Tropical dreaming The Byron Bay hills revitalise a family of four
A HOME IN THE HILLS ABOVE BYRON BAY PROVIDES THE IDEAL LIFESTYLE FOR THIS TREE-CHANGING FAMILY
POSITIVE OUTLOOK A perfect vantage point to take in sweeping views of
Byron Bay’s landscape (opposite), the kitchen window seat, which features classic timber moulding, was one of the key design features that homeowner Ange (pictured) and her family wanted to install. She chose lush green forest velvet from a local upholsterer to soften the space. “I love how it matches the outside,” she says. Ange, who designed the interiors herself, sourced the darktoned marble for the table and had local blacksmith Edward Blower from Eastern Forge create it. The tan leather chairs from Interiors Online reference the nearby Chesterfield and are a beautiful counterpoint to the green seating area.
High up on a hill in the hinterland of Byron Bay, New South Wales, looking towards the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean, is the home of Ange, her husband, Smiley, and their two children, Elliott, 11, and Cinnamon, eight. A sweeping driveway guides visitors to a main entrance that is both sophisticated and welcoming. Inside, candles are lit and music plays, there are sofas to sink into and youngsters run about freely. And then there is that vista towards the sea – perhaps one of the home’s best features. Yet, the view inside is just as spectacular. High ceilings abound in the upper-level living areas, and there’s a chic French country vibe that runs throughout, with more than the odd reference to fashion. This is no surprise considering Ange, who grew up nearby, and up until recently lived in Sydney with her family, is a freelance stylist and fashion designer for her business AC The Collection. “Fashion plays a big part in our styling and decor choices,” she says. “Art Deco and anything renaissance always resonates with me.” However, this two-storey ’80s home looked far from fashionable when the couple first bought it in 2014. “It had add-ons and areas within the home that didn’t quite flow,” recalls Ange. “I knew it was going to be a huge project, and at that stage my head wasn’t really around it at all.” Ange and Smiley, who commutes to Sydney to run Neon Records, Of Leisure and Peppermintblue Publishing, decided to live in the home for some time before making any significant changes. “We needed to see if this was really where we wanted to settle before we embarked on a huge renovation,” says the mum-of-two. The couple, who she admits “are not keen renovators”, eventually decided to take the plunge, and in early 2016 moved out with the children and dog for what was to be a nine-month renovation.
The former, rather dated, kitchen was poky and filled with timber cabinetry and lots of laminate. “The rooms were all quite boxed in and separate,” says Ange (pictured, with her son, Elliott). “Trying to give the home more flow was our goal.” Today, the kitchen features painted timber cabinetry in Dulux Oolong and Taubmans Crisp White, while overhead hangs a black trio pendant light from La Maison (for similar, try ‘Manor’ from Beacon Lighting). Adding further layers of sophistication are Fameg ‘Bentwood’ stools from Zanui, which Ange cut to the perfect height, and beautiful honed-marble benchtops.
The sumptuous velvet sofa with rolled arms stands in front of a timber-topped coffee table from Max Sparrow, one of Ange’s favourite stores. “I know my style – I don’t change it up too much,” she says. The tan leather armchair from Robertsons Furniture And Design (for similar, try the ‘Kent’ from Interiors Online) adds a masculine touch and reflects British-born Smiley’s penchant for English club furniture. The ontrend Art Deco-inspired bar cart is from Byron Bay Hanging Chairs.
In the main living areas, floors were ripped up and substituted with a concrete tile floorboard ingeniously laid in a herringbone pattern. “It’s practical and hard-wearing: cool in the summer, warm in the winter,” says Ange. Doors and windows were replaced, bathrooms made over and the exteriors painted in Colorbond’s chic ‘Gully’. Before the renovation, Ange wisely created a moodboard of what she envisaged for the home, which has evolved into a striking black-and-white palette inspired by European living, with touches of the unexpected – stand up, stunning Manhattan wallpaper feature wall in son Elliott’s room. Traditionally designed coffered ceilings in the living rooms also set the home apart, and today remain one of Ange’s favourite style features. “There is always a similarity in the homes we love and live in,” she says. “We tend to embrace classic detail and understated elegance with a distinct edge. I love anything with a touch of modern grandeur, but there always has to be a relaxed ambience and warmth to it.” While initially wanting a complete tree change further into the bush – “I was after a typical farmhouse with loads of ornate detail and character,” recalls Ange – she’s happy the family has landed here, only a few minutes’ drive from Byron. She’s particularly pleased with the investment they have made with the finer details of their lovely home. “These are areas that set your place apart,” she says. “Anyone can come in and style up a room to look good, but once everything is stripped back, there still needs to be a level of craftsmanship and polish.”
Ange installed gorgeous black-framed French windows and crafted coffered ceilings in the living area that adjoins the outdoors and pool zone. The look reminds her of European homes she’s stayed in over the years, and they also have an element of Hollywood glamour. “I love traditional architecture,” she says. The comfortable sofa, which the children (Cinnamon, pictured) often hang out on, and the textured railroad-inspired coffee table are from Robertsons Furniture And Design (for similar, try Temple & Webster), while the rug is from Tigmi Trading.
A classic black arched lamp
(for similar, try the ‘Fagen’) from Interiors Online adds a focal point to the light-filled dining room, which overlooks the pool. “This room has a nice energy and the added bi-fold at the back creates that indoor-outdoor living that is quintessentially Australian,” says Ange. The ‘Boston’ table is from Alfresco Emporium and the ‘American Oak Cross’ chairs are from Milano Republic.
“ALL OF MY INTERIOR STYLING HAS A fashion element TO IT SOMEHOW, FROM SHAPES AND colours TO THE BOOKS I HAVE LYING AROUND” ~ ANGE
In the parents’ retreat (top), lush velvet fabric in blush (for similar, try Warwick Fabrics) delivers a touch of luxury to a beautifully proportioned window seat, which is similar in style to the one near the kitchen. “I love this feature as a place to retreat,” says Ange. The pretty artworks are by Sarah Pook.
Ange wanted to create a chic bathroom (left) for the kids so they could grow into the space. A Klaylife beaded pendant hangs over a Victorian-style claw-foot bath from Cast Iron Baths. A Turkish towel from Hope & May adds a modern artisanal touch, offset by a silver Uashmama laundry bag.
Ange’s son, Elliott, wanted a room that felt like a New
York apartment. The striking city landscape creates the perfect backdrop to the industrial-style desk from La Maison (for similar, try the ‘Vintor Trunk’ from Zanui), while geometric bedlinen from Bed Bath N’ Table adds to the sophisticated city-look.
There was a surprising feature about the abode. “Pre-renovation, there was actually no front door!” says Ange. “I had to have a beautiful entrance – first impressions are everything.” Once inside, classic monochromatic tiles from Beaumont Tiles and grey walls set the scene for the rest of the house. Alongside the fabulous artwork ‘Crying Boy’ by local artist Shaol Minnikin sits a row of wall hooks from
Our Corner Store.
Brett Harley Constructions, 0429 321 440.
Aaron Fox Landscaping And Design, 0414 018 450.