Australian interior designer Greg Natale’s name is synonymous with luxury and opulence.
However, at first glance, this eye-catching art deco-inspired residence in Sydney’s stylish Rose Bay suburb appears to eschew his trademark flourish of colour and pattern in favour of a quiet yet considered minimalism.
Appearances can be deceptive, though, and closer inspection reveals Greg’s signature style is not only present, but pervasive, infused through sumptuous details and timeless touches. The grace of the property comes not from its illustrious heritage but from its exceptional architectural design, as, contrary to first impressions, it is actually a new structure that’s been carefully realised to harmonise with the neighbourhood’s historic aesthetic.
“We really wanted to make sure this home stood on its own two feet, but it also had to appear as though it had always been there,” explains Greg. “While this was a new build and the opportunity to make a grand gesture presented itself – a clean slate of sorts – there was also a responsibility to the site, the community and the property owners to create a home that would stand the test of time, and, in offering all the amenities and luxury of a new family home, still paid its dues to the deco style found from Rose Bay to nearby Bondi Beach.”
Externally, this was achieved through a flat roof and precise horizontal lines that wind their way around the home’s gentle, rounded corners. “Keeping the colour of the building a crisp white afforded the architectural elements the opportunity to subtly project and become important, but not dominate,” Greg adds. “The owners’ primary request was to have a house that looked like it had always been there. As keen entertainers with a growing family, it had to offer a wide range of entertaining options and it had to offer a relaxed take on luxury.”
To achieve this, Greg gave the inside much the same treatment as the outside, with smooth edges and brilliant white leading the way for a lavishly laid-back atmosphere. Greg infuses geometric patterns and organic motifs throughout, adding character, texture and a sense of history to this family home. One of the most visually arresting areas is the entrance hallway, where architectural moments attain sculptural status. Says Greg, “The round coffered ceiling echoes the round rug beneath it, but the detail in the custom rug is quite geometric and angular. It creates a nice visual tension on arrival.”
The formal lounge is one of few rooms – the study and bedrooms among them – that supplants white as the principal tone. Instead, Greg turned to one of his own designs, the subtle yet graphic Iota wallpaper, to offset the rigorous nature of the joinery and panelling and to imbue the generous space with a casually composed yet always elegant appeal.
“The home exudes a relaxed luxury,” says the designer, citing classical gestures such as the ceiling work and the abode’s dedication to scale and to fluency as emblematic of this handsome, almost rhythmic, aesthetic. No area is this timeless, understated majesty better realised than in the spectacular, sweeping staircase that resembles a ribbon in its fluidity and the way that it unites all architectural elements – interior and exterior – of the residence. “I love the staircase,” says Greg. “I think it really ties all the characteristics of the house together in one sweeping act. It is decorative and beautiful, but it is also very robust and serves to anchor the house’s interior.”
A version of this article originally appeared in our September 2017 issue.
Photography by Anson Smart