Situated on the Brisbane River, this brand-new ground-floor apartment had a very neutral palette, which included natural limestone floors and cream walls. While it was well built and well designed, the apartment was missing those splashes of colour and personalised pieces which stamp an owner’s identity on it and bring a space to life. Interior designer John Croft, of award-winning Brisbane firm John Croft Design, was engaged to carry out the interior design on the threebedroom, three-bathroom home, assisted by designer Craig Rogerson.
Fortunately, the client and John had built a relationship when John worked on a previous home for him, but this time the client was moving far away from his usual style. “This was an existing client — we knew each other from a previous project. He has a place out of town which is very traditional — an old Queenslander with a very formal feel. But here in the city he wanted something very different, like nothing else he’s had,” John says. “The apartment has a very open feeling; it’s light and has walls of floor-to-ceiling doors, which open out to the river. It’s very simple and very contemporary.” The client usually stays once a week at his “city pad”. Of the three bedrooms, one is furnished with two single beds, one has a queen bed, and then there’s the master suite. Each is also served by an ensuite bathroom. In the master bedroom suite there is no female presence, which meant the owner could make design choices to please himself. “There wasn’t a female contributing her ideas, just a male,” says John.
“It’s not often you get that. Being a single man, we couldn’t do your usual bedroom for him. When you are designing a bedroom for a male and a female, both have to agree on the look. “For a male to have a soft bedroom would feel wrong, so here we used elements such as walls finished in an aqua metallic hand-brushed effect for a very masculine feel, and mirrored bedside tables. We also incorporated a velour bedhead with silver studs, dark colours and a leopard skin at the foot of the bed, on a bench from the same range as a chair which sits in the corner of the bedroom. It’s very moody and exciting.” The selection of dark curtains, rug, bedside lamps and quilt combine well together, while blue cushions on the bed pick up on the aqua walls behind. The chair in the corner features stainless-steel legs and arms, and is covered in an exquisite black leather, adding to the room’s dark and moody appeal. It’s this space which has especially captured John’s heart. “My favourite part of the apartment is the master bedroom because it’s different; it has a lovely mood and a nice feel. We’re not often able to create bedrooms like that. You can go in there and hide!” he says. The dining space was required to be very open.
However, selecting the right pieces was crucial. “The client was very nervous about going into a contemporary look as he had never done that before,” says John. To conquer this, elements were included such as the desk, sideboard and coffee table in a very classic shape. The dining table features a highgloss stain to make it contemporary. “He liked the first table we presented but it wasn’t exciting, so we designed one with a zebra veneer, black and ivory with stainless-steel legs,” says John. The addition of lime-green upholstered chairs is another way the dining suite is far from ordinary. Over the dynamic dining table sits a piece of artwork by Kim Kennedy — a collection of six panels including a violin, clock, flowers, cow and apple. Behind it, an aqua wall delivers an amazing contrast, a colour that is repeated on various walls throughout the apartment. An eye-catching piece chosen for the entry is the carefully positioned black timber cabinet with red leather drawers. The deep red contrasts with the aqua feature wall behind, creating a very colourful entry point to the apartment. In a nod to the apartment’s neutral beginnings, white leather couches were selected for the lounge area and media room, complemented with vibrant rugs and cushions which offer accents of colour. The media room is a lovely retreat where one can spend an afternoon or evening watching DVDs, thanks to the top-of-the-line Bang & Olufsen equipment. John had the media room repainted dark chocolate to make it a cosy space.
The lime-green rug with touches of cream and chocolate was custom-made and coloured. “It’s a very contemporary, gorgeous design,” he says. An interesting artwork by US Craig Alan titled Urban Knight is placed above the dark-chocolate storage unit. The kitchen leads to the outdoor area overlooking the river, to a 10-person rattan dining setting — the perfect place to indulge in riverside entertaining. “The owner is very lucky, as being on the ground floor he has a small garden adjacent to the unit, so the outlook is onto both the garden and the river,” John says. The project was completed in approximately three to four months and furniture was custom-made and imported to create the perfect look. One minor challenge encountered, which John and assistant Craig handled with style, was a massive concrete column (approximately 700mm x 500mm) in the dining/lounge area. John mirrored its four sides. “Now you don’t see it, but if left off-white it would have been very noticeable,” says John. Fortunately there were no great problems encountered with this project. “It was very well considered before we started work,” says John. “We had a really good client, although very nervous at the beginning because it’s very different to his usual style. But he was accepting and trusted us. And that’s what our business is about — trust.”