“The view offers a sense of warmth and calm, and this is what the owners wanted to incorporate internally,” say Tara and Melony of the design brief. “They wanted to achieve a beautiful, contemporary coastal home with a sense of calm as you walk through each space. Rather than a clichéd coastal look, the owners requested a modern coastal feel with a classic twist, which is in keeping with the contemporary yet timeless nature of the property.” Although arriving at the tail-end of a renovation (with the finishes and floor plans already in place) can sometimes be a challenge, the designers considered the project a blank canvas – and an exciting opportunity to really get to know their clients. “Normally, you can tell a client’s personality from objects within their home, such as artwork or heirlooms they’ve collected through their travels,” they explain. “That’s the starting point from which we base the soft finishes.” But with no décor clues to guide them here, the pair opted for an unusual approach, taking their design and palette inspiration from their impressions of the owners’ personalities and personal style to ensure they landed a ‘feels like home’ result.
Pairing designer style with practicality was another important consideration, with Dianne and Terry requesting beautiful fabrics that would withstand the attention of their beloved grandchildren and new fur baby. “The owners wanted all furniture items to be durable and ‘lived-in’ so guests don’t have to be precious and can relax in all spaces comfortably,” Tara and Melony share.
For easy-care custom pieces, fireguard fabric (a stain-free technology) was used alongside materials that were attractive yet hardy, such as handmade resin, reclaimed timber and carbon stone furniture pieces. A significant swathe of the property – including the entry, two living spaces, dining room, main bedroom and balcony, two guest bedrooms and outdoor area – were furnished and styled from the ground up.
All elements were sourced or specified through Coco Republic, from furniture and feature lighting to artwork and custom cushions made in fabrics sourced from across the world. “Dianne and Terry also wanted to incorporate colours and tones that complemented the natural surroundings, so we injected touches of soft blues that reflected the water views and neutral tones that reflected from the river,” note the designers. Quality was key, with top-shelf leathers sourced from South America and preference given to local manufacturers for big-ticket items. In a nod to sustainability, natural materials and fibres such as linen, jute and concrete were used wherever possible, and the designers opted to source GERT (genuine English reclaimed timbers) from old buildings in the UK to incorporate into selected furniture pieces, such as bespoke office chairs.
The finished home is cohesive, captivating, and timeless – everything the owners hoped for – and imbued with a strong sense of their chic yet relaxed personal style. Expertly layered textures, a refined palette of soothing natural tones, and an air of quiet luxury now reigns. Key pieces from CR Essentials, British leather furniture brand Timothy Oulton, LA studio Natural Curiosities, and San Francisco-based Oly draw the eye, while well-orchestrated metallic accents add a subtle gleam of low-key glamour.
After bringing the project together onsite, Tara and Melony have eyes for one room in particular. “Our favourite space is definitely the main living area,” they agree. “It has an off-centre original fireplace with a raked ply ceiling which extends to the first floor through a stunning five-metre void. The bi-fold, floor-to-ceiling glass doors also add to the serenity and grandeur. When they’re open, they invite a beautiful breeze, which you can enjoy while watching television or relaxing in the occasional chairs, looking out to the river mouth.”
With their forever home now beautifully updated, Dianne and Terry can get down to the important business of enjoying life in a gorgeous space ready-made for the scamper of tiny feet (and paws) or a quiet afternoon watching the boats go by.