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A relaxed new-build in Perth with sophisticated style

Built from afar, this modern family home in seaside Cottesloe combines a laid-back lifestyle with sophisticated glamour.

Much-loved family memories often have a way of working their magic when finding a forever home. Stephanie, Paul and their daughters Grace, Isabelle and Stella were living in Sydney when some Perth-based relatives told them a house in a favourite suburb was on the market.

“We both grew up in Perth and knew that one day we would come back,” explains Stephanie. “We weren’t in a hurry, but when the house became available we knew the location would give our children the outdoors, close-to-the-beach lifestyle we loved about our childhoods.”

Seamless flow between indoor and outdoor dining spaces equals easy entertaining.

The couple bought the property in 2011 and rented it out, but were soon on the move, to Hong Kong. “It made it easier to go, knowing we had a base in Perth we could come back to,” says Stephanie.

Designed for both family dinners and entertaining, the dining room is a discerning statement in practical elegance. “Stephanie loves traditional and feminine pieces,” says interior designer Emma of this space’s sense of timelessness. Resident ‘Hex’ pendants from District add character and sculpture, and a ‘Pieman’ blackstained oak table by Perth furniture maker Nathan Day Design is a great match to the leather chairs. The vintage Persian rug was hand-knotted in Iran. Emma also suggested full-length sheer curtains in Westbury Textiles white linen, to soften the space. The console matches the cabinetry in the kitchen for continuity.

Four years on, she used the Northern Hemisphere summer break to base herself in Perth and meet with architects for what would become a new build.

Kitchen joinery in ‘Eveneer’ wood veneer in EvenAlmond is repeated throughout.

Armed with a functional brief – a modern home that gave everyone their own space, but also the opportunity to be together; an outdoor area connecting with the indoors; and a lawn and pool – Stephanie appreciated the family-oriented approach of local architect John Lewis.

Centrally located, the living area is Stephanie’s ‘special place’ but is still close to the action. “It is my favourite room because it has a gorgeous aspect to the outdoors,” she says. “I can be sitting on the sofa and watch the kids in the pool, but still feel like I’m in my own sanctuary.”

“John has three daughters of similar ages to ours and has a background in construction,” she says. “He was also comfortable in working with us while we stayed in Hong Kong and he was in charge.” John’s design oriented the house to the northern boundary, to capture the morning sun.

The inspiration for the green theme came from Stephanie and Paul’s enthusiasm for the Schumacher velvet sample (seen covering the cushions on the sofas) that Emma showed them in the early stages of the project. None of the key pieces, such as the ‘Preston’ side unit in high-gloss Eucalyptus from Jardan, the velvet sofa, Sollos ‘Mad’ rattan lounge chair, artwork or ‘Milford’ rug from The Rug Establishment are an exact colour match, but they have a cohesive effect.

The ground floor is dedicated to family living, encompassing an open-plan living, dining and kitchen space opening to the outdoor pavilion, pool and backyard. Upstairs are three children’s bedrooms and a bathroom, as well as an adult’s retreat.

Direct access to the pool means Stephanie and Paul’s daughters Grace, Isabelle and Stella can move from indoor to outside without traipsing wet feet through the house. “It is a very practical area,” says Stephanie. “It gives the kids space and privacy but is close enough for us to keep an eye on them.” The drum side table was bought when the family lived in Hong Kong.

As the house neared completion, Stephanie and the girls returned to Perth permanently, with Paul going back and forwards. One of her first decisions concerned lighting and soft furnishings, prompting her to engage interior designer Emma Hann.

Rich, dark colours come out to play in the couple’s bedroom. A bamboo sheet set in Rush from Mulberry Threads, dark bedlinen and blanket from Bed Tonic, and inky bedside tables from Asbury Park offer grown-up glamour, while the ‘Mango Lassi’ artwork by Jane Tangney taps into the home’s touch-of-green theme.

“Stephanie has a slightly more traditional approach than Paul and wanted to inject warmth into the modern aesthetic,” says Emma. “Neither was afraid of colour, which made the process fun and opened up a range of possibilities.”

Dark cabinetry in the ensuite – Laminex ‘Impressions’ in Domain. For a hand-blown glass pendant light, try Lighting Collective.

The greatest use of colour is in the ground-floor formal living space, which is the highlight of an exquisite home that the family relishes every day. “We use every room,” says Stephanie.

Sophisticated, yet girlie, is how designer Emma describes the girls’ bathroom. “The combination of Mirage ‘Norr’ terrazzo splashback tiles from European Ceramics, Laminex ‘Impressions’ cabinetry in Elegant Oak and a Caesarstone ‘Organic White’ benchtop is timeless,” she says. A ‘Piper’ glass pendant from Jardan adds a sculptural form.

“It’s easy to entertain or feel cosy when we are alone. Best of all, we are close to family and giving our kids the Australian childhood we both had and loved.”

The girls had a say in their room’s design. Grace’s bed is upholstered in Warwick fabric.

“The green accent enhances the connection of the living area to the outdoors.” ~ Emma, interior designer

“We use every room in the house, and it works perfectly for everyone in our family.” ~ Stephanie

Summer or winter, rain or shine, this home’s outdoor room is a magnet for the entire family. Harbour Outdoor’s ‘Hayman’ lounge from Henri Living acts as the landing spot. To get a similarly relaxed luxe look, view the outdoor furniture range at Domayne. For a wide range of outdoor ceiling fans, try Bunnings.

“Before you start, understand every square centimetre of your plans. There will be areas open to interpretation, so work with people who will help you navigate them and engage in rational, logical discussion.” ~ Stephanie

“Work with people you trust, whose work you like, but who can deliver. Also, spend money where it will make the biggest impact.” ~ Stephanie

The entrance faces west but is oriented to the northern boundary to capture the sun.

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