Home Tour: An Art Deco-Inspired House In Sydney With Surprisingly Elegant Pink Rooms
Award-winning Australian designer Greg Natale is no stranger to sumptuous luxury, having earned plenty of accolades for his extravagant yet soothing interiors. This project, a home accommodating a family of five in Sydney, saw him working with clients with equally in-depth knowledge of opulence— Vince and Melissa Ciolino, the proprietors of Ciolino Constructions, a boutique firm that has built homes for some of Sydney’s best designers, including Natale himself.
“These clients are old friends of mine,” says Natale. “As well as being friends, they have a great understanding of design and construction. We have collaborated on bringing homes to life for many of my other clients. Having that easy, familiar and relaxed conversational level made it easier to cut through to the decision making—be it around structure, construction or aesthetics.”
In fact, it was one such collaboration that inspired the design concept for the clients’ home. “They had seen a house we had completed in Sydney’s Rose Bay that was in keeping with the style of the art deco period,” says Natale. “We decided to reference the house but accent this home with a blush pink palette rather than the blue that we had utilised previously.”
Designing the home required an intensive overhaul of the original structure. The house was initially a single-level brick bungalow typical of Sydney’s inner-west area, but Natale added a second storey, an extension at the back of the building, and a swimming pool. The structure was also remodelled into the desired art deco style with clean lines.
Certain additions called for complicated solutions. Installing the dramatic, custom-made spiral staircase, for instance, meant that the street had to be closed so a crane could lift the structure through a hole in the roof. At the same time, Natale and his team had to adhere to Sydney’s strict planning laws and regulations. “By expanding the size and amenities of this home, we had to work closely with the neighbours and local councils to ensure that the home remained sympathetic (to the local context),” he explains.
The palette started with the colour pink. “My clients were leaning towards the idea of a pink bathroom to start with, but then we decided to just go for it and make this a pink house!” recalls Natale. “Pink has always been one of my favourite colours, and the fun with this house was really demonstrating how a pink interior need not be off-putting or draw comparisons to Barbie.”
The bathroom is characterised by statement-making Moire glass mosaic tiles in rose that Natale designed for Italian company Bisazza. “I love the drama of the bathroom,” comments Natale. “We took so many big design risks there, combining the heroic Apaiser bath by Kelly Hoppen with my mosaic tiles. The result is so surprising and decadent.”
Elsewhere in the home, pink hues combine with more muted tones like grey to make for a calming yet distinctive look. The living room, dining room, kitchen and one of the bedrooms all enjoy soft pink walls with matching accents in the form of cushions or artworks. Meanwhile, the lounge employs a darker, moodier aesthetic. Metallic gold accents tie all the spaces together.
The home features gold accents and geometric details that hark to the art deco style
An array of decorative objects adds a quirky touch to the kitchen
A bespoke full-height oak cabinet keeps paraphernalia out of sight
Besides his ability to blend the tranquil with the dazzling, Natale is also well known for paying equally close attention to the specifics. “The devil is in the details!” he exclaims. “We are designers, so it’s our job to really consider every aspect of the interior, to layer a space, and to create atmosphere.”
This house exemplifies this approach, being carefully layered with a variety of materials, furnishings and accessories. Think marble and timber mingling with metals and glass, with both vintage and contemporary furniture pieces placed among them. A custom-made Carrara marble fireplace takes pride of place in the living area, while a Louise modern chandelier from James Said hangs above vintage Gigi Radice armchairs from Minotti.
The vintage Murano glass chandelier in the bedroom is a whimsical touch
Glass mosaic tiles form visually arresting motifs on the bathroom walls
This bathtub by Kelly Hoppen was inspired by the art of origami
The home also offered ample opportunity for Natale to leverage his company’s own collections and bespoke services. Besides the mosaic tiles in the bathroom, Greg Natale carpets feature in the living area and lounge, along with cabinetry and accessories. “I have a number of rug, tile and accessory collections that I was thrilled to customise or use as they are in this house,” he says. “Playing with colour and texture is great fun.”
Natale catered to the family’s love of entertaining with abundant public areas, but he also kept their needs for privacy in mind. This is an important point, considering that the couple has three sons, each with their own desire for a unique, personal space. “We designed the home so that each boy had room for peace and quiet and to get away from one another, then lots of communal family rooms where they could come together for meals, games and socialising,” explains Natale. Overall, the result is a home that’s both elegant and full of personality while also being soft, warm and inviting.