“Our client is from the USA, so I wanted to create a New York-style home for the family, bringing some of that urban sophistication to their inner-city apartment,” says designer Di Henshall from Di Henshall Interior Design.
Di has worked with the client on multiple projects over 20 years, designing the interiors of their home, their holiday apartment and their business. So when it came to the renovation of their new apartment before making the move from a large suburban family home, they knew there was no doubt the outcome would be superb.
With a full renovation on the drawing board for the entire apartment to make it feel more like a home, Di set to work planning the project with Zoe Wallis and Jaye Murtagh from the Di Henshall Interior Design team. No boundaries were set, giving Di free rein to be as creative as she dared.
“We’ve created different zones within the apartment to suit various moods or needs – like the bar area for stylish entertaining, and the quiet reading space where our client can retreat and relax,” she shares. There are also areas designed for when friends and relatives come to visit and stay so that they can have their own privacy and space.
“We were keen to use some small, treasured existing pieces and artwork and rehouse a few pieces of furniture to maintain a very personal connection to their old house,” Di adds.
Curved glass walls embrace the apartment, providing sweeping city views from every room. They’re covered with soft, sheer curtains in a metallic sea green to reflect the glimpses of natural aspect beyond. “It is the ultimate inner-city location with views of skyscrapers, but it also has the most glorious outlook over the water and leafy parklands,” says Di.
All of the new furniture has been custom made and designed mainly by Di to complete the vision. Di has sourced furniture and accessories from all over the world, including some showstopping pieces imported from the US. But some intelligent solutions were also required for the tight, urban space.
“With access to the apartment restrictive, each piece of furniture and cabinetry had to be specially designed to fit perfectly into the small lift, with items such as sofas and shelving purposely cut into two or more pieces and assembled inside the apartment to give the desired outcome,” explains Di. “We also weren’t able to alter the existing air conditioning units, so some spatial planning was needed for spaces, like the walk-in robe, which was built around the existing air conditioning equipment in the ceiling. Working with existing plumbing proved another challenge, with all of the bathrooms reconfigured and entries changed to maximise usage of space. We created a previously non-existent, large master bedroom walk-in robe by doing this.”
All cabinetry throughout the apartment has been custom made to suit the space by Resident Hero on the Sunshine Coast and shipped to the site, with a specialist team brought in to complete the full installation. Other functional features pull double duty as decorative elements, too. In the dining and bar area, Di has installed a bespoke metal shelving unit to separate the different zones without blocking light, while an inbuilt fireplace in the kitchen island bench links
the kitchen and lounge.
“The kitchen is the heart of the home with a sculptural island bench housing an electric fire to tie the lounge to the kitchen,” explains Di. An induction cooktop, coffee machine, ovens, integrated Sub-Zero fridge, Vintec bar fridge, dishwasher, one-off pendant over the island bench and feature wall lights complete the sophisticated cooking space.
“The adjacent bar area was an entirely new room that we added – a fabulous setting for entertaining friends, but it also helps to add visual depth and a subtle separation not usually found in open-plan apartment living,” adds Di. A grey mirrored wall down the hallway further opens up the whole area and creates a beautiful, opulent entry.
In the lounge room, a bespoke TV stand (also by Resident Hero) and custom-designed Molmic sofa and custom rug from Designer Rugs make for a lush and layered place of rest. In the dining room, the perfect table from Resident Hero has been custom designed to match the jewel-toned velvet dining chairs designed by Di Henshall Interior Design.
Resident Hero has also crafted the stunning bedhead with integrated bedside tables in the master bedroom, offset by Di with a boldly beautiful wallpaper from Arte. In all of the bedrooms, Di has chosen to use exquisite fabrics from Nina Campbell, Warwick, VillaNova, Baker and Casamance.
In the master ensuite, design inclusions like the marble mosaics from Earp Bros and custom vanity with integrated double Corian basins and shaving cabinets (all by Resident Hero) and wall lights, pendants and trough lighting by Di Henshall Interior Design carry on the chic, contemporary vibe.
“Trust is built to such an extent with a long-term working relationship like this, that it is impossible not to regard this as a true and lasting friendship,” says Di of the special bond she has with her client and the expectations going into this project. The result? Nothing short of perfection was delivered by Di Henshall Interior Design. “I knew this was going to be a huge and emotional move for them, too. It was vital that we got every aspect of the design right for their leap into city living.”
Photography: Michael Gazzola, Img.Co Pty Ltd