This is my forever home,” says Sue, the owner of this sprawling six-bedroom, three-level mansion in Melbourne’s south-east. It has certainly served her well so far. She bought it with her then husband back in 1993 and it has witnessed her raising six children, with three daughters in their 20s still under its roof. But don’t expect empty-nester woes from her – she wants it to become intergenerational, catering for the comings and goings of not only her adult children, but also prospective grandchildren and perhaps her elderly father, too.
Little wonder Sue wanted it decorated in a timeless style that would last the distance. And what could be a better choice for that than classic Hamptons for this, its third iteration? The first, in 1995, saw it dramatically transformed from a Californian bungalow to the three-storey, Victorian-inspired home you see today. Second time round, the interiors were decked out in a neo-colonial look, with polished timbers, festoon curtains, velvets and burgundies.
But by 2018, it was time for a fresh start. She started by designing the reno herself, with the help of architectural designer Fine Line Building Design. But, finding herself stuck, she called in interior designer Melissa Balzan, of Melissa Balzan Design, to help her vision become a reality. “Sue hadn’t put the name to it, but Hamptons closely resembled what she put in her brief, with lots of clean white, contrasted with blue (her favourite colour) and shaker panelling,” says Melissa.
First up, the ground floor was gutted, leaving a formal living and bedroom at the front, but adding an ensuite to the latter, as this is earmarked as the main bedroom if Sue can no longer tackle the stairs – it truly is her forever home – or if her father moves in. Behind those rooms sits a new, light-filled open-plan space. At right angles to that, a rear wing features a games room, where was once a bedroom, and spa.
“My previous kitchen was all-timber and quite dark,” says Sue. “I wanted my new one to be white, bright and welcoming.” Shaker joinery, complete with glass fronts, in crisp Dulux Natural White, is offset by the blue and white urns and ginger jars, from Cromwell, and engineered timber floors in colour 28 from French Oak Floors. “I wanted this room to look fresh and completely different to what I originally had … a place where we could all gather round and just be,” says Sue. The ‘Fullerton’ dining chair, from Xavier Furniture, has been recovered in Diane Bergeron ‘Capri’ fabric – in blue and white, of course! Benchtops in Caesarstone ‘Frosty Carrina’ and Franke appliances from E&S complete the picture.
The informal living area is a gathering place, not just for the family, but also for Sue’s precious collectables, fully on show with in-built shelving. “Comfort and space were critical, as, when my children and their partners visit, there are many of us. And I wanted everything to be practical as well as beautiful, as a house should be used, not just admired,” says Sue of her design wish list.
The living room at the front of the home features the same Dulux Natural White half-strength walls with inky-blue contrasts for a more formal take on the Hamptons aesthetic. “This is a room for reading or having friends over,” says Sue. “There is no TV.”
On the first floor, a bedroom was sacrificed to create a powder room and enlarge the existing bathroom, leaving five bedrooms on that level, a rumpus and office. The top floor, with home theatre and storage, was untouched. To future-proof the home, two bedrooms have been sacrificed, while three extra bathrooms and new recreational spaces have taken their place.
The pale blue walls, in a Porter’s Paints custom colour, create a tranquil haven in Sue’s favourite hue. Meanwhile, the butterfly prints from Designer Boys Art and a painting by Felicity McCreadie from Rose St Trading Co introduce natural motifs. The custom headboard is in Nine Muses ‘Charman Sripe’ from Tigger Hall. “This is my very own space that plays on my favourite colour, blue, and a love of nature,” says Sue.
As well as a new kitchen and bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows were replaced with bench seats in the two front rooms, “because I love a bench seat. And I love to sit there and read a book,” says Sue.
“My home gives me great joy and I am so happy with the result,” Sue says. “I did not seek a specific look, just a classic house that would not date, and take me through the years to come. But, due to the colours and finishes I have selected, I have achieved the Hamptons look, which I am proud of and I love.” And now potentially four generations of her family, young, and old, can share in the result.
Interior design: Melissa Balzan Design, 0400 645 745, melissabalzandesign.com.
Architectural design: Fine Line Building Design, (03) 9591 0144, fineline.net.au.
Builder: By George Investments, 0418 104 311, bygeorgeinvestments.com.au.
Landscaper: David Manning Landscaping, 0438 296 570.
Get the look:
The perfect foil for a neutral sofa, stylish comfort awaits your living room in the home with a pop of colour a classic blue and white floral pattern of this timeless armchair. SHOP NOW
Anchor your dining space in true Hamptons style with this textured chunky mango wood dining table. Measurement W200 x H90 x D100cm. SHOP NOW
Nothing says The Hamptons more than a ginger jar. This versatile shape can go anywhere in the home – kitchen, entrance hall, living room or bookcases all benefit from this shapely form. Fill with flowers, group in a vignette or turn it into a vase! SHOP NOW
Also available in a soft Duck Egg Blue, the soft curves of this curvy, Hamptons-style table lamp are elevated from the surface by a clear perspex base that makes it ‘float’ above the surface. Topped with a crisp white cotton shade place it on a living room console, hallway or bedside. SHOP NOW
Form and function go hand-in-hand with this robust tapware. As something you handle 100s of times every day, it’s worth investing in the best to make a statement (and life a little easier!) SHOP NOW