You could be forgiven for assuming Darren Palmer’s Bondi home must look like it came straight from the pages of a glossy magazine.
Sure, the space is styled with a sense of sophistication, he is after all one of Australia’s most celebrated interior designers. Yet, Palmer is somewhat of a realist.
After all, it’s difficult to escape reality when you share the space with an eight-year-old son, a husband and four dogs.
“My home is like everyone else’s that doesn’t live in a photoshoot or gallery 24/7,’’ he tells My Weekly Preview.
“It’s homely, comfortable and not fussy.
“It’s a house for kids and pets and life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I am constantly thinking about what to do to update my house as I always live in pre-renovated houses, the fixer uppers, and then usually renovate and sell them when they’re all shiny and new.
“This house though might break that trend. I love it, it has a lot of potential and will take a bit of time and patience to improve, most likely happening in stages as life permits.”
So, does The Block judge have any tips for amateur stylists who hope to balance home design and organisation with young ones?
“No, I think anyone who is spending time with their children and making good memories and providing for them is doing plenty,’’ he says.
“The perfect house is a photoshoot or an illusion so the best thing you can do is let go of the idea of perfection when it comes to a family home and just focus on what the family needs from the home to live a happy and healthy life within it.
“There will be plenty of time to have a perfect house when your kids leave home so for now, save your energy for good memories and make your house fit your needs through considering storage, materials used that you can easily clean, wash or replace and adding amenity to make the house as useable as possible for every member of the household, including pets.”
From humble roots as a graphic designer, Palmer’s road to success has been more hard work than one paved with glamour.
“It was always there ticking away inside of me,’’ he says of his passion for interior design.
“I wanted to build houses but ended up doing graphic design and advertising for a few years until I realised I had taken a side step off my path.
“At 27 I did my first apartment, my own renovation, and had it published in Belle.
“I worked with an amazing mentor, I built a body of work, I competed on a show by The Block’s executive producers called HomeMADE in 2009.
“I’ve been able to parlay one opportunity into the next and it hasn’t ever been easy, it’s taken a huge amount of work and dedication, but it’s extremely rewarding.”
Today he has a reputation as a fair judge on The Block, which is currently attracting around one million viewers each episode.
He is also an ambassador for the GSK Hay Fever Help education campaign and has recently launched a range of homewares exclusive to Myer: “This is a major event in my career as it’s a brand I developed. I have loved working on each piece and I’m currently curating the next season.”
Darren’s tips for decorating your home this spring:
- Open up your doors and windows to let the air and light through. That means sometimes changing out the heavier block out drapery for sheer curtains.
- De-clutter: there’s nothing like a spring clean but it’s best to do that after you cull your wardrobe, donate what you don’t need or haven’t worn and clean out all the cupboards you’ve been hoarding things in all year.
- Freshen up with living elements like plants or flowers. A big urn with palm leaves makes a huge statement, or for something more sedate get a fern, a succulent, an orchid or a bunch of flowers.
- Florals are big and so is colour. Embrace both with equal vigour. Décor and soft furnishings can be a brilliant way to do that.
For more from Darren Palmer, visit http://darrenpalmer.com/