Momo Inspirational Video Series | Wollstonecraft Project

Momo Inspirations Video Series is back. This time we talk with James Pilcher, principal architect and founder of Mileham. James talks about the importance of functionality over aesthetics, and linking this to the clients vision.




We are here filming at your recently completed project. Tell us the background behind the project?

When the onset of COVID-19 prompted our clients to move from Jakarta and make Sydney their permanent home, they decided to undertake a major internal refresh of their 25-year-old, triple split-level townhouse in Sydney’s Lower North Shore. We stripped the property right back to its bare bones and refined and refinished it with new floors, doors, joinery, finishes, furnishing and lighting. The result is an elegant townhouse which exudes Parisian flair, providing a backdrop to showcase our client’s appreciation for luxury contemporary furniture, art, fittings and finishes.

What are the highlighting features in this project and the handles you’ve used?

The kitchen is centerpiece and highlight of this home. The custom timber cabinetry is painted in a bold Dulux Blue Rhapsody Gloss, the colour of which carries through into the vein of the marble benchtops and splash back. We used Momo’s Belgravia pull handles in satin brass, which really come through with maximum effect in their contrast with the cabinetry to create a sense of drama and understated elegance, much like gold buttons on a classic, tailored Ralph Lauren navy blazer.

What are the top 3 emerging trends we will see across 2022? What is an emerging trend we will see across 2022?

Spending so much time at home during COVID-19 has inspired clients to bring detail, interest and curiosity into the design and fit out of their homes. We’re seeing this with a revival in the use of wainscotting, paneled cabinetry, decorative ceiling moudlings, a preference for natural materials in bathroom and kitchen surfaces, and a use of fittings and handles in a range of styles and finishes to reflect each client’s individuality and taste. The home truly has become a place of pride, not only one where we want to spend time with ourselves and our family, but one where we want to put our personalities and design preferences on show.

Would you base your overall design / styling around a specific kitchen handle or are handles an afterthought?

Momo Handles

It can go both ways depending on the project. We have clients who come to us unsure what the overall design aesthetic is for their home, but they come armed with magazine tear outs, Pinterest boards, and Instagram accounts full of particular products they like such as handles, drawer pulls, flooring materials, tiles, furniture and art, that we then use to help them realise the big picture. On the other hand, we have clients who have a clear preference for a particular style or aesthetic and then we work with them to fill in the details of their vision.

Do you and your clients prefer using a consistent handle finish throughout all joinery in the home or does this vary depending on the room?

We break up handle finishes into two categories: architectural fittings, and joinery fittings and details. Architectural fittings “belong” to the building, so to speak, and are almost always presented in the same finish. These include things like door handles, hinges and locks. We like to use a consistent finish in this category to give the home a sense of flow and tie it all together. With joinery fittings or details, we like to vary the finishes depending on the room and its purpose. This approach not only adds interest to each room and help accentuate a joinery item’s design or style, it also helps establish a room’s overall design aesthetic.

Do you have a preference for handle material/finishes?

Solid brass. It’s timeless. The solid nature and comfortable weight of this natural material is hard to beat. It has a feeling about it which speaks of quality, craftsmanship and an appreciation for the finer things in life. Whether polished, satin, or antiquated, solid brass embodies understated elegance and confidence of place. When you see solid brass handles on a door or cabinetry, you somehow feel reassured that everything is going to be alright.

What are you favourite Momo Handle ranges?

The Barrington range. It sits comfortably no matter where it’s applied on the design spectrum between traditional and contemporary styles, giving the range an adaptability which can be hard to find amongst other brands in the market. The depth of the grooves in the handles are emotive. They give each piece a tactile experience, while the knobs provide an added layer of detail and interest to a cabinet or kitchen drawer suite.

What sets the Momo handles range apart from other brands in the market?

Consistent quality. When we take delivery of a box of handles from Momo, the weight of that box alone communicates the craftsmanship which is wrapped inside. It just feels so good and we haven’t even opened the box! The comfortable weight of the materials used by Momo, and the tactile nature of their designs, be they finished in a polish, satin, knurl or rib, you can just feel the difference with their products. It’s this feeling which gives us great confidence when recommending Momo to our clients.

What motivates you as a designer?

Seeing a design concept become a physical reality is incredibly satisfying to me. Whenever you start out with a design vision, it’s so intangible. It’s an essence. A thought. A feeling. Striving to translate this essence into a real world being and working with our clients at every step of the way to bring this essence to life, gives me a true sense of achievement and completion.

Do you consider aesthetics or functionality to be more important?

To me, functionality always comes first. Things must suit their purpose before you can consider how they sit or look in their place. And it’s functionality which ensures continual usage of a place or thing. From the dawn of time humans have arrived at a place and stayed there because that place served a particular function or purpose. It’s only then that humans sought to beautify that place. It’s the same with fittings. Once the functionality has been established, the focus can move towards the beautification.

How much does price come into the decision for cabinet handles?

Much like the accessories we wear every day in our outfits to personalise our look and communicate something about who we are, the same is true for handles on cabinetry. As such, we encourage our clients to consider and respect the budget for their finishing touches due to the impact these will have on the finished look and feel of a room. The very fact that a handle is the only part of a door that you touch means you should always value it and consider the message it communicates to you and your guests.

What exciting projects do you have coming up and are there any Momo Handle ranges you are thinking of using?

We are in the early design stages of a new residential project on the Bilgola Plateau in Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches. The design brief is for a large family home which looks like it has been there for generations. The brief speaks of nostalgia with elements of British Colonial wrapped in a Bahamas x Australian beach life spirit. Think deep verandas, rattan ceiling fans circling lazily, wide corridors welcoming the breeze, sub-tropical gardens and lawns with willowy palm trees, an abundance of natural light, double height ceilings, and dark timber floors and cabinetry. The fittings and fixtures need to speak to a time gone by and the craftsmanship which came with it, and as such we are naturally very interested in the Momo range to achieve this.

A big thank you to Mileham for taking part in our Momo Inspirations series.
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