Music, movies and podcasts can bring a home to life, but according to Melbourne interior stylist and TV personality, Julia Green, sonic design needs to be considered at the outset of a renovation.
A sound system can be added at the end of a reno, but should be considered at the start. Picture: Eugene Hyland
For Julia, picking a sound system was as important as choosing a wall colour.
Looking back on the renovation of her Barwon Heads home, Julia explains, “we changed wall coverings, paint and added layers of styling to our home, but a big part of creating a liveable family home is sound. For me, styling has become increasingly sensory.”
“If something looks good but it’s not functional, what’s the point?”
Are you embarking on a renovation? Here’s how to make sound a part of your home design.
1. Try to be forward thinking
Planning is essential, but we don’t always have the foresight to anticipate our needs.
Part of the beauty of the Sonos Architectural range by Sonance, which Julia has installed in her home, is that it can be integrated towards the end of a renovation, provided your electrician has accounted for the wiring.
Designed to work in conjunction with the Sonos system, the range includes speakers that sit flush in-wall, in-ceiling or – for the first time – outdoors.
A house ripe for parties and catch-ups, with near-invisible speakers delivering crisp, clear sound. Picture: Eugene Hyland
When Julia’s family first moved to Barwon Heads, their renovation budget didn’t stretch to the high-cost outdoor speakers on the market. Her savvy electrician suggested extending the wiring outdoors making it easier to install when budget allowed.
“We were able to forward-think about what life might throw at us.” The outdoor speakers are the final piece in her ultimate entertainer’s toolkit, promising crystal clear outdoor sound stretching across her pool and garden for extended summer get-togethers and alfresco dining.
“Just this morning I made myself a cup of tea, and went and sat outside, I had Icehouse blaring… and all I can think about it how amazing it’s going to be when people come around,” she says. “Even if it’s windy, which it often is where we live (close to the beach), we can still hear every lyric and note”.
“I would encourage others to look at this solution. If you’re moving into a new place; think ahead, think about how life will change as your kids grow, and how your sound system can evolve with you.”
2. Balance function and form
What activities do you and your family like to do in the house that involve some degree of sound? Is it movie nights in the living room, dance-a-thons in the kitchen, or parties spilling from the indoors onto the verandah?
A quality sound system can accommodate all of these things, without compromising on style.
Julia’s outdoor speakers, part of the Sonos Architectural range, are power-coated black and installed into the roof line, so they’re virtually invisible to the naked eye.
Just because it’s functional, tech doesn’t need to compromise your personal style. Picture: Eugene Hyland
She also has three colourful Sonos One speakers from the Sonos collaboration with Hay Design. “For me, colour and music represent emotion and there are certain colours that make me very, very happy.”
3. Work with existing systems
We all know renovating budgets have a tendency of blowing out and putting stress on our finances.
If you can’t afford the full kit straight-up, look for a system that can be added to as your needs progress.
The Sonos Amp powers up your existing speakers, regardless of model or make. Picture: Eugene Hyland
The Sonos Amp can elevate existing sound systems by connecting to your freestanding or built-in speakers, your TV and even a turntable so you can dust off your old-school vinyl collection.
“When we bought Sonos six years ago, we had two of the first generation speakers, now every room in the house has a speaker – we’ve added them over the years, plugged our record player into the Amp, and recently expanded further with the outdoor speakers.
“The beauty of it all is if we left we could take it with us. It’s a very flexible system.”
“Application to all of the senses is what makes a home super stylish,” says Julia. Picture: Eugene Hyland