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Colourful art and designer furniture create a vibrant interior that's ripe for entertaining


Most people will err on the side of caution when it comes to using colour. But taking a more adventurous approach can pay off handsomely – so long as you keep to a few rules.

For interior designer Lynn Malone and her partner, moving house provided an opportunity to custom design an apartment interior that would showcase a vibrant art and furniture collection. And keeping to the rules was no problem for a designer who works with colour on a daily basis.

"When you have colourful artworks and furnishings, a neutral backdrop sets the stage for the artwork. It also celebrates the open spaces," Malone says. "And neutral doesn't equate to dull. A neutral colour palette may be indigo blue, deep chocolate or khaki. The secret is not to get carried away with too many colours, finishes or materials."

For her own apartment, the walls were painted white. Joinery units are a combination of three finishes: high-gloss and low-gloss white polyurethane; a high-gloss dark charcoal polyurethane, and a timber veneer in variegated graphite.

"Our art collection makes a bold statement in itself," says Malone. "We rotate the artworks regularly, so the white walls give flexibility when it comes to placing vibrant paintings, photography and other art mediums."


The white and dark charcoal backdrop also puts the spotlight on the designer's furniture collection. This includes a Cassina orange leather swivel lounge chair, a Mister B charcoal velour sofa with matching ottoman, and a custom yellow leather fainting bench. Its low height ensures it doesn't obstruct the view.

"Much of the furniture has soft curves – to juxtapose the angular architectural elements of the interior," says Malone.

A baby grand piano provides further visual drama.

"Aesthetically, the grand piano is beautifully proportioned and well scaled for the space," says Malone.

The high ceilings in the seven-year-old apartment were a draw card for the designer – as was the extensive glazing and floor-to-ceiling doors. The existing limestone flooring was also retained in the remodelling, but it was sanded, honed and re-sealed.

However, the original two-bedroom apartment was extensively remodelled to create a one-bedroom apartment with high-quality interior finishes and materials. Electronic gadgetry was also designed to suit the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the owners, who enjoy entertaining.

"All the changes were designed with sustainability in mind," says Malone. "For example, appliances, lighting and electronics were chosen for their environmental and energy-saving features. Technologically advanced sunscreen blinds that reduce glare, heat and sun damage to furnishings were also specified."

The lush balcony landscape incorporates water features that encourage evaporation cooling, and indigenous plants that require minimal irrigation.

In terms of its materials and finishes, the outdoor living area received as much attention as the indoors – the balcony has a Richard Schultz-designed B&B Italia dining table and chairs.

The kitchen was also the focus of a re-fit – its size reflecting its social importance as a centre for entertaining.

To provide continuity, colours and materials flow through to the bedroom suite, which incorporates mirror-backed display shelving showcasing the owners' glass art collection. The bathroom also displays artworks, and is enlivened by red glass walls.

First published date: 24 May 2007

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Credit List

Interior designer Lynn Malone, LynnMalone Design (Sydney, NSW)
Kitchen manufacturer Scotts Kitchens
General contractor James Hardman Electrical & Construction Management
Specialty contractor Ray Rached Construction
Paints Wattyl Paints
Door furniture Halliday & Baillie
Lighting Astro recessed halogen; Antares Battery double halogen for artwork; Yamagiwa Auredia pendant lights in bedroom, from Euroluce
Flooring tiles Limestone from Onsite Supply & Design
Blinds in living areas Luxaflex Flexiglide Sunscreen
Living room furniture MOS Italiana Mister B sofa and pouf from Furniture Excellence; throw pillows in Andrew Martin fabric from Unique Fabrics; Cassina Italy Dodo lounge chair and recliner upholstered in orange kid leather, from Space Furniture
Rugs Designer Rugs; Cloth
Baby grand piano Toyo from The Piano Showroom
Bar stools Poliform
Dining table Besana Cortes from Furniture Excellence
Dining chairs Casa Diva from Furniture Excellence
Outdoor furniture Designed by Richard Schultz for B&B Italia, from Space Furniture
Audiovisual equipment Bose
Television LG
Fireplace EcoSmart Fire from The Fire Company
Living room and kitchen cabinetry NewAge Veneers
Benchtops Luce Pura from Stone Italia
Oven, microwave, cooktop and coffee maker Smeg
Ventilation Omega
Cutlery Georg Jensen
Stemware Mikasa
Dinnerware Driade
Small appliances Breville
Bedhead and night tables LynnMalone Design
Bed linen Mio Palazzo
Vanity Alpae Italiana from Reece Design
Bathroom accessories Designer Doorware Photography by Mark Mawson Catering and food styling by Siri Kommedahl