Inside Out (Australia)

STYLE CENTRAL

The West Australian founders of Empire homewares used their profession­al expertise to create a breathtaki­ngly lovely home by the sea

- WORDS JACKIE BRYGEL PHOTOGRAPH­Y JODY D’ARCY STYLING ANGELA KINNEY AND SAMANTHA TATULLI

Everything has meaning in Jill and Perry Coleman’s beautiful and beguiling home by the sea in Western Australia. Jill is a passionate collector who founded popular interiors brand Empire homewares with Perry almost three decades ago, and has brought her muchimitat­ed style to this incredible house. Cocooned in greenery beside the white sands of Geographe Bay, it’s a serene sanctuary filled with intriguing one-of-a-kind pieces that tell a uniquely personal tale and cast a spell on all who visit.

It’s been 16 years since the couple, now grandparen­ts, set up home in this very special part of the world. “At the time,” says Jill, “there was an old house here. It had problems and needed to be brought up to scratch. But we loved the position – right on the water, just 10 metres to the beach. You couldn’t get any closer really. We lived in the house, doing bits and pieces, for years. Eventually, I drew up a plan for a major renovation, but no-one could really give me a price for it.”

Six years ago, the Colemans decided the time had come to build a new house on their perfectly located block and, while

Jill called on the expertise of their family friend, semi-retired Eagle Bay architect Mario Bernardi, for the project, she knew exactly where to source inspiratio­n for the two-storey design. “Over the years I have travelled a lot with my work, and I particular­ly love the Mediterran­ean,” she says. “I’ve always admired the homes in that part of the world and their clean lines. I also love the work of modernist architect Richard Neutra and the residences he built in the California­n desert. But I really

“Aside from green, my other love is pink. I guess that’s the Mediterran­ean influence. It softens everything” JILL COLEMAN, FURNITURE RETAILER/OWNER

wanted this place to be an eclectic reflection of my travels, and for it to feel like a very beachy house.”

Purist in design and free-flowing in nature, this is indeed a home at one with its pristine landscape. A raw palette and artisan finishes, from exposed concrete flooring to rammedeart­h walls, imbue each space with a strong sense of organic materialit­y. There are open-plan living areas overlookin­g the ocean downstairs, along with three bedrooms and ensuites, a media room and a plant-filled atrium. Upstairs is the main bedroom suite, a home office, an art space and a rooftop terrace.

Throughout, consistent splashes of Jill’s favourite hues – emerald green and blush pink – come to the fore, while expanses of glass usher in light and views. There are also many eye-catching design elements, including the arched walkway under the stairs and the monumental yet fully retractabl­e timber and glass door (designed by Perry) that makes an indelible impression in the foyer. “That door is such a feature,” says Jill, “as are the recycled teak doors at the entrance to the courtyard.”

When the time came to decorate, Jill says the process was a little more taxing than she anticipate­d. “It’s a funny thing, but I could probably walk into someone else’s home and know exactly what pieces they could add, or what I’d do. But with my own home, I found it quite challengin­g. I think it’s because the house doesn’t have a lot of walls available. I had to place things that I knew had a real reason to be there – and I had to really love them. Even now, I’m still adding and changing things.”

Jill and Perry’s daughter, Elissa Coleman, who is the creative director of the brand and now CEO of the five Empire retail spaces across WA, sums up the overall look. “My mother wanted the interior spaces to mirror the surroundin­g landscape, so a coastal palette has been used throughout. A monochroma­tic scheme can appear flat, so she created layers of textures using soft fabrics such as linens and wools for depth and interest.

The palette also forms a seamless and beautiful canvas for my family’s favourite objects and collection­s. And because she loves to decorate, the interior spaces are always evolving.”

Ditto for the outdoor spaces. Jill is a keen gardener and felt it was important for the house to “grow into itself”, too. Thriving plantings of low-maintenanc­e succulents and cacti bring a life-affirming sense of movement to the house and garden, creating a continuous link between them.“It’s like an oasis now,” she says. “The cacti have gone crazy in the courtyard and I love that. It’s also a very cool home in summer, with all of the concrete, and in winter we have the big open fire. In autumn, the weather is just beautiful every day.”

Above all, this home offers an effortless welcome to family and friends, especially the ones who get to stay. “We wanted to build a beach house that would be easy to live in and enjoy with those we love,” says Jill. “This place isn’t pretentiou­s or precious – it’s very much a ‘people’ house.”

Empire has a huge range of furniture and accessorie­s across its stores.

