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Touch of splendour – apartment by designer and antique dealer Roy Williams

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This apartment decor is by Roy Williams

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An exotic, night-time interior design requires a balancing act – setting the scene with simple, large pieces and then creating colour high points, clusters of fine detail and textured sheens to bring the composition to life.

This was the second apartment that designer and antiques dealer Roy Williams has created for the owners of the two-level residence. For this project, the instructions from the trusting owners were to make it gorgeous, says Williams.

"The existing decor had a tired, suburban feel but the apartment had good bones. We did make some changes to the structure, completely reinventing the staircase with a new wooden bannister. We also removed two pillars from the living room – they cramped the entry and were underwhelming visually.

"I was mindful that the apartment would be enjoyed mainly during the evening hours and chose the colour palette accordingly. Some hues are more affected by light changes than others; for example, yellows change dramatically from day to night, while blues and greys tend to hold their colour. For this reasons, beiges and browns cover most of the living areas, particularly on the expansive sofas that help ground the space.

To complement this warm, neutral backdrop Williams chose a textured pearlescent wall paint that retains the brush strokes and results in an eye-catching, iridescent surface.


Parquet floors were laid throughout the lower-level public spaces; the dark tones helping to ground the rooms but also adding detail. Area rugs demarcate areas of use, with one centred in the living space and another in the adjacent dining area.

The furniture is an eclectic mix of classic antiques, new pieces made in traditional styles and several large Chinese furniture items, with characteristic deep black wood adorned with gold patterning.

"The gold leaf, like the silk embroidery on the throw cushions, catches the eye and helps give the spaces the twinkling evening allure that sets off the apartment," says Williams.

While the decor is traditional in feel, it does include some rather contemporary accents. The transparent polycarbonate dining chairs have a classic form, albeit in a thoroughly modern material composition.

Much of the colour and dazzle comes from the ornate Chinese wall screens and artworks, such as the oriental brocade jacket on the wall behind the dining table.

"The traditional aesthetic helps conceal up-to-the-minute functionality as well," says Williams. "For example, at the push of a button the television rises up from behind a japanned cabinet at one end of the living room.

"This design is also about easy functionality. There are many places to sit and enjoy a book, with task lighting right at hand."

First published date: 06 October 2013

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Credit List

Interior designer, antique dealer Roy Williams AAADA, CINOA,Roy's Antiques (Clifton Hill, Vic)
Living room furniture, upholstery Roy's Antiques
Lighting Lucia Lighting
Bed linen Linen House
Wallcoverings Porters Paints
Cushions and throws Bed, Bath and Table