Design Covet | Bespoke Joinery Spotlight

  • Saint Antoine Apartment by Heju

    We explore design dexterity when it comes to bespoke joinery with six architects and designers from around the world. 

    Architect William Smart describes storage elements as a way to ‘dissolve’ traces of the everyday in the areas we use the most while maintaining their own unique character. As seen in his own home, when cleverly considered, bespoke joinery can rid spaces of clutter and contribute to an overall sense of calm.

    In this Design Covet, we explore a shortlist of designers who see storage and joinery as an opportunity to elevate a home’s interior, with consideration for material, craftsmanship and form.

    Smart Design Studio

    In our exclusive film exploring the architect’s own home, William Smart reflects on using ordinary materials inventively and creatively to emanate a sense of craft. As someone who favours a calm, monastic atmosphere, William has achieved a level of integration in the home’s joinery that conceals all technology and clutter with bespoke units. For example, running the length of the home is a simple and streamlined sideboard that also acts as a bench for varying uses in each space, as well as a coffee table that conceals the television when not in use. The firm also included wardrobes as a divider between the bedroom and the rest of the home, designed so that each door is a frame for William’s favourite artwork, a set of pieces from his pa.

    est living house caramel cjh studio 09

    House Caramel by CJH Studio | Timothy Kaye

    CJH Studio

    Australian design firm CJH Studio’s ethos is to balance functionality and beauty in design. One of the defining features of the studio’s work is their custom joinery design, which founder Cassie James-Herrick describes as an “absolute favourite” aspect of any interior. The designer’s experimentation with timber joinery forms, complemented by smooth handles, niches or pulls, creates a signature in homes such as House Caramel, House Fin and the Melbourne Home.

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    Monsieur G by Decus | Photography by Anson Smart


    One of our esteemed 10 Australian designers for 2023, Sydney-based interior designer Alexandra Donohoe Church explains the importance of details before looking at the bigger picture. “You may not have an appreciation for [the] small things when you first walk into a space,” she says, “but as you use the space, they’re things that you end up appreciating the most.” Her keen eye is evident in her extensive portfolio of Australian homes, inventing new ways to merge craftsmanship and tactility. In her recent project, Ultramarine, Alexandra approaches the home’s smooth walnut joinery with curves and grooves, incorporating storage as a defining interior element.

    Framework Studio

    Framework Studio founder and creative director Thomas Geerlings describes the term ‘bespoke innovation’ as a ‘need’ for every project, reflecting their true determination to bring craftsmanship and originality to the fore. This manifests in the considered design of joinery throughout their portfolio. In particular, Can Brut’s custom kitchen melds new and vintage elements, wrapping the entire space in niched drawer units to let the oak, gunmetal and Travertino Romano materials take centre stage.


    Architects Hélène Pinaud and Julien Schwartzmann (“He”-“Ju”) blend Japanese and Scandinavian influences to bring light and tranquillity to small spaces. In their playful and innovative designs, Heju push the possibilities of joinery, creating minimalist interiors that maximise space. In the Saint Antoine Apartment, a staircase is suspended above the kitchen joinery, with the benchtop doubling as a landing. Heju’s unconventional yet effective design creates an open-plan dining and kitchen area and a living space with custom shelving. In their Appartement Bolivar project, Heju created an organic walkway connecting the living and dining space, with storage panes along the walls.

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