INSIDE: Definition and Symmetry

by Marc Almagro
Photography by Sam Tan
09 Dec 2021

The ‘less is more’ approach proves its efficacy in this tranquil home.

Janet McGlennon has made a name for refined contemporary spaces with distinctive architectural design elements. “Our use of textures, layering and understated color palettes are synonymous to our design aesthetic; our signature style is modern, simple, and timeless,” says McGlennon, founder and design principal of the self-named practice. “We’re drawn to the ‘less is more’ aesthetic where the design features become our focus.”

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In her own home, McGlennon usually prefers a slightly more eclectic approach, while maintaining simplicity and an uncluttered environment. “I enjoying mixing the old and the new, which I achieve by balancing a carefully curated collection of antiques and artefacts with softer upholstered pieces in various textures such as linen, velvet and silk.”

The designer begins her process with a furniture plan where symmetry is key to the placement of every piece. “I lean towards arrangements that float within the space and are centered on doors, windows, and entry ways.” She creates clear vistas that are immediately visible upon entering a room, which then becomes a statement in itself. This could be a focal table, a wall of artwork or a sofa framed by the main window within the room.

(Related: INSIDE: Function & Intention)

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McGlennon and her husband live in a house that was originally built for the staff of Alexandra hospital. As the building is government owned, there are limits to what she could do as a tenant. Despite the restrictions, however, McGlennon admits loving the space as she could ‘nest’ in it, adopt her personal style, and do a minor renovation to enhance the living experience.

(Related: INSIDE: Narrative & Discourse)

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“I’m drawn to architecture that has history, interior character, and soaring high ceilings that flood the space with natural light,” McGlennon reveals. “Doors are very important to me, especially the French-style that lead to the outdoors and anchor the space.”