House Design

home magazine welcome to the dark sides

Written by The ReReport

The brief the owners of this apartment at Erskineville gave to interior designer Greg Natale was not exactly standard. But then, it”™s fair to say there”™s nothing standard about this project.Greg had already designed a house for his old school mate Anthony Semann about 10 years ago when Anthony spotted this off-the-plan apartment in a low-rise block close to the city designed by renown Melbourne design team, Hecker Guthrie.“I saw this apartment online and I thought I wouldn’t mind having a look at the plans,” Anthony says. “But I gave up on it.media_cameraThe Erskineville apartment designed by Greg Natale for Anthony Semann and Troy Bettesworth.“Then my business partner told me he wanted to look at an apartment so we rushed over that morning. I said to him ‘this is the apartment block I wanted’.He bought an apartment off the plan and we left.”But Anthony could not leave it there.“Then I got FOMO (fear of missing out) when I got back to work and I called them and asked if I could buy over the phone but they wouldn’t let me. So I went back and I boughtit there and then.” Welcome to the clubGiven Greg is friends with both Anthony and his business partner, he was engaged to create the interiors for both apartments.While his business partner loves prints and graphics, Anthony and his partner Troy Bettesworth really, really like black.“They both wear a lot of black,” Greg says. “And I always look at my clients’ personal style for inspiration.”media_cameraThe custom-made sideboard is a play on texture while also reflecting the light.Their brief to Greg was simple, if a little unorthodox — they wanted a stylish and sexy environment with a ’70s club feel.Because the apartments were still taking shape when Anthony bought in, they worked with the developer and swapped the standard white floors for dark floorboards.Greg also engaged an Italian artisan to create the stucco effect on the walls and then they wallpapered the ceilings.“We also changed all the door hardware and the light switches to brass and the doors were painted black,” Greg says.Far from creating a gloomy atmosphere, the apartment is filled with light.“There’s a lot of light in that apartment,” Greg says. “The corridor is dark when you walk in but they are fine with that.“If you are going to paint those walls black, a stucco finish reflects the light.”media_cameraGreg took style inspiration from owners Troy and Anthony who love wearing black.Greg furnished the house with a combination of custom-made furniture and vintage finds, including a 1970s coffee table by US designer Paul Evans for the living room.A large graphic artwork custom made by Australian artist Kerry Armstrong for the space dominates the living room.In reality, the apartment is not black, just a really deep charcoal. Greg says he breathed soul into the new apartment by paying attention to shape and texture.“I love the clean lines but you have to balance them out with some warm organic shapes like the sofa with the round back,” Greg says. “I always will soften the clean lines with curves.” Day and nightGreg worked on both apartments at the same time, which made the logistics of delivering furniture and finishings a little easier. He says he has no difficulty working with friends to get the right result.“Working with your close circle is very easy because you can treat each other like brothers,” he says.media_cameraTextured surfaces such as a stone dining table and splashback are teamed with a ”ک70s-style brass light fitting to give the kitchen and dining area a stylish but welcoming feel.For Anthony’s part, he feels like he and Troy have been given two apartments for the price of one because “there is the lightness during the day and the darkness at night”. Best of all, it feels like home.“Greg knows me and anything he sends my way is en pointe,” he says. “The choice is not to remove something I would like, it is to choose between what I love more.”Pictures: Anson Smart PROJECT Owners: Anthony Semann and Troy Bettesworth Designer: Greg Natale, The problem: A new apartment that lacked soul The site: A two-bedroom off-th-plan apartment on the fifth floor of a new block at Erskineville Design solution: To create a dark, monchomatic interior with hints of brass and gold How long did it take: 12 weeks THE SOURCE Living room artwork: Kerry Armstrong, Living room rug: Composites Collection by Greg Natale for Designer Rugs, Coffee table: Vintage Paul Evans coffee table from 1stdibs, Dining room pendant light: Gaetano Sciolari spiralling chandelier in chrome and brass from 1stdibs,

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