Joe Snell: Your Best Home

What was the inspiration behind writing this book?
The inspiration really came from being asked to fix homes. I would be invited into homes to give my opinion and many people had spent a lot of their hard earned money on styling and accessories, yet the home was still not feeling good. Time and time again it was clear to me that the bones of the home were not right. I decided to sit down and work out a way to help people get the basics of their home right. I looked at how I designed a home and realised it was actually quite a simple process and the 5 steps by 5 rooms concept was born. The real excitement came when I realised that if you got these 5 design steps right then your styling would be so much easier to choose and be so much better in your home because it was built on strong foundations.

What was the process like – from conception to end product?
Writing this book has been one of the most challenging things I have done. Writing the synopsis was quick but everything else took a long time, and it had to fit around work and family. A lot of thanks goes to my wife Laura and the team at Snell Architects for their support. Some weekends I would stay at a hotel to concentrate – it is not always easy to write a book with three young boys running around. On the technical side, Murdoch Books and their team were a huge help in guiding me to write my first book – they made the process possible.

Your book is divided into a 5-step space with 5-design step program. How did you come up with this idea? How did you decide what 5 spaces and steps you were going to use?
The idea of the 5 steps by 5 rooms came from me looking at my own design process when I design a home for my clients. Space, light, air, sound, and view are the steps that I take in the design process before I even consider style, colour and cushions. Once you get these design foundations (the bones) right then you will be so much better informed to create the style you want in your home, and it will have a much better chance of working. In regard to the spaces, I looked at all the homes I have designed, and I realised that all of them had 5 rooms in common – entry, living, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. I thought if everyone could get these rooms right with the 5 design steps then it would make their lives better. Of course, you can apply the same design steps to a study for example, but getting these 5 rooms right came first, as these are the spaces you spend most of your time.

What are your Top 5 tips to jazz up any space in your home?
I can’t say it strongly enough – there is no point jazzing anything up in your home unless you get the design foundations right. If you don’t get these foundations right you are just papering over the cracks. One you get the 5 design steps right, then go wild and jazz your place up as much as you want with style, colour and cushions. Go for that Hamptons breakfast setting that you have always wanted, but make sure you get morning sun glinting off your cornflakes!

What are the Top 5 things you can’t live without in your home, design-wise?
1. Great space to make life flow
2. Amazing light, both natural and artificial, to get me going in the morning and soothe me at night
3. Fresh air so my home is not stuffy
4. Excellent acoustics so my home does not sound uncomfortable and full of echo
5. Great views so that you have an outlook over your own home that makes you feel good and in control

Why is it important to have well-designed spaces in your home?
Home is where it all begins and where it all ends, every day, for you and your family. Making sure you have well designed spaces at home means you have a better chance to have a better life.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to go through the process of redesigning or redecorating their home?
Do your research and ask the right questions. Get down to basics and really understand what is going to make your life better at home for you and your family. Don’t get carried away with the latest styling fad which is superficial and covers up fundamental problems. Once you get the bones of your home right, you will find that the style will come much more easily and have so much more meaning.

What do you hope readers will achieve from reading this book?
I hope that this book helps readers see their home as a great opportunity to make their lives better for them and their families. I hope that they see that it is not rocket science – it is simple, as long as you ask the right questions. Get the bones of your home right and then everything else will flow including your style, your colour and your cushions.

Your Best Home by Joe Snell (Murdoch Books) – RRP $39.99

Interview: Manveen Maan
Photo: Phu Tang

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