Creating timeless spaces. Interview with Arli Homes.

Creating timeless spaces. Interview with Arli Homes.


March '22

Some home builders offer choice and abundance in their inclusions, whilst others strip back their selections, leaving a highly curated offering, guided by design restraint and careful detailing. 

Based in Melbourne, builder Arli Homes, creates spaces for living that fuse quality fixtures and fittings with practical solutions. The result is a purposeful space, tailored to its residents, designed to last and with usability in mind.

On a sunny summer day we met with Fotini Malivindi - Interior Design Consultant at Arli’s showroom in Port Melbourne, who walked us through the world of restraint moodboards and pared-back materiality, and introduced us to Arli’s design approach to creating timeless spaces.



Fotini Malivindi, Arli Homes


Fotini Malivindi, Arli Homes

Gainsborough: How would you describe Arli Homes design style?

Fotini | Arli Homes: Am I allowed to say sexy homes for sexy people?

It's sophisticated, contemporary, handsome. It's a classic style that is timeless. We try to choose a palette that is going to give [houses] longevity, and it's not going to date in a couple of years. We want clients to be really happy for a long time. Timeless is key.

Gainsborough: How do you create that look?

Fotini | Arli Homes: I think a restrained palette makes it timeless, which is what Arli offers, with limited stone, timber and hardware offering. This way [clients] are not bamboozled by a whole lot of different ideas. The palette is very highly curated and helps create that timeless look. 

We promote timber grains in the kitchen and the wet areas to add texture and variety, give it warmth and bit more of a detail, because the tiles are quite flat. We add a bit of interest with the laminates and the stone - something that is complementary like a light grey or light beige benchtop.

We create timelessness within both kind of looks - light, bright and airy as well as dark and moody which is elegant and appeals to a different market.

Finally, when I do a selection I try and choose the facade that keeps flowing in the interiors as well. For me, having a link between outside and inside, downstairs and upstairs is really important. 


Photo credit: Damien Kook & Arli Homes 




Gainsborough: You incorporate the hotel interiors in the interiors. How do you achieve that?

Fotini | Arli Homes: I personally love luxury hotels, and I feel like Arli display homes have that hotel vibe, usually with a darker palette.

The lighting has a lot to do with it as well. I am a lighting engineer so I place a lot of emphasis on how we can control the light in the space. We try to promote dimmers and a curated range of Arli lights for the entrance, the bathroom and in the ensuites, because that creates atmosphere and ambience.

We do pendants over the bench in the open plan living space to give clients another option to control different zones with moody lighting.



Gainsborough: Tell us how you work with the clients wanting to design a house with Arli.

Fotini | Arli Homes: It's getting to know the clients, and try to work out from their lifestyle, what their requirements and needs are. [We ask] how do you use your kitchen? What kind of appliances you have? We keep that in mind what lifestyle they have. Is it busy, sporty, do they entertain a lot? We create a picture of their family life before we make the selection, so [the houses] are tailored.

Design is site specific with the clientele, we want them to feel comfortable. If they do love entertaining, cooking in a particular way, does that reflect in the interior selection they have chosen as well? We are trying to keep their whole ethos in mind. 


Gainsborough: Are there any interior design trends that inspire your clients that you incorporate in the selections?

Fotini | Arli Homes: If lots of clients are asking for the same thing then eventually, we might accommodate some trends into our selection process.

We keep the same kind of curated limited palette and not stray too much into colours. You can add colourful artwork that creates a bit of pop, or a rug, so you can be expressive this way rather than with your finishes that might date.

It's rare that we would do colours, but we did a couple of green kitchens last week! Green is definitely a trend out there - sage greens, layering different kinds of greens and creating depth through the materiality rather than through texture. 

The timeless look

"...a restrained palette makes it timeless, which is what Arli offers, with limited stone, timber and hardware offering. This way [clients] are not bamboozled by a whole lot of different ideas."

Gainsborough: Hardware can be a statement in itself or quietly complement the interior. What role does hardware play with Arli Homes?

Fotini | Arli Homes: I think it depends on which façade and the palette our clients have chosen, because the hardware choice is pretty much one of the final choices that clients make.

I will hand them all three levers and I will ask them to have a feel of them. Usually, it comes down to aesthetics though.

If they are going for a clean contemporary, japandi or streamline look, I usually steer them towards Avant Rivera. That's my first go to, but if it is a coastal home, I take influence form the surroundings and I steer them towards Avant Sierra. It infers the ocean and the waves. I try to bring a story back in to help them make them selection. 

Gainsborough: How do you describe differences between our levers to your clients?

Fotini | Arli Homes: To my clients I say that if they don't want the handles to speak, but they want a little bit of detail, the Avant Rivera is the perfect choice, it just has that tiny little attention to detail that is not noticeable unless you look up close and you see it in use.

The Avant Sierra has kind of a Scandi kind of vibe. It has that minimal thin profile, it's elegant and clean. Avant Sierra is more of a refined, elegant, tapered look.

Then the Neue Aurora - if they are looking for robustness. It's a robust, reliable handle. 

Gainsborough: Do you have any styling tips for someone that is going with strong matt black accents, including the black handles?

Fotini | Arli Homes: It again depends on personal style. If a client is going for an all-black look, they could choose dark antique furniture which would look stunning, or they could go super slimline, contemporary with minimal couches with little detail, so they recede in the background and let the house speak. If they want the architecture to be in the foreground, we go minimal with the furniture that isn't so loud.

I would say a couple of accent pieces would be good like artwork. If you are going with the minimal palette which is grey and with darker tones, go for colourful artwork to add pops of colour to your home, or add some character.

It's such a subjective thing, which is why the Arli palette is so great, because it's refined, restrained, so you can't go too wrong with the base palettes. You can always add furniture, you can't necessarily change fixtures and fittings as easily.