See more at empirehome­wares.com.au or @empirehome­wares

“We don’t have any chrome here — it’s all aged brass. I didn’t want the house to be shiny in any way so I opted to keep everything quite organic” JILL

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 ??  ?? MAIN ENTRANCE (both pages) The chair above sits to the right of the hall table, and the passage leads to the home’s media room. Outside the window is a spectacula­r group of staghorn ferns that form a natural backdrop for the room’s aged timber, concrete and organic fabrics. The console is a one-off bleached-teak piece Jill found in India on one of her overseas buying trips. Much of her home’s contents was, at some point, sold by, or sourced through, Empire.
MAIN ENTRANCE (both pages) The chair above sits to the right of the hall table, and the passage leads to the home’s media room. Outside the window is a spectacula­r group of staghorn ferns that form a natural backdrop for the room’s aged timber, concrete and organic fabrics. The console is a one-off bleached-teak piece Jill found in India on one of her overseas buying trips. Much of her home’s contents was, at some point, sold by, or sourced through, Empire.
 ??  ?? LIVING AREA (above) All the furniture is from Empire, while the rug is by Armadillo. Sergio antique mindi wood and rattan buffet. Yuki modular sofa and chaise. Brass and marble side table. Bespoke reclaimed teak root coffee table. Leather pouf. Artwork, vintage. ENTRANCE (below) A print by Stuart Cantor evokes the old-school Mediterran­ean glamour Jill loves. Vintage cabinet, Empire. MAIN BEDROOM (below) This sitting area features Empire’s Parakeet linen sofa and marble and brass Flower coffee table. Extra cushions, House Of Casa. Antique marble sculptural figures, a special find in Hong Kong.
LIVING AREA (above) All the furniture is from Empire, while the rug is by Armadillo. Sergio antique mindi wood and rattan buffet. Yuki modular sofa and chaise. Brass and marble side table. Bespoke reclaimed teak root coffee table. Leather pouf. Artwork, vintage. ENTRANCE (below) A print by Stuart Cantor evokes the old-school Mediterran­ean glamour Jill loves. Vintage cabinet, Empire. MAIN BEDROOM (below) This sitting area features Empire’s Parakeet linen sofa and marble and brass Flower coffee table. Extra cushions, House Of Casa. Antique marble sculptural figures, a special find in Hong Kong.
 ??  ??
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 ??  ?? DINING Green has been used to stunning effect with these hand-cut Emerald vases. The custom teak dining table, Breuer chairs and double hanging chair (outside) are also from Empire. ENTRANCE (opposite left) At the back of the stairs is the timber door designed by Perry. The sculpture next to it is vintage Indonesian. KITCHEN (opposite right) Jill is a great cook and wanted a kitchen she’d love to spend time in. She specified herringbon­e teak for the island front and Carrara marble for the benchtop. Gras N313 pendant lights, Spence & Lyda. Bar stools, Mushroom lamp and Smoke glass vase, all Empire.
DINING Green has been used to stunning effect with these hand-cut Emerald vases. The custom teak dining table, Breuer chairs and double hanging chair (outside) are also from Empire. ENTRANCE (opposite left) At the back of the stairs is the timber door designed by Perry. The sculpture next to it is vintage Indonesian. KITCHEN (opposite right) Jill is a great cook and wanted a kitchen she’d love to spend time in. She specified herringbon­e teak for the island front and Carrara marble for the benchtop. Gras N313 pendant lights, Spence & Lyda. Bar stools, Mushroom lamp and Smoke glass vase, all Empire.
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 ??  ?? MAIN BEDROOM (above) Just inside the suite’s entrance are two gorgeous Empire pieces, the Louis mirror and Cuban low buffet, plus a studded brass pot. Tapestry bed and Mushroom lamp, also Empire. Gras wall light, Spence & Lyda. Bed linen, Society Of Wanderers. GUEST ENSUITE (opposite) Jill chose hand-cut glazed tiles from Italy for the feature wall at the back of the shower. Retreat mirror, Empire. Tapware, Astra Walker. Towels, Missoni and Bemboka.
MAIN BEDROOM (above) Just inside the suite’s entrance are two gorgeous Empire pieces, the Louis mirror and Cuban low buffet, plus a studded brass pot. Tapestry bed and Mushroom lamp, also Empire. Gras wall light, Spence & Lyda. Bed linen, Society Of Wanderers. GUEST ENSUITE (opposite) Jill chose hand-cut glazed tiles from Italy for the feature wall at the back of the shower. Retreat mirror, Empire. Tapware, Astra Walker. Towels, Missoni and Bemboka.

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