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Symphony of colors

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Furniture, textures, and colors indicative of the beachside location are this home's secret to success


The role of furniture is so integral to the overall look of an interior that it is easy to allow it to dominate the aesthetic. The true test then, is to integrate pieces that reflect the overall vision without forfeiting practicality and durability concerns.

This problematic issue can be compounded when the interior space is in competition with the exterior view, especially when it's a sweeping vista of ocean.

Incorporating the view into her design was the challenge facing designer Ruth Levine of RLDesign when commissioned to work on this apartment.

"The solution was to use the furniture to balance the two spaces, thereby presenting the view as another artwork to be admired," she says.

To ensure the furnishings didn't then overshadow the view, a palette of natural tones – mink, dusky blue and white neutrals – was chosen for the living areas of the sub-penthouse apartment.


"This color palette was inspired by, and was chosen to complement, the view over the beach and ocean. It also provides a nurturing haven away from city life," says Levine.

The formal living areas of the apartment, the living and dining rooms, with their polished limestone floor tiles, consist mainly of the mink tones. Dusky blue and white contrasts are picked up in the low-profile furniture, which consists of an eclectic mix of pieces with strong textures and lineal patterns.

"When you walk into this apartment you instantly get a sense of history. By balancing old and new pieces, people walk in and feel comfortable."

Levine says that by minimizing the conflict between interior and exterior spaces, the resulting seamlessness also works to put people at ease.

The family room, while continuing the color theme, is more laid back and highlights are conveyed through the introduction of burnt orange in the cushions and accessories, evocative of the sunrise.

Low-profile, understated furniture in this space, as in the formal areas, mirrors the horizon line in the distance and encourages the eye to travel around the room, while also providing areas for the eye to rest before moving on.

Throughout the apartment this lineal element is successfully repeated time and again and becomes a key point to the consistency of the design.

"It was more subliminal than it was a deliberate theme. In design you tend to work on an intuitive level, establishing a visual hierarchy to create a sense of interconnecting spaces," says Levine.

In order to create a connection between spaces, Levine says she designs many of the pieces herself.

"It's something we try to do every time. In this instance, that went beyond furniture and included the bed headboards and the rug in the formal living area.

"As a designer, you are always primarily concerned with the needs of your clients, especially if there are young children to consider, but you are also aware of the overall effect – that need to create balance and harmony."

First published date: 15 November 2006

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Credit List

Interior design Ruth Levine, RLDesign (Australia)
Window furnishings Zepel Fabrics
Flooring Designer Rugs
Lighting Bloomingdales; West Eight; ECC Lighting; ISM Objects; Minc; Tangent Central; Mondo Luce
Wallpaper South Pacific; Osborne & Little
Living room furniture Comax; Zuster; Orient House; Mobili; Banyon Tree; Arida; Jardan
Dining furniture Zuster; Mobili; West Eight
Family room furniture Jardan; Elliott Clarke; KeZu; Fanuli Furniture; Mobili; Villa; Chairbiz