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1 February 2018

Intelligent Design

Design Zone Ltd, Co-Principal, Alaine Ingle Talks About The Shift Towards Environmentally Sustainable Design, The Benefits Of Choosing Quality Home Decor, And Decor Trends For 2018.


More than ever it seems smart environmental design and quality home decor goes hand-in-hand when creating liveable and desirable spaces - attributes that could well influence the decision-making process when selling or buying a home.

Established in 1989 Design Zone Ltd stands to celebrate 30 years of professional interior design service. The success of this long-term partnership between principals, Paulus Maringka and Alaine Ingle is attributed to their shared passion for design and the combined strengths and talents each brings to the business. 

Both principals have tertiary qualifications. They have lectured at most of Auckland’s tertiary education providers and have passed their knowledge on to the next generation of young designers.

Paulus has also received an International Design Green Dot Award for his research papers on cultural relevance to design practice. The practice continues to engage with world-wide discussion and development in this area.

Environmental issues that face the planet and the impact on human lifestyle through climate change and poor water and air quality has motivated Design Zone Ltd to consciously change how it operates as a practice.

Alaine Ingle

Alaine Ingle

Alaine says, “We put more thought and time into the design process, how we design from the structure to everything in it and how we specify products or use materials and resources in the construction process. There is a growing global shift in thinking about how we consume the world’s resources. We are interested in a products life cycle; how it is manufactured, the components it is made of, ways it can be used and at the end of its life, how it can be disposed of in a greener way.

“We encourage our clients to think ahead about the environmental impact of their material choices - what aspects could be reused, repurposed or reconstituted at the end of its current life.”

“There are more products now available that are manufactured with the environment in mind. The use of ‘technologically advanced’ or ‘recycled’ materials can incur a greater cost, however there is an affordable middle ground where clever design techniques and careful selection of products can reduce landfill without sacrificing the enjoyment of how we want to live. Sustainable design can be affordable,” she adds.

Like many New Zealand architectural and interior design practices, Design Zone Ltd makes a conscious effort to rethink the way we live and how to bring together neighbourhoods and communities through intelligent design and architecture that uses the latest technology to the best advantage.

Décor trends 2018 creating balance in our lives through colour, texture and pattern.

Floor Coverings:
Natural timber flooring adds warmth while pattern in the laying process (herringbone, diagonal, Parquet) adds interest. Floor rugs layered over carpet, timber or tiles are versatile and add instant colour, texture and personality to a room. Extra large format tiles are used on floors and walls for a near seamless finish and minimal grout lines.

Wall Coverings: While paint is the most popular and cost-effective way to backdrop any decor, there is a dramatic increase in the use of wallpapers. Modern technology makes them easy to hang and the vast range of patterns, textures and sheen levels bring a pop of magic into any interior.

Colours: Bring calm into your world with colours that nurture - earthy pinks, terracotta’s and mustards, warm neutrals and soft green greys. For opulence and elegance - neutral greys (light to dark) teamed with accents of cool mints, deep teals and indigo, powdery pastels and metallics will create sumptuous interiors.

Window treatments: Play up or tone down a space with the materials you choose. Timber shutters or wide width timber venetians are functional and provide light control and privacy. Digital technology has revolutionised how fabrics are manufactured and many now have greater resistance to fading, shrinkage and soiling. Bring fun to your outdoors with the array of gorgeous colour and texture options available for outdoor fabrics.

Big ticket items:
Ideally avoid current fads. Invest in quality elegant furnishings, quality floor and wall surfaces, counter tops and plumbing hardware - this can save money long-term. Never skimp on exterior or interior materials where water tightness is concerned.

When looking for a home, most prospective buyers do their research on-line or on the open home circuit so they are very savvy.

“Renovators will look for a home with good structural bones; they are not so worried about the cosmetic finishes. However most buyers want a home that requires minimal or no renovation, to move in and continue to live the lifestyle they love.” says Alaine. “They are savvy when it comes to quality finishes and fixtures and do not appreciate poor quality building short cuts particularly with Auckland’s high house prices.”

Selling Now: At the very least a fresh coat of paint can transform a home. Fix and complete all projects you have been meaning to get around to but haven’t, and allow sufficient time for completion before listing with an agent.

Although your home may need repairs or improvement, not all expenditure will be perceived as added value to the asking price. Just because you have spent a lot of money, does not necessarily mean you will recoup your costs. Make sure all renovations are properly permitted and avoid making your short cuts someone else’s headache.


Selling in 5+ years: It comes down to budget, but where you can, invest in the best quality products. Renovate and decorate to your tastes so you get to enjoy it. Bathrooms and kitchens can make or break the sale of your home. With building code changes that affect these areas in particular, it pays to engage a certified designer or building professional for advice. Everything dates, however when selecting fixed materials and finishes, ensure their appeal will stand for at least 10 years, after that, most products need a little refreshing.

Create your own style and have fun with it, or engage a professional designer (even for an hour) for advice - it could make a world of difference.

Alaine says, “A good design professional should explain the design process clearly and point out potential pitfalls - there will be questions you will not know to ask. The aim is to save clients time, money, avoid costly mistakes and choose the right products to suit. But remember as the client you are in control and can determine the extent of professional engagement you would like or can afford, whether one room, a whole house or a few décor items.”

All Design Zone Ltd's work comes through word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients or other industry professionals who have worked with Design Zone Ltd on various projects.

“We have clients Auckland-wide,” says Alaine, “however we love the sense of community in each unique pocket of Auckland’s central suburbs and the vibrancy and design led businesses that are changing Auckland’s landscape for the better. A project we have just completed, Hera Bridal Couture on Karangahape Road, had us engaging with the wonderful people who live and work in that area.“


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