Earth & Sky & Bursts of Color:
The 2012 Australian Interior Design Awards

This Spring, the Design Institute of Australia announced the Australian Interior Design Awards winners and runners-up for both design (architecture) and decoration (interior design). A selection of the homes are shown below and reflect a shift from recent years, when minimalism ruled. This year there are plenty of high-concept modern homes represented, but there's also a move toward an emphasis on comfort, pronounced bursts of color and personal touches.

As makes sense for homes in this gloriously sunny continent, many of these homes are infused with light and space. The indoors and outdoors are often seamlessly intertwined. And there are a lot of lovely, warm, natural woods and light airy fabrics.

FIRST ROW:
1 Shortlisted for Residential Decoration: Avoca Beach House. Design by Architecture Saville Isaacs. Photography by Kate Bayer — Product K. Like many of the homes in this year's awards, this one is full of earthy organic wood alongside vibrant and electric colors.
2 Winner of Residential Decoration: Huntingtower (an 1890s Melbourne home, built by famous Australian architect John Beswicke). Design by Atticus & Milo. Photography by Derek Swalwell. The website notes, "The interiors of Huntingtower display a skilful, eclectic overlay of art, artefacts, furnishings and fabrics to the Victorian heritage-listed shell. The interior has a strong personality that reflects the owners' life story. "
3 Another room in the Huntingtower home shown above in Image 2. Love the old fireplace and eclectic warmth.
4 Shortlisted for Residential Decoration: Shakin' Stevens House (Victoria). Matt Gibson Architecture + Design. Photography by Shannon McGrath. Love the bright green and light wood. And the way the light goes through that pendant light above the dining table.
5 Commendation in Residential Decoration: Astor Apartment (New South Wales). Design by Greg Natale Design and Photography by Anson Smart. Love this very original green cabinet color against the original ceilings and traditional tiled floor.

SECOND ROW
6 Shortlisted for Residential Design: South Yarra (suburb in Melbourne) home designed by Design Practice. Photography by Shannon McGrath. What started out as a modest but beautiful terrace home was transformed by Nixon Tulloch Fortey Architecture into a very modern and very open home. I love the way the entire back wall functions as a massive glass door. The neutral sleek backdrop is splashed with bright reds and yellows.
7 Winner Residential Design: Potts Point (in New South Wales) home designed by Anthony Gill Architects. Photography by Peter Bennetts. The judges call this renovation and extension "an eloquent contemporary design, with a nod to "sculptural carving of space, skilled location of the stair and the restrained and sophisticated use of colour and materials." They mention how the narrow home is suffused with light.

For more photos and information, visit the website of the Australian Interior Design Awards.

(Images: As credited above.)