With arguably Australia’s most beautiful beach as your back garden and a glamorous strip of fashionable boutiques and high-end restaurants outside your front door, what more could a Brisbane-based family ask for? An interior design that keeps up with its lavish surroundings, that’s what. To that end, in stepped Brisbane interior designer Melinda Boundy of Lily G.
Melinda’s brief from the owners – a blended family with five boys ranging in ages from 8 to 14 – was clear: they wanted something up-scale that you would see in an international magazine yet inkeeping with a beach-house mood, but… and this was the big one… it had to be hardy. Five boys. No need to say more. There were other important considerations, mostly the elements. A gorgeous beachfront holiday apartment is enviable but the havoc it can wreak on furniture and accessories is formidable.
Another vital consideration was the connectivity of the outside to the inside. With such splendid ocean views, everything had to flow. The glorious vista had to be welcomed right on in. In this case, the balcony was far more generous than the norm in Hastings Street. So advantage had to be audaciously taken of this large space to enable as much outdoor living as possible. Melinda spent months researching the correct materials and fabrics to achieve an interior design that presented layers of richness in textures and colours. She used timbers and natural elements for a look that had soft and sumptuous appeal yet in reality was resilient and enduring. It was also important that everything pay homage to the sand, the sea, the quintessential beach vibe. Quite the challenge, but one Melinda took to with relish.
“I had already designed a Brisbane home for the family,” she said. “They liked my work and we were all on the same page right from the beginning.” The wow factor begins as the elevator doors open. The visitor is met with a striking free-framed structure of squares of metal wall art on the opposite wall. It speaks volumes of the style to come. Outside the elevator to the left, the eye is drawn to a stunning hall table of tangled driftwood. It’s entwined with deer antlers sitting grandly in front of a floor-to-ceiling window. It is not just a table, more an artist’s statement and a dramatic foreground to a hanging garden outside. “The table is made by the same man who made a table for James Packer’s Colorado Hotel,” Melinda said. “He is an amazing craftsman.”
Along the hallway the beachfront holiday apartment opens up to a galley style kitchen on the left. The space overlooks the dining and lounge area which sweeps dramatically out to the extensive balcony via bi-fold doors. Large David Bromley artworks make their distinctive declaration but do not detract from nature’s statement outside. Eclecticism is the word in the living/outdoor connection, a sort of Noosa-meets-Marrakech appeal beginning with a solid timber dining table that could withstand not only the ocean’s elements but the shenanigans of five robust boys.
In the lounge-area a quirky light fitting comprising large glass ‘bubbles’ is a nod to the bubbles created by crashing waves. Outside on the balcony blues and sand colours in the outdoor furniture and cushions blend with the sea and sky. Ottomans, cushions and seats on benches in Martyn Lawrence Bullard fabrics show the American designer’s passion for laser printed, bold patterns on outdoor linen fabric.
Back inside in the living area, the same double coating approach has been given to the furniture to prevent any erosion. A leather side table shows an exquisite finish, a taupe colour sofa is dotted with Ralph Lauren indigo cushions, the rug is custom-made to show a pattern of rocks you might find on the beach. Accessories all pay tribute to the beach theme, without being clichéd: shell sculptures and sandstone fish on sideboards, coral shapes beneath glass domes. In the master bedroom the oceanic theme continues with hanging bedside lamps designed to look like upside down bottles, the kind a romantic might hope to find washed up on the sand.
Sumptuous bedding contrasts with a large mirror with sunburst frame against a Ralph Lauren seagrass fabric wall. Mango wood bedside tables and an aluminium and metallic overlaid chest ensure longevity against the elements and also with their classic design.
The boys’ bedrooms are all about the exuberance and fun fantasies of boyhood. Stylish bunk beds are covered in Ralph Lauren navy-blue doonas which double as sleeping bags, and patterned pillows with piratical skull and crossbones. In a ceiling indent oars act as art statements, and on sideboards small masculine touches include a brass sextant. Custom-made navy striped rugs add panache but are hardy enough to withstand the comings and goings of five boys. A media room/office in the centre of this beachfront holiday apartment has yet to have Melinda’s magic touch. “I don’t rush things, some of these fabrics and custom-made pieces take a long time to come to fruition. It’s worth waiting to get the right look.
Photography by Anastasia Kariofyllidis.