Interior Designers & Decorators
Soho Melbourne contemporary-dining-room

Soho Melbourne

The fireplace is a soaring island that allows passage around it and has become the true heart of the home, with the Behruz Studio Sahar rug grounding the tall space. On her first visit, Toni saw the work of great Australian artists displayed, including Minnie Pwerle in the fireplace room, and the vibrancy of Colin Sweeney in the formal dining room. “From that moment, my design vision was to create a SoHo New York-style gallery,” says Toni. LEDs, art lighting and pendant lights from Custom Lighting highlight the architecture, work areas and paintings.
The vaulting sheds and bagged-brick walls were an important design consideration. “I wanted an art gallery look to the home,”
says Toni. “Large spaces would be simply expressed; the timber beams, rough bricks and raised-grain timber floors were finished in silver tones for the art to be the focal point.”
The dining room and kitchen were originally a central roadblock. “With the installation
of Real Flame’s Double Vision two-way gas fireplace, hearth in Silver Cloud granite and clad in timber, the fireplace is now the central island and heart of the home, Sahar rug grounding the tall space,” says Toni. “I love how the two-way fireplace allows the fire to be seen from both directions — it adds openness and transparency to the design.”
The small dining room was changed from a drab dead end into a rich jewel through the use of fiery colours in art and decor. The Custom Lighting copper glass Kel pendant, iridescent Metalcote finish applied to the Grange Joinery bespoke servery, Innovations silver glass by James Stephenson, and Behruz Studio’s spice- coloured silk Tibetan rug were combined with the family’s mahogany heirloom table to create a passionate palette that encourages a stimulating dinner party setting. Custom silver sheers from In Vogue Blinds frame the garden view.
The charcoal rough timber Voyager three-metre table suits both fine crystal and everyday Raku pottery, and the ITD Lo Corten pendant lights above have a champagne-glass shape with a raw texture. “This juxtaposition of refined shapes
and natural textures expresses the artistic gallery style,” explains Toni.
She selected greys, metallics, and two-pack kitchen finishes in charcoal and white. “I chose materials with an unfussy beauty; natural beauty was the key to design selections,” says Toni. Silver shades in the Folded Sky Behruz rugs, linens, metallic joinery and Silver Fox bed throw express a minimalist elegance.
“After opening up the plan, Oyster Shell became the unifying colour,” says Toni. “The dappled ‘salt and pepper’ durable twist of Carpet Choice’s Picotage carpet worked beautifully, blending with the French lime-washed raised- grain Du Chateau Danube from Pacific Floors.”
Energy-efficient fixtures from E&S Trading included Bosch and Siemens cooking products and a Fisher & Paykel French-door fridge. Reece Design’s Tasca Cibo, ADP Virgo floating vanities and nine-jet Mizu spa bath modernise the bathrooms, as does a pair of Nickles Pure twin-head rainshowers for the ensuite.
Outside, the overgrown garden needed to be integrated with the interiors, both by day and night. Toni, in conjunction with Leaver Landscapes, designed a pathway of unique outdoor sculptures, a pergola, barbecue, fountain, seating and lounging areas. “The indoor–outdoor integration of the home is a healthy, peaceful pleasure,” says Toni. “Lump Studio’s 3D stainless disc in the entry garden is a testament to the joy that art provides.”
The husband had such a love of gardening that the planting scheme incrementally became richer and more layered. “One day his wife called me and said she and the gardener wanted to know how we would possibly wedge in another massive plant,” says Toni. “We managed, the frangipani thrived and everyone loves it!”
Despite nearly half a century since it was first conceived, this spectacular home is now revitalised. “By modernising an iconic Australian residence inside and out, Franchi Design has created a beautiful gallery for Australian art, a comfortable home and an ongoing inspiration,” says Toni.

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