When Greg Natale got the call for a new project in Melbourne, the Australian-based interior designer was on a research trip to Paris. Surrounded by the magic of the City of Light – so many arches and stripes of maroon – inspiration was not hard to find. The owners of the residence, who run a luxury watch and jewelry business, rightly requested the lavish use of jewel tones, especially pink and brown, after seeing the latter’s rich application on the walls of Natale’s apartment.
The brief for the 4,000 square foot penthouse apartment in Melbourne’s elite suburb of Toorak included bringing a sense of grandeur to an otherwise uninspiring minimalist shell. The sprawling space started out as a spec apartment, so it featured an incredibly clean slate. “But that also meant it was neutral. My clients are not neutral people,” says Natale. “They’re a young couple and they’re open to a lot of new ideas.”
Taking the owners love for rich, varied hues and the beautiful glow of brass, Natale began a process of layering and luxury embellishment over the original space. New elements included a dramatic mirrored entrance, a series of arches to form different spaces, and the addition of a fireplace, millwork, kitchen worktops, bathroom vanities, finishes and furniture all over. Blush painted ceilings create an intimate setting while echoing the light pink tones of the light oak floors. On the walls, fluted white lacquer panels add luxurious details and evoke the glamorous spirit of the 80s *Dynasty–*style.
Pink takes on its full meaning in the dining room, dressed in Gucci Heron wallpaper, and creates a delicate cocooning effect in the wallpaper in the guest bedroom and in the lacquered joinery and pink marble wallpaper in the dressing room. “My favorite is the dining room. Gucci wallpaper is so elegant, but it’s also useful,” says Natale. He admits that pink is also easily his favorite color. In the bathroom vanities, kitchen countertops and backsplashes – and with the living room fireplace – the pink tones come courtesy of the striking materiality of the Calacatta Viola marble. Brown enriches the palette with lacquered joinery in the kitchen and lacquered grooves in the living room and master bedroom. “The carpentry is also linked to the jewelry of the owners. The same builder of their house also did their workshops,” says Natale.
The brown patterned wallpaper brings a touch of luxury to the bathroom. In the master suite, a lacquered brown door opens to reveal a change of pace thanks to Bisazza’s black, gray and white mosaic tiles laid in a chain link pattern. Accidentally, this makes a playful reference to the owners’ business.
Beyond the shared affinity in terms of tones, the clients also wanted to find a designer who could easily integrate their already existing Jonathan Adler furniture into their new space. Thus, with a preface written by Adler in Natale’s book, The bespoke interior, it was another obvious match. “Jonathan loves when I reupholster and reinvent his work,” says Natale. He introduced a mix of vintage and contemporary pieces to work with existing Jonathan Adler furniture.
The final element of the design was to establish a grand sense of entry, which Natale expressed by creating a room of mirrored panels and arches. With sculptural Kelly Wearstler lights and a pink and gray postmodern Art Deco rug beneath the gray textured ceiling wallpaper, the effect is both mesmerizing and suitably sultry. The final result strongly conveys the love of luxury and glamour, for the owners and for Natale.