Beige Alarm!

The Trend to Beige Interior Design

Federation Houses should not be too beige!

1. Bold new colours coming to a house near you

Date September 3, 2011**, by** Jenny Brown
Conservative house colours are slowly being overtaken by bolder hues, watch out for mossy greens, cherry and purples.

Noveau grey-and-white trim is a new classic. Picture: Luis Enrique Ascui.
Noveau grey-and-white trim is a new classic. Picture: Luis Enrique Ascui.

Pictures: Luis Enrique Ascui.

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The big paint job, refreshing the whole house exterior, is a big renovation exercise that operates on an average eight to 12-year cycle, for the good reason that if you’re having it done professionally, it costs from $10,000 for a single-storey weatherboard to $40,000 for a large two-storey house. If doing it yourself, the labour costs time – lots of it.

  • For the past decade, the popular colours for house exteriors have been the earthy, sandy, pale grey and stone hues that have prevailed as generic neutrals in our housing stock.

According to Eva Gluchowski of the long-established painting firm Valdemar’s Painters, these tones remain popular.

  • ”Most people are still being quite conservative,” she says.
  • But change is seeping into the suburban colour wheel, in the first instance manifesting as amended neutrals – earth colours that aren’t too pink or blue – and more definitive greys.
Federation Houses use colours that show off their fine wooden furniture and detailing
external image Purrumbete%2520Bedroom.jpg external image Purrumbete%2520Dining%2520room.jpg
Purrumbete Homestead, Camperdown VIC, 3260
Purrumbete Homestead, Camperdown VIC, 3260
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Brighton interior designer Fiona Austin of Austin Design Associates says the nouveau greys are coming through as strong charcoals that,

31 Canterbury Road, CAMBERWELL
31 Canterbury Road, CAMBERWELL

teamed with white trim, ”becomes a classic”.

  • On contemporary houses, she says, ”charcoal shows off the architectural forms and shapes”.
  • On heritage houses – the sphere in which colour consultant with Heritage Paints Balwyn, Lisa Ohlsen, advises – white with black trim or white with white trim remain the classics.
  • They look wonderful where iron lace is a feature. But, she cautions, white can be high maintenance in polluting cities.
  • What is happening on the more daring edges of the tonal field is more interesting because it is both a logical segue from the prevailing palette – darker greys on the weatherboards and darker chocolates on the trims – and the sudden refreshment of spectral opposites.
  • One of the most successful new schemes she has seen is a house with boards of ”light purply-grey – like ice water – with dark purple [verandah] posts and maroon trim around stained wooden window frames. Not bland.”
    Martin Hamilton-Smith's beautifully restored Mitcham mansion
    Martin Hamilton-Smith’s beautifully restored Mitcham mansion
  • And her prediction for grey? In the short term at least, ”it’s here to stay”

    The coming colours

    • Charcoal greys
    • Mossy and dark olive greens
    • Cherry and maroons
    • Ochre
    • Purples, from soft to strong

2.FEDERATION (Queen Anne) 1900 – 1910


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Federation Typical Design Features:

  • Roofs are broken up by false gables and capped with decorative teracotta ridges and ornamentation.
  • Teracotta tiles and sometimes corrugated iron.
  • Red or dark brown bricks and often a mixture of both.
  • Exposed rafters are visible under roof.
  • Brickwork often finished with ‘tuck pointing’ – ridges of white mortar along brickwork.
  • Turned timber verandah columns are supplemented by elaborate decoration often influenced by Art Nouveau styles.
  • Low picket fences usually in white or cream.
  • Bay windows with shingles above. Leadlight window panes or coloured glass are featured over main windows.
Colour Pallete
  • Details: Grey Green, Sky, Mid Brunswick Green, Dark Crimson
  • Main Colours: Rich Red, Pearl Lustre, Manilla, Mistletoe, Dark Brown

Edwardian Houses toned down the colour palette

9 Kintore Street, Camberwell
9 Kintore Street, Camberwell
9 Kintore Street, Camberwell
9 Kintore Street, Camberwell
9 Kintore Street, Camberwell
9 Kintore Street, Camberwell
608 Riversdale Road CAMBERWELL
608 Riversdale Road CAMBERWELL

