Perched atop 17 acres overlooking the Moreton Bay Islands, the Redland Residence by Darren James Interiors saw the designers craft a contemporary, character-filled home from within the dated original house. The result is a project that makes the most of remarkable natural environment in which the Redland Bay Residence rests.
When the clients purchased the property, they saw past the 1990s house that occupied the site and recognised the inherent potential to create their dream ‘forever home’. Studio director and co-founder Darren James explains that “the existing house was quite dated, featuring a lot of 90s-style joinery, flooring and overall colour scheme, however, it had an open plan set out and panoramic view over the bay to Stradbroke Island that the clients fell in love with.”
He goes on to explain that the outdoors and Australian natural environment had always been important to the clients, “so it was crucial from the beginning that the home would fit seamlessly into the landscape, celebrate the lush views and strongly reflect the clients’ desire for natural materials.” In addition to opening up the interior to the expansive views that had initially captured the clients’ imagination, Darren James Interiors created a scheme inspired by and reflective of the Australian bush, with neutrals and muted earthy tones contrasting against mustards, greens and purples.
To further enhance a sense of place, in selecting the furnishings Darren layered the interior with both Australian made pieces and unique custom selections. He explains that through this, “we were able to capture a timeless aesthetic that celebrates the art of local craftsmanship.” Rugs by Designer Rugs featured throughout the space are predominantly from the Hare + Klein collections that draw inspiration from the Australian landscape. “This story complements the overall vision for the space and the earthy muted tones complement the hard surface selections and overall aesthetic. The mix of hemp, wool and silk add layer and texture to the space and softens the hardness of the tiles,” Darren says.
Darren James Interiors choose to use Designer Rugs in many of their projects. “We love that they are a family business and have a physical presence locally. The service they provide us as a studio is friendly, knowledgeable and down to earth,” Darren says. In addition to this, he reflects that as a manufacturer, Designer Rugs collaborate with some of the best designers in Australia, creating an extensive range of choice. He continues, “Additionally, we like that we can work with Designer Rugs to create our own custom pieces for specific spaces, either from scratch or by reworking colours in their existing house collections.”
While select rugs and furnishings provide an Australian connection to the interior, the designers were also influenced by the clients’ large collection of antiques gathered on their travels around the world. These heirloom antique pieces imbue the home with a character and aesthetic that is unique to the project, a true reflection of the home’s inhabitants. “We integrated many of the clients’ key sentimental items to retain a sense of home throughout and layered Australian made pieces, heirloom items and international designer furniture to capture a timeless aesthetic that celebrates the art of local craftsmanship with the flair of international design,” Darren reflects.
Beyond reflecting the clients’ love of international travel, Australian design and the site in which the house rests, the clients requested a home that could cater for their frequent large family gatherings and in particular, they emphasised the kitchen as a key focus of the design. “We delivered a true statement kitchen that is both luxurious and liveable. The beautiful combination of finishes, from the porcelain panel-clad island bench to the solid walnut servery, makes the space a rich exploration of materiality,” explains Darren.
Customisation is evident in all areas of the kitchen, from the bespoke brass table legs, powder coated handles and concealed drink station to the timber tables, and built-in bench seating. A combination of seating options in the space allowed for the “whole tribe of grandkids,” and the linear design extends the kitchen to connect with the expansive new outdoor entertainment area and the landscape beyond.
The ensuite, too, has become a feature of the new design. “The original bathroom had quite a lot of heavy built-in elements, so the clients desired to have a lighter, more seamless flow around the room,” says Darren. A long, open walk-in shower and adjacent wall-hung vanity both feature double his-and-hers basins and showerheads, “and are positioned in a way which draws the direction from the entry to the atrium then down along the two parallel spaces. This flow in the plan creates an inviting atmosphere and caters to the ease of use the clients were wanting, while subtly embodying the flow from exterior to interior,” he explains.
The glazed roof and walls of the atrium surrounding the bath make bathing an experience that is immersed in the natural environment. The materiality of the space, filled with striking Spanish marble-esque tiles and natural timber, creates a powerful interior that balances the indoor with the strength of the outdoor environment that becomes almost a part of the ensuite itself. This is complemented by the Landscape rug from the Hare & Klein Designer Rugs collection, a hand-knotted rug in Tibetan wool, silk and hemp whose subtle variation in pattern and tone is reminiscent of both the natural variation in the tiling and the dappled light of the landscape outside.
In every aspect, The Redland Bay Residence is the fully-realised result of the clients’ original vision for the site. Successfully transcending the limitations of the original house to respond to the unique location, the new design by Darren James does the natural beauty of the view justice. And through the curation of both the client’s beloved worldly antique collection and unique, contemporary Australian design with the use of Designer Rugs pieces that complement the interior, the design reflects the clients’ love of both travel and the place they now call home.