Biscayne was designed for living. Every aspect of the home, from the floor plan to the hard finishes and appliances, from the furniture and soft furnishings to the landscape design, each element was carefully curated to create a relaxed formality, a resort-style atmosphere and a gracious family home.
Whilst the kitchen is the heart of the home, the living areas are where we entertain guests in comfort or kick off our shoes and cuddle up in a cosy space. It was really important to me that we designed two distinct living zones that were interconnected, light and bright, and created this sense of comfort and cosiness, and a relaxed intimacy for entertaining.
Closing in the veranda allowed me to create what I love to call ‘The Den’ – a room that has a really relaxed nooshy feel. Whilst it’s an internal room that could feel dark and oppressive, by removing the original 1980s double doors and raising the glazing to overhead height, the space became filled with natural light. The change was unbelievable, creating a cocooning affect that feels light, bright and welcoming.
Life gets so busy – spending time with extended family and friends, with work and homework and with the domestic duties of life. Our home becomes a sanctuary, an escape from the world. Whilst our bedrooms are a personal private space, it’s so important to create a place in the home where the family can relax together. The den is our family space, where we spend valuable down time playing board games or watching TV. Where we snuggle up on the sofa and sink into the joy of our united comfort zone.
The den has such a perfect balance of textural materials that blend together to form a sensory cocoon of Caribbean Colonial bliss. By linking the den to the formal living room via a large archway, we not only created a sense of connection and space, we facilitated a way for sunshine to stream in through the rear windows and filter natural light throughout both living spaces.
The formal living area is one of my favourite rooms in Biscayne. It has such a sophisticated elegance with fresh white walls, curtains and upholstery that add a touch of Mediterranean influence. Whilst white can be a difficult choice for some, particularly for upholstery, I have always been a risk taker and I believe this choice brought the room to life.
I introduced my passion for British Colonial, with its sense of history, collection and curation, with a mixture of furniture and materials from different cultures and countries, and added a Caribbean vibe that adds to the “Caribbean Colonial” aesthetic of the home – dark timber floors, indoor plants and loads of filtered sunshine.
I love the way we used quite polarising materials for the living spaces. Dark natural timber layered with textural sisal that is layered with a handmade silk rug (that we designed in house) and a stunning graphic marble coffee table. In theory these contrasting and conflicting textures might not work, so it’s very gratifying when a challenging design specification comes together to create such beauty.
The jewellery for every room in Biscayne is the lighting. This is particularly evident in the living areas where I needed beautiful multi-functional lighting that made a statement. Lighting in a living room needs to create a mood and atmosphere (for watching movies and for entertaining), and also needs to provide enough light for reading and playing games. We worked closely with Marie and Gino from The Montauk Lighting Co. who are our go-to lighting experts for so many of our projects. Their collection of lighting is beyond compare because of their extensive range and the access they have to lights from some of the world’s leading designers.
We always encourage our clients to include beautiful lighting in their budget. It really adds personality and an emotional connection to each space. From flush mounted ceiling lights and pendants, to wall sconces and table lamps, the statement pieces we selected reflect the design philosophy of the home.
No detail was left to chance in Biscayne. I really believe in investing in those features that you touch and feel every single day, like the door hardware. I wanted every door handle to feel really special. We love working with Jay from Domino Brass, who we knew would offer the perfect door hardware solution for the Caribbean Colonial aesthetic. She developed a design with her team specially for Biscayne that has a Regency feel reflective of Floridian design – with an incredible aged patina that makes the door hardware feel like its always been part of the home.
One of the main design challenges I faced with Biscayne was that the stairwell void faced the back of the home. A staircase usually comes off an entry, leading you upstairs as you walk into a home. So we were faced with a design dilemma.
We knew that any structural alteration was going to blow out our timeline and our budget. So like many of our clients who work to a budget and timeline on their own projects, we had to compromise and make the stairwell work in its original position.
To add flair I worked with a good friend of mine, Mark Hodgson from Carpet World, to design the mot incredible stair runner. Bringing in the pink and blue used throughout the home, the stair runner became a key feature and made a statement in this functional space. And when you walk up the stairs to the top landing, natural light floods into the home from the north-facing windows. The light dances across the room.
Biscayne is like my ultimate design candy shop. It features so many of my all time favourite natural materials, architectural features and design details. From beautiful rich timber floors to textural sisal to handmade KWD & Co. silk rugs, Biscayne is a family home with layer upon layer of texture and tone, and I couldn’t be more proud of the way in which our vision of a ‘Caribbean Colonial’ home came to life.
There are very few projects we work on that don’t involve design difficulties and challenges that require compromise. However if you work with solution-centric professionals, and you remain open-minded and nimble, you will always reach a result that achieves your end goal.
A house becomes a home when it is layered with a tapestry of your life. Creating vignettes of collectibles, displaying family photos, framing children’s artwork, setting memorabilia under glass cloches and featuring furniture, decorative items and fabrics that you have collected over time, that’s what brings a home to life and makes it uniquely yours.
What I love
I love a bar cart! Whether it’s a vintage piece you have discovered in an antique store or a contemporary bar cart you have found online, displaying your bottles of spirits, decanters and beautiful glassware adds such elegance to a room.
Images: Armelle Habib / Photo shoot styling: Greenhouse Interiors
A heartfelt thank you to our valued supply partners and trades who helped me bring the vision of Biscayne to life:
|Rod Hannah Design||rodhannahandassociates.com.au|
|Lynch’s Window Fashions||lynchswindowfashions.com.au|
|The Montauk Lighting Co.||montauklightingco.com|
|The English Tapware Company||englishtapware.com.au|
|Domino Architectural Fittings||dominobrass.com.au|
|The Nursery Co.||thenurseryco.com.au|
|Gladstones Granite & Marble||gladstonesgranite.com.au|
|RMS Natural Stone TBC||rmsnaturalstone.com|
|Morgan’s Painters and Decorators||morganpd.com.au|
|Classic with a Twist||classicwithatwist.com.au|
|The Lens Collective||thelenscollective.com.au|
|Edward Pope (artist)||edwardpope.com.au|
|Red Hill Country Gates||gates.net.au|
|Gregory Croxford Living||gregorycroxfordliving.com.au|