The word 'Art' is most commonly associated with pieces of work in a gallery or museum, whether it’s a painting from the Renaissance or a modern sculpture. However, there is so much more to art than what you see displayed in galleries.

The truth is, without being aware of it, we are surrounded by art and use it on a continual basis. Most people don’t realize how much of a role art plays in our lives and just how much we rely on art in all of its forms in our everyday lives.

The Joy of Art

You may be wondering why all of these things are so important to our daily lives and that you could probably survive just fine with essential items that were non-artistic. That is just the reason why art is so valuable! While art may not be vital to fulfill our basic needs, it does make life joyful. When you look at a painting or poster you’ve chosen to hang on your living room wall, you feel happy. The sculpture or figurines on the kitchen windowsill create a sense of joy. These varieties of art forms that we are surrounded by all come together to create the atmosphere that we want to live in.

Art and Music

The importance of art in our daily lives is very similar to that of music. Just like art, music can make life extremely joyful and can have a huge effect on our mood. In the workplace in particular, music is something that can help people set the mood for what they are about to do. If you have something hard or difficult to work on or are feeling tired, an energetic song will likely wake you up and add some enthusiasm to the situation. Similarly, when stress is high, many people find that relaxing to calming music is something that eases the mind.

Inspirational Art

Inspirational art, such as posters are often found in work spaces to encourage employees to continue being productive. There is now an increasing amount of companies using art in their offices, as well as playing background music, as it is proven to actually work in making end results far better quality. There may be a piece of art that you own that you personally find motivational. Perhaps a print with a positive affirmation or quote beautifully scrolled on it or a painting of a picturesque scene of where you aim to travel to one day.

SOME REASONS WHY ORIGINAL ART IN THE HOME IS AS IMPORTANT AS A BED

1. Creates Mood
2. Adds Personal Character to the Home
3. Makes Memories
4. Provides a Colour Palette
5. Makes a Room Feel Finished
6. Inspires and Fosters Creativity
7. Conversation Starter
8. Supports Artists
9. It is an Investment
10. Creates a Livable Environment
11. Keeps the Brain Active
12. Relaxation
13. Curating Your Own Gallery is Fun!

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A Home High Above the River

Architect Alexandra Buchanan clearly remembers the ‘light bulb’ moment when she decided to become an architect.

Growing up in Devon (UK), Alexandra had never considered architecture as a career choice. It was Alexandra’s ‘A’ Levels art teacher who made the connection between her subject choices of science and 3D art and set Alexandra on the right path. “From then it just made absolute sense,” Alexandra explains.

Now with a successful practice in Brisbane, Alexandra is fast establishing a name for herself in the industry. She puts much of this success down to her focus on interpreting a client’s own unique style and aspiration. “The spaces we create should be an expression of how our clients live and use a space, not how we think they should live,” she says.

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North Warrandyte House

Alexandra’s projects reveal a clever alliance of materials, texture and light, and this is obvious in the North Warrandyte House featured. Her design savvy clients (both graphic designers) wanted their bush retreat on the outskirts of Melbourne to reflect their own design aesthetic making the most of the natural, rugged landscape.

The long, narrow, steeply sloping site and bushfire overlay...


A Home High Above the River

Architect Alexandra Buchanan clearly remembers the ‘light bulb’ moment when she decided to become an architect.

Growing up in Devon (UK), Alexandra had never considered architecture as a career choice. It was Alexandra’s ‘A’ Levels art teacher who made the connection between her subject choices of science and 3D art and set Alexandra on the right path. “From then it just made absolute sense,” Alexandra explains.

Now with a successful practice in Brisbane, Alexandra is fast establishing a name for herself in the industry. She puts much of this success down to her focus on interpreting a client’s own unique style and aspiration. “The spaces we create should be an expression of how our clients live and use a space, not how we think they should live,” she says.

aba_warrandyte_005-jpg

North Warrandyte House

Alexandra’s projects reveal a clever alliance of materials, texture and light, and this is obvious in the North Warrandyte House featured. Her design savvy clients (both graphic designers) wanted their bush retreat on the outskirts of Melbourne to reflect their own design aesthetic making the most of the natural, rugged landscape.

The long, narrow, steeply sloping site and bushfire overlay offered plenty of challenges for the design team. Undeterred, Alexandra explains that “the trick was in using these constraints to the benefit of the design outcome and maintaining a positive process throughout.”

