Natalie Bassingthwaighte’s beautiful Melbourne home reflects the entertainment all-rounder’s innate sense of style, and shows her partiality for changing rooms goes way back.
Natalie, her husband Cameron and their children Hendrix and Harper, love their Melbourne home. “It felt so right as soon as we saw it and the kids absolutely love it,” says Natalie. Wander down the hallway and you’ll come to a living area as bright and sunny as Natalie herself. Glass doors open out to a sun-soaked paved alfresco area and pool, bordered by a towering conifer hedge. “I just love the home’s energy and the fact that the outside greenery shines through,” she says.
Every now and then, often without warning, Natalie is overcome by a powerful impulse. For the talented actor, singer, TV host, children’s wear creator and mum of two, resistance proves futile. She simply has to surrender to the urge to shuffle around pieces – sometimes even entire rooms – in her red-brick, century-old home in a Melbourne beachside suburb. “I suddenly get inspired and want to change everything,” she says.
In its previous life, the dramatic lounge room was a boys’ bedroom. “It originally had these big old medieval-style curtains with all-white walls,” Natalie recalls. “We changed the carpet, painted the walls [in Dulux ‘Namadji’], did up the fireplace and added new curtains. Now I love the feeling in here.”
“I like to flip rooms, move a couch or add new cushions. I get so much enjoyment out of it.”Natalie Bassingthwaite
“I love the renovating and decorating process so much.”
It’s this passion for cool, savvy style that led the one-time Gold Logie nominee and Rogue Traders lead singer to recently fulfil another long-held dream. Natalie’s children’s clothing label Chi Khi – featuring urban, unisex designs made from bamboo and cotton is thriving. “To be able to see your ideas come to life is really special,” she says. “I’m almost playing the director this time, as opposed to being the character.”
Natalie and Cameron oversaw a five-month renovation of their home, which included a wall being knocked out to transform a bedroom into the couple’s dressing-room and ensuite.
“Cam and I love art, and this painting is our favourite piece,” says Natalie of the Fiona Lowry artwork above their bed. “All our friends pitched in to buy it for us for our wedding and then, two years later, Fiona won the Archibald. It’s very special to us.”
Flooded with light, Natalie’s study features a contemporary glass desk from Coco Republic and a moodboard with Chi Khi fabric swatches. But, as with many of the rooms in the home, this wasn’t its first incarnation. “Harper’s bedroom was originally my office, but then she said, ‘I want my bedroom in there.’ Like Mum, she wanted a change, so we moved all her things into the office,” explains Natalie. “My office then moved into Hendrix’s room and Hendrix moved into the front room. My friends come over and say, ‘It’s all different again!’ ”
An all-white foundation in the wall colour provides a blank canvas for fun pops of colour in artwork and fun furnishings. The ‘Leander’ cot grows with Natalie’s children by converting to a bed.
“Cam and I go to house auctions to sticky-beak at the design. We’ll be like, ‘Let’s do that!’ ”Natalie
Have you always loved interiors?
“Yes, I’ve always admired architecture and design. I started doing an interior design course by correspondence – something I’d always wanted to do – when I was pregnant. I was really enjoying it, but then I had Harper and I never finished it. I probably will one day, maybe when I’m a bit older. I think it’s something I’d really love to dabble in more.”
How would you describe your style?
“It’s always changing, depending on my mood. But it is quite clean and minimal, I guess. I love to buy hero pieces and highlight those.”
How have your style and taste evolved over the years?
“They are constantly evolving as I see more and more spaces that I love.”
Do you and Cameron agree on decorating decisions?
“We agree on most of them. We are in sync, but the difference is usually the budget. We’ll go into a shop and there could be two almost identical items and I’ll say, ‘No, it’s definitely that one’ and, of course, it’s $1000 more expensive!”
Favourite way to spend a Sunday morning?
“Sunday morning is all about being with the family. If we’re not at home, we’re somewhere close by, wandering around and having brunch. Sunday is my favourite day.”
Could this be the house you never want to leave?
“I never say never. I love architecture so much that I sometimes think I would like to live in something really modern.”
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