Design Diaries With Simone Haag

The Light Well House

With an array of design accolades, an outstanding body of work, and an impressive stable of clients, Simone Haag stands out as one of Australia’s most celebrated designers.

Take a tour around Simone Haag's incredible mid-century home - The Light Well House.

She brings an avant-garde vision to the Australian decoration space, consistently pushing the boundaries with furniture, art, and object curation in her residential projects. Simone’s expertise revolves around creating timeless interiors that blend distinctive vintage elements, contemporary design, and the personal narratives of her clients, thereby shaping her distinctive signature aesthetic.

The Light Well House is an Australian design success story, emphasising that well-designed and built homes stand the test of time. The home was built in 1972 and designed by architect Ian J Smith, whom Simone has befriended since buying the house. It stands as a testament to Ian J Smith’s thoughtful orientation, the spatial experiences, and the robust materiality.

In terms of design modifications, very few changes have been deemed necessary, highlighting the enduring quality inherent from its conception.

The collaboration between Ian J Smith and the original homeowner, who was also the builder, resulted in a successful partnership. Their commitment to integrity and quality are ever apparent in the house, and though Simone plans to make small updates over time, such as painting, incorporating new window treatments, and personalising the space with furnishings, the essence of the house remains unaltered.

Standing The Test Of Time

In terms of materials, the emphasis is on authenticity and honesty. The predominant use of wool, brick, timber, glass, leather, stone and ceramic underscores a commitment to natural and organic elements.

A dedication to material integrity is evident throughout the house, allowing this mid-century build to feel as current and contemporary now as it did when first built.

"The Light Well House tells a story of enduring design."

The wool carpet selected is a version of what was existing to the home, maintaining a connection to the original design, and bringing the warmth of natural fibre to the floor. In Simone’s words, it shows that not all elements need to “shift with the times".

In the Light Well house, carpet is used in abundance. It not only creates warmth and texture, but true to Simone’s signature style, it is a foundation to overlay her collection of tribal and vintage rugs.

Choosing Spinifex, from Feltex, this wool carpet provides natural insulation and humidity control, making the home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Mid-Century Brilliance

The home’s colour palette takes cues from the architectural elements, heavily featuring neutral tones like brown, beige, and cream.

The inclusion of the vibrant green striped La Mura chairs from Tacchini, and a considered selection of artwork, injects a subtle but impactful pop of colour, pairing beautifully with the layers of neutral tones.

View the product - Spinifex

Connecting Spaces

The brilliance of mid-century modern homes is their intentional floor plans, and the Light Well House is no exception. With the retreat-like master bedroom overlooking the bushy surroundings, and the sunken lounge, living, dining and study all facing north, the design of this house is carefully considered.

The floorplan focuses on the kitchen being the central point of connection with the study and sleeping spaces all within a line of sight.

Simone’s design approach focused on furnishing the home with a collection of pieces that she has sourced over the years, both contemporary and vintage. Many of the vintage pieces come from Simone’s love of exploring Paris flea markets and scouring 1st Dibs online.

Nevertheless, the motivation for acquiring these pieces was not just because they are vintage, but rather a genuine admiration for them and their inherent design aesthetic.

“One of the most beautiful aspects of the floorplan is that from the kid’s bedrooms, you can look through the Light Well, to the living spaces, so you always feel like you’ve got a connection to family.” - Simone Haag

In the bedroom, there are original Artemide bedside lamps balanced with bedside tables from Agnes Studio. Iconic pieces such as the Arflex Marenco sofa, Saporiti Sail dining chairs and the Sorianna sofa feature through the living and dining spaces, as well as notable lighting like the Pipistrello lamp in the sunken lounge.

Ease of living is important in a household with kids, and the durable limestone dining table combines form and function.

Blending old and new, through incorporating contemporary furnishings into the home is a recurring motif in Simone’s work. There can also be limitations to sourcing vintage, where custom pieces with dimensional specifications are required.

In the main living room, where the carpet extends up the wall, Daniel Barbera crafted a custom glass and granite console that stands as one of Simone’s favourite pieces.

Art holds sentimental value for Simone, prioritising personal connection rather than notable or expensive works. Her collection reflects cherished and interesting mediums, aimed at infusing vibrancy and vitality into her living space.

There are pieces by emerging artists such as Michael Georgetti and some more well-known like Gregory Hodge, alongside vintage pieces by unknown artists. Simone is also drawn to three - dimensional forms, from artists like Galia Gluckman.

"Art holds sentimental value for Simone prioritising personal connection rather than notable or expensive works."

The narrative woven through diverse mediums of textiles, paintings and tapestries is a particular hero of mid- century modern design. The different materials of wood and brick on the wall surfaces makes the artwork sing, especially where the original hook placements can be used.

One instance is a ceramic piece hung above the fireplace on brick, which is underproportioned for the space and almost humorous, which Simone loves. Preserving the integrity of the house took precedence over finding the perfect spot for each artwork.

Authored date: 15/03/2024