Darren Palmer delivers a designer look for new-home buyers

Darren Palmer delivers a designer look for new-home buyers

One of the biggest stumbling blocks when building a home is selecting the fittings and finishes to create a harmonious style throughout.

And with homes typically the largest investments people make, it’s easy to see why homebuyers can be worried about making the wrong choices.

G.J. Gardner Homes has teamed up with interior designer Darren Palmer to help make this stage of the building process simpler by creating six interior and exterior packages designed and styled by The Block judge himself.

The packages are also aimed at making designer style more accessible and affordable for new-home buyers.

“The Tailored — Inspired Homes Collections takes out that fear factor people have, because I’ve done the work for them,” Palmer said.

“So, every design element in the house, from flooring to wall colour and kitchen and bathroom design, complements each other and works together as a whole.”

Here, he talks us through the essence of each look.

Hotel Luxe

With a neutral palette and elements of contrast, this resort-style look has a subtle but glamorous effect.

Think dark carpets and panelling, limestone-look floors and off-white walls enhanced by champagne-coloured metallic accents.

“This is a look I love to live with and is inspired by some of the beautiful resorts around the world I have visited,” Palmer said.

He added this style was light and contemporary with a sense of elegance.

“It is a good demonstration of how you can use a neutral palette that everyone seems comfortable with but really amp up the luxe factor through features and detailing.”


Influenced by the traditional Australian beach shack, this style has a youthful and energetic approach to styling.

“It has a calming monochromatic palette that features variations of greys and white, with gentle pops of oak, rattan and nature-inspired greens to create a simple and fresh scheme,” Palmer said.

One of his favourite features is the VJ panelling used on some of the walls and on the dining-room ceiling that generates a soft and relaxed beachy feel.

Contemporary Australian

This interiors scheme is built around the colours and textures of the Australian landscape.

“The whole kitchen is a eucalypt colour, which is a bold choice and one a lot of people wouldn’t make on their own,” Palmer said.

“But when you see how it ties in with the walnut handles and walnut-laminate benchtops and panelling, you’ll see it’s undeniably beautiful and just works.”

An oak-panelled wall in the main bedroom is a strong design statement, while a laser-cut panel between the ensuite and bedroom allows light to filter through from one space to the next.

“You can afford to turn up the dial in terms of an adventurous approach to interiors in your bedroom. It should be dressed with the same finesse as you would a living space.”


Palmer has reimagined the seaside charm of a traditional home in the Hamptons, in Long Island, New York, with a classic and conservative approach that relates to Australian surroundings.

“It’s a style that complements the Australian love for indoor/outdoor living,” Palmer said.

White walls, benchtops and subway-style wall tiles are juxtaposed against grey timber floors and charcoal-grey carpets and cabinetry doors for a sophisticated, yet comfortable feel.

“We have paired dark charcoal and white in the kitchen to reflect the colour scheme featured on the exterior, tying everything together harmoniously.”


This theme takes its cues from a decorating style that fuses Scandinavian and Japanese design and embraces the wabi-sabi aesthetic, which celebrates the beauty of raw materials.

It features rich oaks, layered with charcoal and black contrasts, and has relief points of white.

“The kitchen island bench has been designed almost like a teppanyaki table with a stone benchtop that has a rice-paper look,” Palmer said.

Urban Modern

This scheme is as edgy as it comes. Palmer said it was influenced by the conversion of industrial environments into residential spaces.

Expect cement-look floor tiles and benchtops, matt-black tapware, commercial-style black-framed windows, and black oak floor-to-ceiling joinery in the kitchen.

“It may look very grey but is a very warm, liveable and friendly everyday home environment,” Palmer said.

Handy tips

If you’re not sure what look is best for you, here is Palmer’s advice for choosing a design style:

• Work out what gets your heart racing with colours, textures and patterns, then keep some reference materials (images, swatches, samples) handy as a guide.

• Consider the practical aspects — who’ll be living in the house and what look and feel you want. Always think about the end goal.

• Look at your home’s surrounding environment. This can influence your style choice, too.

• Remember, a home is a place shared with others, so think about how you’d like your guests to feel when they visit.


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