Known for their bright, white, 'modern coastal' aesthetic, HAAUS Design was founded by friends Alliera and Rebecca. Having built, renovated, designed and transformed multiple homes and properties, we spoke to Alliera and Rebecca to find out more about their most recent project in Shell Cove, NSW, HAAUS #3.
Let's start at the beginning, how did HAAUS come to be?
We’ve been friends since way back when our children started big school together. Since then, we've been through ups and downs, met and become engaged to our fiancé’s (coincidentally, both principals of primary schools), had more babies and today, we are busy mum’s with eight little people and two giant dogs between us!
We have both juggled incredibly hectic careers while renovating and building houses in between. We originally started sharing our designs with family and friends and found that they loved what we were doing! From there, we created HAAUS with a simple idea to encompass our lifelong love for all things beautiful and share it with the world.
Fast forward to today and we have built, renovated, designed and transformed multiple homes and properties. We love sharing our progress and inspiring people to do the same. The creation of HAAUS. has allowed us to do what we love; creating timeless aesthetics and beautiful spaces every day.
How would you describe your process and design style?
When describing our design style, we can’t go past modern coastal. We like to feel we’re on holidays 24/7, so our homes reflect this. When renovating and building houses, we always try to blend a mix of white, timber and patterned elements together to create a relaxed yet luxurious look.
We have renovated a number of properties over the past few years and for us, the key to a successful build or renovation starts with the planning. When designing and decorating any space, it is super important to have a clear vision of the type of style and colour palette you want to use. It is really easy to look at images on Pinterest and Instagram and want to include a million-and-one different items in your own home, however, it is important to understand different interior styles.
To create a cohesive look and feel throughout a home and to ensure all elements work together, we always create vision boards. This makes it super easy for us to choose what we want to use in each space and what we need to eliminate. Years ago, we didn’t realise the importance of vision boards however these days, we wouldn’t start a renovation or build without creating one.
We were thrilled to be part of your latest project HAAUS #3 where our Isabel Desk was used to create a study nook. For those interested in creating a similar space, where do you advise they start?
As a result of the past couple of years' pandemic compelling people to spend more time at home, we have noticed a trend towards creating an ‘office like’ haven. Many of us don’t have the luxury of having a spare room to create a full blown office space, so a study nook can be the perfect alternative.
When designing spaces, we always advise our followers to first think about how they would like to feel in a space. If you have a good understanding of this before making specific product selections, you’ll always be able to make decisions to achieve your ultimate outcome.
In HAAUS #3, we wanted our study nook to be an inviting space that created a sense of calm. It was important for us to source a slimline, minimalistic desk that didn’t look too bulky so we could transform what once was a low-traffic area or ‘dead zone’ into a dedicated study space. When the Totem Road Isabel Desk popped up in our Instagram feed (when we were scrollingone day) we knew immediately that it was the perfect desk for us! The round legs blend perfectly with the soft curves throughout the rest of the home and the large, sectioned drawer means it is super easy to keep our desktop clutter-free and ready for work-mode.
What are some of the materials you tend to always include in your projects?
Our projects always tend to be bright and white however, it is really important for us that we don’t make them feel ‘clinical’. To offset all the white we use in our homes, we use a range of organic textures and use styling pieces in earthy tones to promote rest and tranquillity. For us, incorporating a range of solid oak pieces into a home is a ‘must’. Not only because they have a timeless elegance, but because they totally transform a space!
While the initial upfront cost may seem more expensive when purchasing solid oak as opposed to purchasing veneer, there is absolutely no replacement for the type of finish and longevity that you can get from solid oak. We used Totem Road for the first time in HAAUS #3 and we will continue to use it over and over in our future projects due to it’s amazing quality, great finish and versatility.
You’ve got three future projects for 2023 already. As professional designers and renovators, how do you decide how much to take on for the year?
We have had so many wonderful opportunities since beginning our journey, but have found much of our success is in knowing when we have enough on our plates. Having eight kids between us and two incredibly supportive partners, our family always comes first and so does our friendship. We love what we do and always want to feel excited and passionate about every project we take on.
What are your top 3 tips when renovating?
Plan, Plan, Plan: For us, the key to a successful build or renovation starts with the planning. We have learnt over the years about the importance of spending money on ensuring plans are drawn correctly. It is vital to engage a reputable architect, building designer or draftsman. If this is overlooked, it can lead to a stressful build with money being spent on fixing up unnecessary mistakes.
Expect the Unexpected: Things are going to go wrong! That is just part and parcel of the renovation/building cycle. Even with the most experienced of renovators, not everything will go to plan. When this happens, take a deep breathe, regain focus and remember that pretty much everything can be ‘fixed’. We always say to add an extra 2 months as a minimum onto your timeline so you can account for any issues that may (probably will) arise.
Spend money on the things that count! There are things that you can most definitely save money on however, we advise that you spend money where it counts: high ceilings, flooring, bathroom/kitchen fixtures and fittings, appliances, lighting/electrical, solid oak over veneer. We have heard many people say ‘oh we will just change that later’ however, this can actually cost you more money in the end. We always suggest investing money in the things that matter and get it done properly the first time around.