The result is a beautiful, light-filled home that snuggles into the side of the hill yet feels like you are sitting high amongst the trees. It offers spectacular views across the bushland while the ‘twin wing’ design ensures privacy from neighbours and the river below. The use of stone, timber, masonry and glass were inspired by the local environment and showcase Alexandra’s clever use of materials and textures.

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The Design Details

The clients were keen to ensure that the home would be energy efficient and sustainably built. For Alexandra, it was important that the ‘passive design’ choices were considered from inception rather than adhoc ‘bolt-on’ options added at the end.

One of the most exciting features is a full height dry stone wall in the centre of the house which forms a virtual passive chimney. Flanked by glass walls, it attracts heat in the cooler months with the wall acting as a heat sink, radiating heat in the evening which has been stored during the day.

The house also makes good use of the site orientation. A stunning, semi-submerged stone wall on the west acts to control heat gain and loss, while air flow has been maximised to help with summer cooling.

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There’s a gentle warmth throughout the house. From the soft, even natural light spilling across floors to the grounding stone and timber finishes. The strong connection between inside and outside was a key requirement for the couple. As such, Alexandra made sure that there was flexibility by integrating a series of internal and external multi-functional entertaining spaces throughout the house. However, it’s the large picture windows opening up views of the magnificent bushland that are the true triumph. “The clients love it and really use all the spaces. They especially love the way the house responds to the changing ages and needs of the family.”

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The home was finished in 2015 and the design team recently visited for a ‘cuppa’ to see how their clients had settled in. “It’s lovely for us to see the space evolve and take on a life of its own as the whole family craft their own corners out of it,” Alexandra enthuses. “It is the most satisfying part of the whole design journey, to see a family take ownership of a space designed specifically for them and thoroughly love and embrace all that it offers!”


We would like to thank Alexandra Buchanan of ABA Studio inviting us to step inside this beautiful home. We would also like to thank our guest writer Kate Shaw for her work on this article.


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How to Arrange Art

  • "People have a tendency to hang art too high," says Linda Crisolo, Art.com director of merchandising. "The center of the image should be at eye level." In living rooms, people are usually sitting, so artwork should be lower. A good way to ensure you're placing artwork at the right height is to hang it one hand width above the sofa.
  • A common problem when hanging artwork above a sofa or sideboard is that it's not in scale. Having pieces that are too small or too large will make the whole arrangement look strange. "Make sure artwork is at least two-thirds the size of the sofa or sideboard," Crisolo says. "For example, a 9-foot-long sofa should have a 6-foot-wide expanse of art above it."
  • In the bedroom, choose personal art, such as family photographs or your own photography. If you're arranging the pieces in groupings, Crisolo recommends sticking with one color theme, either all black-and-white or all color photographs.
  • "Above a mantel or fireplace is the perfect place to layer pieces," Crisolo says. "A house looks like a home when you can see layers of artwork and accessories."
  • In the kitchen, hang art in a place where it won't get damaged by water or heat. Consider placing art above an office space, near the dining table, or above open counter space. Crisolo also recommends avoiding kitchen art in the kitchen. "I tend to shy away from pictures of asparagus in the kitchen," she says. "Vintage art with traditional frames works in a traditional kitchen. In a modern kitchen, try bright colors with stainless-steel frames."
  • A symmetrical arrangement creates a striking and simple focal point. All-white frames and mats unify this grouping. "I like to use the same frames to create homogeny," says Crisolo.
  • When deciding where to hang images in your home, consider the wall space available and the arrangement of the room. "Use small pieces between windows and doors," Crisolo says. "If small items are in a space too large, the pieces look lost. With larger pieces, allow room for people to step back and admire the work."
  • Artwork collaborates with other accessories and decor to create a visual story. Make sure images, moldings, and shelves all work together. "Hang artwork in front of a bookcase, on the face of the shelf," Crisolo says. "The shelves and ledges become part of a decorating story."
  • Make sure your arrangement matches your decorating style. "Symmetrical arrangements are more traditional or formal. Asymmetrical is modern," Crisolo says. "Also look at the image and style of the frame. For cottage-style rooms, stick with vintage images or botanicals. In modern rooms, choose large and abstract pieces."