For some time now, the acclaimed Australian designer Christian Lyon has almost been part of a Perth family, given that he’s the one behind their deeply personal home designs, building a cache of truly unique furniture and art that speak to their tastes for rarefied beauty mixed with a sense of modern luxury.
The bones of the house were perfect for the client, her husband, and their four children, offering already established zones dedicated to family time and boisterous get-togethers, while other sections are reserved for a reprieve. But the home design needed an update, so Lyon dove in, adding layer upon layer of bespoke detailing.
And the tradition doesn’t stop just because the once young daughters are now all grownup, since Lyon has most recently added another design project to the already star-studded Western Australia shire, Peppermint Grove, where all the family’s homes are located, this time for one of the daughters and her family.
Entering the home via a gated entrance, visitors pass through an exterior courtyard before reaching the front doors, which lead to a central hallway that acts as a spine throughout the home design.
To give the client an intimate area to entertain, Lyon transformed a nook near the front entry into a textural feast that’s centred around a massive chaise lounge upholstered in Dedar’s Tiger Mountain fabric and a geometric rug by Fort Street Studio.
A pair of Gio Ponti chairs were re-covered in Dedar’s Romeo & Giulietta silk velvet. A dark textural Phillip Jeffries wall covering plays off the high-gloss black ceiling and mouldings. A new chunky marble fireplace was sandblasted and brushed to add texture, where it provides a perfect pedestal for the room’s focal point: a painting by John Young.
A circulation foyer, placed midway through the home design, is enhanced by a sculptural Paul Evans table found in New York at Todd Merrill and a crownlike Christopher Boots chandelier.
Portraits of Andy Warhol and Susanne Bartsch by Christopher Makos, discovered at Ralph Pucci, inform a color palette created specifically to “take the edge off” and capture the nuance of a Japanese pen-and-ink drawing, where strong black lines give way to misty washes of charcoal, and soft vanilla is preferred over crisp white. On a nearby wall are two Victor Vasarely artist proofs bought in Paris at an estate sale of the printer’s private collection.
A staircase lined in a moody Faye Toogood wallpaper from Calico leads to the bedroom suites, where a meteor-shower-like glass installation by Australian artist Mark Douglass transitions the softer downstairs aesthetic to a more glamorous vibe. In the main suite, it was two striking vintage Murano glass cabinets purchased from an antique dealer in France that set the tone.
“I think homes without texture and fabric are homes without spirit” CHRISTIAN LYON
To capture the dreamy blue of the Perth sky, Lyon commissioned a custom iteration of Calico’s Inverted Spaces Orion wallpaper, then layered sumptuous bedding. A custom seafoam-colour cabinet Lyon created for the client’s previous home design has pride of place near the doorway, where its jewel accents are echoed in a quadrant of gold sconces that illuminate slices of agate. Around the corner, a private dressing area for the husband was designed around a colourful work by Australian artist Dale Frank, the palette of which was echoed in rich woods and an emerald chaise longe. Another Christopher Boots fixture provides a sculptural moment.
Blending a few pieces from the client’s existing collection with an array of new and custom works by Christian Astuguevieille, Shizue Imai, and Agnes Debizet created a home design that was distinguished but without an unapproachable seriousness.
But most importantly, the home design was specifically created to grow and evolve with the family, taking them through their children’s teenage years into adulthood and eventually becoming a gathering space when they visit with families of their own.
“I don’t believe in drawing a line in the sand and creating a statement of that particular client’s life at that time,” says the designer. “I like there to be flexibility and nuance and whimsy within a house that allows you to change.”