3. EDWARDIAN 1900-1920

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Edwardian Typical Design Features:

  • Hipped roofs with wide eaves, usually featuring a prominent front gable end.
  • Teracotta tiles and sometimes painted corrugated iron.
  • Roughcast rendered shingles, pebbledash or half timbered features usually situated over a bay window.
  • Either red brickwork or weatherboard square edged or bullnosed.
  • Sometimes weatherboard replicates blocks of stonework.
  • Decorative bands of render, usually in cream, often included.
  • Usually a return L-shape. Homes frequently had one room projecting forward with return verandah attached to this.
  • Valances with timber decorative posts and brackets. Fretwork was used for finer details.
  • Cyclone fences made of woven wire with posts of timber or steel and tubular steel gates.
  • Grouped together in pairs or threes.
  • Leadlight windows featured near doors.
  • Sunshades supported by timber brackets over windows common on the north and west sides of the home.
Colour Pallete
  • Details: Grey Green, Sky, Mid Brunswick Green, Dark Crimson
  • Main Colours: Rich Red, Pearl Lustre, Manilla, Mistletoe
Arts and Crafts Style: Colours highlight wood furnishings and detail
Queen Anne style with details in dark colours
31 Canterbury Road, CAMBERWELL
31 Canterbury Road, CAMBERWELL
31 Canterbury Road, CAMBERWELL
31 Canterbury Road, CAMBERWELL

4. Beige, Be Gone

Beige: Beige works but is waning in pizaz: 18 Fresh Interior Design Trends to Watch

By David Daniel in Best Of
Beige is one of those colour palettes which has been a favourite for years. It is a safe color, it’s timeless and it works well as a base colour for exciting plashes of colour accents.

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  • Beige doesn’t have the edge it once has and its popularity has been waning over the past few years.
  • I as well as countless other designers share the sentiment that the popularity of beige will continue in its demise.
  • It’s one of those which will stay around in some form of strength but it’s lost its lustre.
  • This year we will see a continuation of the unwinding of a strong but sterile trend.[1]
Queen Anne style contrasting soft colours with rich accents and vivid contrasts with fine wooden furtniture
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21 Mortimer Avenue Mount Stuart Tas
21 Mortimer Avenue Mount Stuart Tas
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This South Australian home uses beige with rich contrasting colours
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18 Dutton Terrace Medindie SA 5081
18 Dutton Terrace Medindie SA 5081
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5. Autumn threatens shades of edgy beige – Neutrals

Diana Simmonds May 09, 2014
Once upon a time, home was a place of comfort and retreat, warmth and relaxation.

  • On the weekend I read that the thing for autumn fashion is ”neutrals”. It ruined my day and I’m still
    feeling a bit beige, three days later.
  • Let’s face it, the only people who can get away with neutrals are Bob Downe and Cate Blanchett – and that’s a close-run thing.
  • Neutrals are so depressingly … neutral. Like Switzerland but without the excitement of fondue and muesli.
  • To anyone but a fashion maven, neutrals are a miasma of fawn, tan, buff, sand, oatmeal, khaki, biscuit, cafe au lait, camel and ecru.
  • And one should never forget taupe, which isn’t French for clag brown but derives from the name of the European Mole. Who knew?

Neutrals are neither one thing nor the other, although a fashion blogger opines that they come in three categories – basic neutrals, metallic neutrals and patterned neutrals. This merely opens up whole new ranges of drabness.

  • Nevertheless, it’s curious that these dreary excuses for colour should be making a comeback when they’ve been dominant in home decor for a decade. What it says about the way we live is unnerving.
  • The absence of colour and comfort in their swishy apartments and gutted, pale grey terraces masks the absence of colour and warmth in life as a whole.
  • It’s another aspect of the indoor-outdoor living spaces that ”flow into” one another – if you can’t see the edges, maybe you don’t feel the discomfort.
  • And the off-white walls, stone benchtops, dough-coloured upholstery and khaki doodads cause a kind of life-snow blindness.
  • After a bit you can’t see or care about the wood or the trees.[3]
Victorian golden tones at 12 The Avenue, Medindie, SA 5081
Victorian golden tones at 12 The Avenue, Medindie, SA 5081

Wee Nestie, 69 Broadway Camberwell Vic

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6. How to Go Gray When Your Whole House Is Beige

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by Carla Aston

Gray is so hot right now. Everyone wants it in their interiors.

