Welcome to this house tour of a truly special Soutbank apartment interior design project. This project started in February 2021. I got a phone call from a prospective client and I remember the call clearly. The client said he wanted a dark, moody, Batman vibe for his apartment. I was immediately intrigued. While we were talking, I Googled the address and found a generously sized two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Melbourne’s Southbank.
The apartment has to die for views of Melbourne’s Art Centre spire, the MCG, the Yarra River, the bay, and the Botanical Gardens. It was quite something. While I was flicking through the pictures online, I said to my client that I would challenge him, given all the natural light, to go for dark grey walls and he said ‘that’s what I want’.
As a designer, it’s truly exciting to hear when a client or potential client says ‘that’s what I want’ to your ideas. This helps confirm you’re on the same page and can deliver the client’s vision. During that first call, my client also said he envisioned ‘billowing curtains.’
Client’s interior design goals
It was an exciting first chat so we arranged to meet. I was privileged to meet my client on the very day he settled on his apartment. I spent two hours with my client that day (the first meeting usually only takes an hour) but my client was so enthusiastic about his vision.
He explained that he wanted a home that was sensual, tactile, refined but not stuffy, elegant, comfortable, welcoming, and moody. We walked from room to room and my client talked and talked and I listened intently and asked lots of questions.
In response to what my client was saying, my intuition told me that he might appreciate a sitting/drinking zone. A different layout to what was there previously. Creating a third zone in the space, where previously the open planning living area just had a dining zone and a TV zone.
This third zone immeasurably increased the liveability of my client’s apartment. Providing choice, increased multi-functionality and the opportunity to add depth and interest to the space.
Grey coloured walls
Once we officially started working together the priority was to decide on a colour for the walls and ceilings. After testing a few dark greys we opted for Teahouse for the walls and Timeless Grey for the ceiling.
After that we slowly and surely curated a unique space together. The sitting zone featured a generous day bed. This is perfect for afternoon naps, reading and accommodating guests for a pre-dinner drink. The highlight of this zone are the green velvet arm chairs.
As the accent colour, green was injected throughout the space. For example, in the dining zone, it’s in the rug.
For the dining area, my client decided to invest in designer Danish chairs from Grandfather’s Axe. These vintage pieces add gravitas to the zone with its minimal approach.
As a lover of film the TV zone (above) was carefully considered. The sofa had to recline. The TV unit had to be the perfect height. And the lighting had to be just right to mimic a cinema going experience.
Lighting was a significant factor in this project. The entire electrical plan was altered to included dimmable warm down lights. All zoned and individualised to highlight each space.
As with all interior design projects there were hiccups along the way. Personal ones, where I was upset with the lock down restrictions and couldn’t conduct site visits. Delivery delays with furniture. Water leakage from the upstairs bathroom.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day and slowly over time with patience and exciting milestones along the way the project finally come to fruition with the installation of the window treatments post lock down.
I encouraged my client to select the fabric for both the bedroom curtains and the sheers for the living room. The bedroom curtains have a very subtle check pattern in a handsome green. I selected leather tie backs for the curtains which were a little nod to my client’s love of horse riding.
The finishing touches
Initially I wanted grey sheers for the living room, but my client chose a black sheer which was perfect. This sheer was great in managing both natural light and heat in the space. They also add a soft, feminine, tactile feel to the space.
I later learnt, as a film maker that my client’s desire for billowing curtains was inspired by a scene from one of the Lethal Weapon films, so it was a long held dream and one I was very happy to help realise for my client.
The icing on the cake of this project was the art. My client wasn’t afraid to amplify the moodiness of the space by choosing a piece of art with a dark cloud motif. While my client wants to add more art, this piece was a good start.
It’s at night this space really comes to life, where the interior and exterior become one and the ambient light from Melbourne’s cityscape is highlighted adding a sense of excitement to the space.
This was truly a unique project, for a truly unique client with an exciting vision for an aspirational place that I was happy to create. This was our client’s first home and so it was particularly important I created a dream home for him to be happy in for years to come.