Style and substance combine in this artful family home

With a new architecturally designed home in Underwood as their blank canvas, Darren James Interiors created a bold interior fit for a young family

Darren James Interiors

How do you mix practicality with chic, contemporary style? Darren James Interiors has found a way to blend both to beautiful effect, decorating this family home in a way that reflects their clients’ individual style and their new lifestyle as parents to twins.

Taking inspiration from the existing material selections – a striking palette of charcoal, white, black, concrete and natural timber – the designers at Darren James Interiors have introduced a sophisticated, glamorous living style, layered with warmth, personality and functionality.

“Our clients, Sohaila and Ismail, had already lived in the space for around 18 months when they invited us in to design a fresh new interior style,” says Darren James. “They had been living with furniture from a previous property, which no longer suited their new home. So we were tasked with a major overhaul of furniture, art and soft furnishings, keeping with a look and feel that was bolder and more dramatic to enhance the high-end, contemporary architecture.”

This luxurious feel has been expertly balanced out by Darren James Interiors with a mix of more casual elements and an emphasis on hardy materials that would stand up to the rigours of family life. 

Darren James InteriorsDarren James InteriorsThe house is a generous two-storey building with no fewer than six living spaces, including two outdoor areas, four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms and an in-ground pool area. It was quite the scope for the design work, but pulling together stylish and cohesive indoor/outdoor spaces is a Darren James Interiors specialty.

“Regarding colours, our clients had particular preferences for earthy tones as well as greens to reflect their bush outlook,” says Darren. “For materials, we were asked to incorporate handmade and textural elements, like mixed metals, natural stone, timber and leather as well as rattan. And, art selections were crucial to the owners – the brief was firmly towards vibrant, modern pieces to create a gallery feel through the home.”

The kitchen was brand new and boasted predominantly matt-black finishes, which the designers have used as inspiration for the surrounding decor. “While the owners were happy with the kitchen layout, the pendants they had initially chosen were far too small and plain and needed to be replaced. They also requested some texture to be added to the design to soften the hard lines, which we’ve introduced with the woven-top stools and various styling items,” says Darren. A live-edge dining table with rattan chairs provides seating for eight to 10 people, making it ideal for entertaining.

The kitchen spills out into an undercover alfresco kitchen, where additional dining and lounge seating for six people makes the area feel more like an outdoor room and a natural extension of the interior.

Darren James Interiors

Darren James Interiors

In the master bedroom, Darren James Interiors has created a peaceful and luxurious retreat for the parents, utilising their existing king-size bed and bedside tables, but enhancing the restful space with an oversized rug and bench seat at the foot of the bed. The timber feature wall remains unadorned for that defining element of warmth.

“Sohaila requested a floral artwork for this space and layers of light, relaxed linen,” adds Darren. A modern artwork hanging over a rattan cupboard fits the bill, while plush bedding in natural hues injects cool cosiness.

The twins’ bedrooms are both filled with imaginative and playful decor, with a sophisticated jungle theme introduced through the use of wallpaper in both rooms.

The new interior strikes a perfect balance between the clean, contemporary lines of the home’s architecture and the couple’s desire for a warm and inviting place for their twins to grow. The result is a modern and sophisticated appeal, with all the creature comforts of a forever home.

Darren James Interiors

Darren James Interiors

Photography: John Downs