location: Toorak, Melbourne, Australia | interior design: Griffiths Design Studio | photography: Tom Blachford

This apartment building was built circa 2013 in the ‘classic contemporary’ style. This unit measures 325 square metres on one floor and accommodation includes three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, living / dining / kitchen and study.

Says designer Gillianne Griffiths: ‘Elegance, sophistication and comfort were prerequisites in the client brief for this sophisticated modern apartment. The owner loves to entertain; the space had to be versatile, uncomplicated, elegant and inviting. The prerequisite was for a relaxed, lived-in interior that enhanced the current fittings, fixtures and finishes. Another key factor was connection to the outdoors and the opening up of spaces to engender lightness and a fresh ambiance.

‘So my vision was for the interiors to be livable, comfortable, durable and functional whilst still being glamorous and elegant.

‘I used restraint in the design choices, i.e. the colour palette and the selection of materials – keeping them simple. The grey hues throughout have a soft quality that creates a calming feel, the intent being to encourage one to unwind and relax. Simple forms and clean lines contrast with certain strong textural elements of nature – such as marble, stone and metal – and timber was added to impart warmth.’

Despite the subdued tones of the furnishings they nevertheless instil a luxurious feel, enhanced by the reflection of the exterior throughout the living areas. This was achieved by creating a series of floor-to-ceiling smoked mirrored panels opposite the windows, which reflect the outside vistas create a pleasing illusion of space and light.

The designer adds: ‘I love how the choice of a lighter palette provokes a sense of space with the sheer curtains softly embracing the outdoor connection. By also introducing some contrasting textures and occasional bursts of colour in the otherwise neutral palette, the spaces surprise and delight, removing predictability and monotony.’

There were no apparent challenges here as the building was exceptionally well constructed and designed, which, says Gillianne Griffiths, ‘provides an excellent if rarely achieved starting point. If anything, it was a challenge for the design choices to remain sensitive to the architecture of the building and the intent of the architect. However, existing carpet was replaced with a more neutral colour to suit the chosen palette. Integrating the kitchen and living areas, plus removing doors and opening spaces to light and nature were also key to the overall design.

For the full article see Habitat #258 March / April 2017