Toorak house - Modern grey and blue bedroom

REAL HOME: Swoon-blue, modern penthouse


Take a look inside a modern penthouse that features an interior design inspired by Swoon – a dramatic shade of cerulean blue.

Toorak house - Modern grey and blue bedroom

Toorak house Grey bedroom bright artwork Toorak house - Modern desk, grey chair

Toorak house - Modern dining room, blue chairs Toorak house - Modern dining room with blue chairs

Toorak house - Modern, open living room

Toorak house - Modern living room chair Toorak house - Modern hallway

This homeowner, who had previously lived overseas and travels extensively, has a great eye for fashion and design, so her search to find the appropriate interior designer was extensive. She wanted to furnish and decorate her newly built penthouse apartment, which was purchased off the plan from a developer and set in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Toorak with tree-top views. After several meetings with potential designers, the homeowner was finally referred to Christopher Elliott Design. From the onset, both saw eye to eye and the potential for great design was evident.

“The brief was to create a space that reflected the homeowner’s love of progressive luxurious design while remaining timeless and allowing future decorative embellishments,” says Christopher. “They wanted to personalise the space and ensure it was liveable and accommodated their lifestyle.”

The sophisticated three-bedroom apartment, built by Davies Henderson Builders, offers an open-plan living/dining area, entrance, study, retreat, terrace and balcony. All spaces (including the window treatments) were furnished and decorated by Christopher.

Working collaboratively, Christopher was able to incorporate his client’s ideas into the scheme, elevating the design to a new level. The catalyst and inspiration for the scheme was a particular shade of cerulean blue, humorously named Swoon, which the homeowner adored. “I developed the palette to include this dramatic colour, seen in the dining chairs, which complements the warm tones of the Eveneer Truffle veneer used throughout the apartment, in the kitchen and dining space,” says Christopher. “I specified durable materials throughout the apartment, particularly where it matters most — on the items of furniture that get a lot of use. Some of the other pieces of furniture that are more decorative required luxurious finishes, elevating the scheme without compromising on the practicalities.”

Much of the furniture was custom-made, with several pieces specifically designed by Christopher to accommodate the exacting quality requested. These pieces include the Blade dining table, the Look at me! mirror and C bedside table in the main bedroom, Block bedside table, custom-designed-and-made cylindrical pendant lights in the spare bedroom, and the Float table positioned in the retreat. He was also responsible for the custom-designed-and-made mirrored canopy in the dining space, with Tom Dixon Beat light fittings in various shapes mounted to it. In the main bedroom, spare bedroom and retreat, American oak veneer cabinetry was stained and custom designed by Christopher.

An original Hans Wegner rosewood sideboard is the pivotal element in the overall design, creating a harmonious balance between modern, tailored furniture and mid-20th-century design classics. By referencing the past and including authentic vintage designs, Christopher has brought character and charm to this contemporary space and the results speak for themselves.

He created a textured appearance on the walls, with a polished plaster finish in a custom colour in the living room surrounding the fireplace, randomly pleated/textured wallpaper by Marburg in the master bedroom, and Metallic Grass cloth wallpaper by Altfield in the spare bedrooms.

Excellent natural light filters throughout all rooms of the penthouse. “We just had to ensure the window treatments would provide adequate light control,” says Christopher. “We had issues with the main living space having a northerly aspect and the heat transference that emitted into the space. We not only installed motorised internal blinds, but also fitted external motorised louvres, which eliminated this problem. We went to great lengths to ensure the external louvres looked architecturally consistent with the building and appeared integrated with its design.

“The window treatments were very problematic because the pelmets were overdesigned in an attempted to conceal them, yet the architects hadn’t allowed for the practicalities of the actual window treatments. So in many cases, we had to reinforce the pelmets to provide enough fixing for the curtains and blinds or remove them altogether.”

The apartment is unquestionably extremely comfortable throughout, with “all the furniture needed to suit the spaces both aesthetically and functionally”, according to Christopher. “Comfort was a major consideration and is integral to my design ethos, so it goes without saying really. It functions very well as an entirety. There are numerous places to feel intimate and secluded, as well as large open-plan areas for living and entertaining.”

Christopher’s favourite aspect of the apartment is the open-plan living and dining space. “The furniture and decoration really breathe life and warmth into what could have been a cold space,” says Christopher. “It is just so inviting to relax here and enjoy the gorgeous tree-topped vista. Thankfully, the space was well proportioned to begin with but what really makes it is the personality of its inhabitants. It was an absolute pleasure working with these homeowners.

And from the homeowner’s perspective, “Our experience with Christopher and his wonderful design concepts was both professional and inspirational, especially when faced with the daunting and overwhelming task of furnishing a large penthouse. The end result is a unique, relaxed space that is functional, practical and ‘on trend’ with our current lifestyle. He uses top-quality suppliers and craftsmen for all of his eclectic furniture selections. I would recommend Christopher’s talent and passion for interior design. It was a journey that we loved sharing and the outcome is lavish perfection.”

Style notes:

  • Furnishing and decoration of a newly built penthouse apartment in Toorak, with tree-top vistas.
  • The brief to interior designer Christopher Elliott was to create a space that reflected the homeowner’s love of progressive luxurious design while remaining timeless and allowing for future decorative embellishments.
  • The apartment offers an open-plan living/dining space, entrance, study, retreat, main bedroom, two spare bedrooms, terrace and balcony
  • The catalyst for the scheme was a particular dramatic cerulean blue colour, named Swoon, which the homeowner adored.
  • Much of the furniture was custom-made, with several pieces specifically designed by interior designer Christopher Elliott.

By Danielle Townsend
Photography by Sharyn Cairns
From Home Design magazine Vol. 16 No. 3