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DESIGN STYLES: Modern & Mid-Century Modern

"Modern" building design that we see today stems from the Modernism movement from the turn of the 20th century and has developed into simple yet well thought out facades and floor plans that embrace the materials used rather than concealing them. Here we discuss the 3 fundamental features of this particular style.

Modern Style Exterior - image from Houzz


Function over form is the main philosophy behind modern building design, achieved through minimalism. The floor plan is uncomplicated and allows for open living with the added benefit of increased cross ventilation and lighting. This doesn’t mean that the home should lack interest or be uninspiring, it just takes on a different approach; rather than physical walls, rooms may be defined by other transitional details like differentiating floor height, or feature walls, or a change in lighting.

Furnishings and decor within the home should be kept to a minimum to avoid cluttered spaces and to allow the featured elements to be naturally within the spotlight.


The use of building materials a modern style home in both the interior and exterior are much more experimental rather than conventional brick and timber. Stone, concrete, steel and floor to ceiling glass walls are just a few prime examples. Rather than concealing these elements, they can be used as structural or aesthetic features to create both street appeal and an environment that is warm and inviting.


Visually, the facade may be intentionally asymmetric with the use of many clean, sharp lines. The roof will have a minimal slope and will often be entirely hidden to the eye, or alternatively the roof may be a simple skillion or a butterfly scallion rather than a typical gable or hip.

The colour scheme is generally restrained, with neutral tones that compliment the environment and the natural hues of the materials used (for example stone or timber.) Finally there will always be a large emphasis on indoor-outdoor flow, being perfect for the warmer summer climate in the Port Stephens & Newcastle region.


"Palm Springs / Mid-Century Modern" - image from Architectural Digest

One increasingly popular style that we’re seeing much more of in Australia is “Palm Springs”, or “Mid-century Modern” This style builds upon the features of Modern design but has a larger emphasis on the interior elements.

Elaborate fireplaces, in-ground swimming pools next to the home, bathroom skylights and exposed beams are all luxurious features of this particular style. A larger range of colours and textures are used within the home with contrasting materials including smooth glass or marble and rough stone. Walls may be detailed with wallpaper or tiles with bold colours and metallic accents will be strategically placed throughout the room. Softer touches are incorporated by use of upholstered fabrics, linens and rugs.

Externally, breeze-blocks are often a feature used to create privacy while still allowing for ventilation and light and an arid approach on landscape is achieved by the use of stones, rocks and non-thirsty vegetation that would typically thrive in the desert. Feature tiles may also be used externally, particularly around pool areas and landscaping.

Jaw-dropping Palm Springs style entry - image from Art Fix Daily

No matter the style, YHD has got you covered. Contact us today for a free design consult!


YHD Building Designer


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