Softly spoken interior design for stylish family apartment living

A serene designer makeover for this waterside apartment has one family falling in love with their home, all over again

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Falling out of love with your home can be the catalyst for something wonderful, as the owners of this apartment can attest. Tamara and Darren were on the verge of listing the three-bedroom abode (bought off-the-plan in 2010), when they entrusted interior designer Kate Connors of Connors & Co with a game-changing overhaul. The couple felt they’d “never put their stamp” on the rather bland ground-floor space, despite adoring the Hamptons-style block as a base for themselves, daughter Marnie, and Noot the cat. After testing the waters for a move, they instead approached Kate to bring the home’s positives into focus. “Faced with the decision to move or invest in a renovation, Tamara and Darren decided to stay put and do a complete refresh on the apartment,” says the designer. “They love the area and couldn’t find anything that suited them as well by way of the location and the layout.” 

Fortuitously, it was Kate’s own home that brought together designer and client. “Tamara saw a feature on me and my home in a magazine, filed it away, then dug it up a year later when the time came to tackle her project,” she says. Those of us with an ‘ideas’ compendium of torn magazine pages can relate!

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

With everyone stylistically in sync and a major mood shift required, Connors & Co mapped out an extensive interior makeover. The couple entrusted Kate to replace almost all furniture, furnishings, and art to create the desired blend of relaxed elegance and cosy family living. “The brief was to lighten and personalise the apartment, injecting character and layers of subtle colour and earthy texture to create understated luxury in a coastal style,” Kate says. “We were definitely influenced by the Hamptons vibe and manicured surrounds in creating the scheme.”

Once defined by dark corners and shades of brown, the home is now a serene oasis, drawing the outside in with a soothing palette of nature-inspired tones. It’s quite the turnaround. Fresh-cut greens and soft blues flow throughout, while brass accents nod to the coastal mood. Selected fabrics from Catherine Martin, Georgia Macmillan, and Anna Spiro Textiles create mini style moments, doubling down on the home’s new bespoke feel. Extra storage is everywhere but seamlessly integrated to preserve the refreshingly unfussy feel.

A restful calm envelops the living room, where a deliciously inviting Molmic Dempsey sofa, custom ottomans, and cantilevered side tables set the scene for family movie nights or WFH practicalities.

Anchoring the space with a dash of Hamptons charm is the generously proportioned entertainment unit. “The existing unit was asymmetrical and far too modern,” says Kate. “Which inspired me to create something more traditional in style with symmetry, hand-painted shaker profile doors, profile capping, and VJ back panels.” Not to be outdone, Jardan’s shapely ‘Joy’ armchair injects a playful energy, balancing the classic lines.

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

The creative expertise of Connors & Co radiates through every room, from custom details to the quality classic-contemporary furniture selections (many from Australian designers). Each piece has been chosen or designed to deliver comfort as well as enduring style.
As a measure of the project’s success, look no further than the reimagined dining alcove, complete with a family-friendly upholstered banquette with hidden storage and a Macchina Minima n. 8 suspension pendant that moves 360˚ for the ultimate in mood lighting. While many see a renovation as a chance to upsize, the owners chose a smaller dining setting to better suit this light and (now) perfectly proportioned space. “Stylish, elegant, and comfortable, it’s a favourite of mine!” says Kate of the Cotswold InOut Furniture classic. 

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Connors and Co family apartment interior designA feeling of sanctuary extends to the master bedroom, where wall-to-wall curtaining, custom furnishings, and luxe layered linen bring a boutique hotel feel. The ensuite was also treated to an upgrade, including a new bath and a larger vanity with double sinks that takes cues from the master and living room. Tardis-like twin shaving cabinets are cleverly recessed while downlights and chic sconces hit the brief for ‘makeup-friendly’ lighting. All in the details, right?

To further elevate this parents’ retreat, Kate upgraded the bed to a king with a custom upholstered bedhead in Diane Bergeron Hudson fabric in ‘Sea Glass’. A beloved family photo wall was relocated from the kitchen and reframed as a personal finishing touch. Marnie’s room also has a beautifully curated photo wall as well as a fresh palette of greens and whites and functional study zone. The perfect teenager retreat.

Although Covid restrictions kept Kate and the Connors and Co team off-site for much of the project (finished in 2021), you would never guess, such is the calm cohesion throughout.

And with Tamara, Darren, Marnie and Noot now happily ensconced in their ‘new’ home long-term, stage two is already in the works: a courtyard makeover. But for now, they can relax and enjoy — confident in the knowledge they made the right call in working with Connors and Co.

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Connors and Co family apartment interior design

Words: Nicole Deuble | Styling: Madeline McFarlene | Photography: Pablo Veiga