As the Mornington Peninsula continues its second lockdown, it is more important than ever that we maintain the sense of connection our local community is famous for! This is where ‘Behind the Dreams’ comes in. We’ll be meeting our vibrant, local building and design industry professionals for 10 fun, quick-fire questions.
Steve Taylor – Director of COS Design, Mornington, Victoria.
Tell us about you! What brought you to the Mornington Peninsula?
Steve: We moved to Mornington approximately 12 years ago from the outer eastern burbs of Melbourne. After completing a few landscape projects on the Peninsula, I was keen for a sea change, and I finally convinced my wife to spend a weekend down here with a possible move in mind. That weekend boasted perfect weather and Mills Beach was in full summer flight while Main Street was simply buzzing with a great warm and welcoming vibe. The rest is history.
How do you like to live?
Steve: We like to live busy! Work hard and play hard is the family vibe, however playing hard is on the back burner at the moment. Our kids are normally super active and very sporty, which has happily consumed us for many years. When they can, we will resume this routine with vigour, albeit with our 2 sons now driving themselves around town. We are soooo desperate to get back out there and start living again. In saying that, I have always probably worked way too hard and not given myself the opportunity to play as hard as I should have, but this will change after lockdown – so look out world.
What’s the highlight of your working week?
Steve: The highlight of my working week is the feeling of presenting a new design to a client and to see their eyes light up as we walk through their new dream garden concept. It gets me every time.
Describe your business in 20 words 😉, no more!
Steve: COS Design creates beautiful, highly liveable, bespoke landscapes that perfectly harmonise with the home’s architecture, interiors and surrounding environments.
What do you do on a Saturday?
Steve: A great coffee, late breakfast, surfing, golf, watching my kids play sport, a beer or two, a nice thick steak medium rare, and a great glass or 3 of local red with friends and family. I then repeat this on Sundays. That’s only if I’m not working on a new design or on my new home.
What’s your favourite house or garden trend at the moment?
Steve: My favourite trend at the moment is the easing of rigidity within design. Highlight arches, circles, curves, materiality softening and eclectic plant palettes all seem to be at the fore right now. When they are mixed with often monolithic rigid elements, the juxtaposed combinations are very exciting to my eye.
Your proudest business moment?
Steve: I have had many proud moments in business, from seeing previous employees thriving in their own businesses, sitting on many steering committees, to being invited as a guest lecturer for the esteemed London College of Garden Design. However, my proudest moment was probably in 2019 I was invited to be the guest MC for the Master Landscapers of South Australia Awards of Excellence, which I humbly accepted. On the same night, the Landscaping Victoria Master Landscapers Awards of Excellence were also being held, and my team represented COS Design in my absence at the awards ceremony back in Melbourne. That night, we won 4 gold awards, 3 commendations, and then the big one – which was the overall Landscape of the Year for our Sorrento project. The presentation of this award was streamed to the Adelaide awards while I was on stage as the MC!! Not a bad night out and a very proud moment indeed.
What do you secretly wish clients knew?
Steve: I wish clients actually knew how tough our industry really is. From the outside it seems like a super sexy and creative industry, but behind the scenes it’s just a lot of hard work. From the landscape construction perspective, margins are super tight, and we are constantly dealing with the elements, crazy design ideas, other trades (especially as landscapers are often the last trade in), and a vast skill set demand. From a design perspective, we are constantly dealing with ever-evolving red tape and restrictions, ever-evolving trends and needs, as well as trying to balance real life budget realities. The end results are sexy, but the work behind the scenes to make it happen is very demanding. Even after 25 year plus in the industry, I find it’s not getting any easier.
If you were a house… which one would you be? And why?
Steve: If I were a house… More like, if I were a garden, I would love to be one that had a soul and was lived in, loved, and used on a daily basis by its owners. A garden where great times were had by family and friends, creating a lifetime of memories for all. Whether it’s a Tuscan, Mediterranean, formal, modern coastal, native, modern minimalist or a Japanese garden is irrelevant, as long as I made the people within the garden simply feel good!
Thank you Steve for sharing a bit about yourself with our Building Dreams community!