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Subtle approach

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Careful use of materials, design details and furniture configurations combine to make this décor both modern and livable


Sometimes, with a change of home, a change in décor is also welcomed. It would make sense, for example, that homeowners moving from a busy, traditional-style dwelling might seek a more pared back interior when occupying a contemporary new home.

This interior, by Anna Douglass and Merissa Hurst of Hare and Klein Interior Design, was developed in response to the owners' request for a calm, aesthetically pleasing décor. The brief called for an interior that would put people at ease and that would stand up well to wear and tear, Douglass says.

"It was also important to provide visual interest that wouldn't steal the limelight from the view across to the Sydney Harbour bridge. In answer to this, texture and tone feature strongly," Douglass says. "This is apparent from first crossing the threshold into the home."

The front door was designed by Douglass and features elements of pitted metal. Its subtle tones and emphasis on texture set the scene.

Warm-toned floor tiles provide a linking element within the home, and are first encountered at the entranceway.


In the large, open-plan living room beyond, choice and placement of furniture demarcate areas, such as the dining area, within the greater space. Sofas are positioned to lead the eye to the view and feature muted, hard-wearing materials that don't detract from it.

The owner says she asked the designers to provide emphasis on classic contemporary and comfortable.

"Furnishings were chosen that would provide the right look but also encourage family and visitors to feel at ease," she says.

Without busy patterns or strong colors, the emphasis is more on texture and tonal highlights, says Douglass.

"The sofa fabric, for example, is a viscose and silk mix, which gives the furnishings both strength and textural interest."

Practical materials on the sofas are set off by richer fabrics for the sofa cushions. The petrol-toned silk cushions feature pleating down the side to further the textural interest and to limit the impact of their sheen.

"The dining area is set slightly apart as a more formal area," says Douglass. "It had to relate to both the living area, where it is in constant sight, and also to the adjacent kitchen."

The dining table and chairs were designed by Hare and Klein, and sit comfortably within their defined area. The dining chairs are covered in a figured chenille. This material lends itself to the slightly formal area, as opposed to the more textured fabrics found in the living area, across the room.

Designers at Hare and Klein designed much of the furniture, using a recurring curved detail to link the ottoman, coffee table, and rattan chair. This element was chosen to echo the curve of a baby grand piano, also in the room.

A charcoal carpet provides a grounding color for the home's lighter hues and increases a feeling of intimacy at night, particularly in the living area.

While the public area features furnishings of strength and textural interest, the family room on the ground floor is designed to withstand the rigors of teenage use.

The wrap-around seating was designed specifically to the proportions of the room, and finished in a hard-wearing cotton-mix fabric.

Photos of the owners' trip to Africa provided inspiration for the colors and textures used in the room. These include feature fabrics on the scatter cushions and a bamboo coffee table.

As private areas, the bedrooms have richer tones, textures and materials. The master bedroom features embroidered raw silk curtains with translucent sheers behind. With the emphasis always on the view, the sheers provide both privacy and a view.

"A quilted dust ruffle was chosen for its color and sheen," says the designer. "Other highlights include bronze cushions and a charcoal mohair throw."

First published date: 08 October 2004

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Credit List

Designers Anna Douglass, Marissa Hurst, Hare & Klein Interior Design
Tiling Bathroom floors; Classic Travertino; bathroom walls; Crema Marfil select
Paints ICI Paints
Countertops Absoluto Nero black granite
Backsplash Color-backed toughened glass
Marble slabs Crema Marfil select
Oven, stove, microwave, dishwasher Miele
Bath Kaldewei Centroform
Basin Caroma Concorde
Lighting Antares