A Celebration of Culture and Colour

In this Melbourne residence, Kate Challis Interiors marries traditional Chinese elements, bold colours and contemporary design


Along South Road in Melbourne’s coastal suburb of Brighton, this Australian-Chinese family’s home reflects their rich cultural background in an elegant and refined manner. Designed by local studio Kate Challis Interiors, the Art Deco residence is characterised by a punchy combination of art, design and functionality.

The studio used a bold colour palette throughout the home; intensely saturated colours are matched with more subdued palettes of grey and white. In the living room, traditional hand-painted silk wallpaper by Fromental is juxtaposed with bold colours and contemporary furniture. Inspired by a striking lapis lazuli Paradiso wallpaper, the studio crafted a bespoke hue of Porter’s Paint which covers walls from the entrance through the home. One portion of a three-piece mural hangs in the entrance, injecting another slice of custom blue.

Inspired by the client’s love of literature, Challis and her team designed reading recesses and a stark white library, the latter characterised by a contemplative elegance with dove grey furnishings, silk damask blinds, a custom cabinet covered in bamboo wallpaper, a traditional Chinese mirror above the fireplace and a traditional Venetian glass pendant by Giopato & Coombes.

In the formal sitting room at the front of house, a cosy ambiance is evoked via thatched bay windows, which allow soft light to flood in and illuminate the soft champagne and deep periwinkle tones.

The remaining two mural panels hang in the open plan living area to the rear of the home. Here, leather chairs upholstered in pink wool punctuate the room, and three white silk-covered pendants by George Nelson hang above a Jardan marble coffee table. An antique Chinese door is repurposed as a dining table, while Chinese screens adorn the walls, rounding out and exemplifying the tasteful representation of the family’s heritage complemented by rich colours and Art Deco touches.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Sharyn Cairns