7 Myrtles Court, Medindie
7 Myrtles Court, Medindie
  • It’s trendy, it’s stylish, it says 2013.
  • But how do you go gray after being beige for all these years?
  • How do you take your warm colored house that has beige or gold in it and introduce the cooler shades of gray?
  • The minute you put a cool gray next to a warm beige, you can tell: That ain’t gonna work.”

If you WANT to go gray, if you want a cooler palette, if you want a change in your look… How do you do it without the clash?
Chances are you have warm neutrals everywhere.

  • Really, it’s quite remarkable. Going darker makes the Antique White look even lighter and more white.
  • Why? Because color is very relative. It is highly influenced by it’s surroundings. And a cool, dark color next to that yellowish tone of Antique White provides such a nice contrast that it looks amazing. Rich. Dramatic. Cool… And no longer yellow 😉
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ARTICLE + GALLERY: How to Go Gray When Your Entire House Is Beige – Pt. 2

But suppose you don’t want to go dark. Suppose you want to go gray, but you like light and airy. You’re not into the drama that a high contrast can bring. Try this:

  • Use a beige and gray color scheme by modifying your palette with fabrics that combine the two.
    18 Dutton Terrace Medindie SA
    18 Dutton Terrace Medindie SA
  • If you have neutral upholstery, or cream or ivory or beige, you can make gray your accent color. There are lots of new
    ARTICLE + GALLERY: How to Go Gray When Your Entire House Is Beige - Pt. 2
    ARTICLE + GALLERY: How to Go Gray When Your Entire House Is Beige – Pt. 2

    fabrics out there that combine beige and gray to make for a fresh look and a cooler palette. You’ll be surprised how a warm, neutral room can cool down by purposely applying gray (as an accent color) with beige.

  • So feel free to keep that beige sofa or beige floor or beige paint color and simply change out a few things to gray.

7. Beige Place:

Description of a county/suburb/jneighborhood/restaurant, etc. that has no personality.Q. “Where would you like to go tonight for dinner?”
A. “Let’s get out of “the county”. I want to go somewhere that is not beige.”

Q. What colour are you going to paint your house?
A. The only colour the Homes Association will approve – Johnson County beige.

  • Suburban camouflage

Bro 1: I’m going to Connecticut and don’t want to stand out, what should I wear?

Bro 2: Go with beige, you’ll blend right in.
by The Don Babyface Killah April 12, 2014

8. Beige and White in Adelaide:

Gallery of 4 Victoria Avenue Unley Park SA 5061

4 Victoria Avenue, Unley Park, SA 5061
4 Victoria Avenue, Unley Park, SA 5061
4 Victoria Avenue, Unley Park, SA 5061
4 Victoria Avenue, Unley Park, SA 5061

“There’s speculation that 4 Victoria Avenue, Unley Park was currently under contract at $5 million plus. The 1920s house on 4622 square metres last sold at $2.95 million in 2004.”

More beige and white: 7 Myrtles Court, Medindie, SA 5081
More beige and white: 7 Myrtles Court, Medindie, SA 5081

Gallery of 7 Myrtles Court Medindie SA 5081
“The Myrtles, the historic Medindie, Adelaide mansion has been sold for $5 million to a Chinese buyer with local connections. The Myrtles sold for $5.2 million in April 2006, but the most recent sale was in July 2007 at $3.9 million.
The renovated 1890-built home on 2,200 square metres has six bedrooms in the main home and a separate self-contained apartment.”

“Last year’s highest residential sale price in Adelaide was 11 Robe Terrace, Medindie, a single storey 1900 home on almost 4000 square metres which fetched $4,917,000 in January 2013.
JONATHAN CHANCELLOR – | 4 JUNE 2014PropertyObserver 

See also:
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