this Master Bedroom is contemporary, yet warm and elegant, as a bedroom should be.
In an earlier post, a blog about costumed designed rugs was posted. There was an image showing weavers working on a large scale rug for a project in Brisbane. Here we see the rug finally laid and in place. As a design firm to see a concept you have designed on paper and to see it finally laid in the interior space, is very rewarding. The results speak for themselves.
Clean lines, functional areas to work, good storage, ease of access and timeless design. This sums up this kitchen designed by T&A from a completed residential project. The finishes are light and contrasting. A contemporary kitchen, that incorporates a walk in butlers pantry, integrated appliances, all that one needs for modern family living today.
On some projects there is a need to design and manufacture custom made rugs. Why ? Where a large scale rug is required for a project that cannot be sourced ready made, or a specific design that needs to be created for that project. There is something very satisfying as a designer watching a design sketch come to life, and seeing the final stunning rug delivered knowing it will last a generation or more.