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Country Life by Greg Natale

Country Life by Greg Natale


Project: Rosemont Stud
Location: Victoria, Australia
Design: Greg Natale
Text: Jan Henderson
Photography: Anson Smart

“Horses make a landscape look beautiful,” so said Alice Walker, one of the US’s preeminent writers. Perhaps she had visited Rosemont Stud at Gnarwarre in the heart of country Victoria, but she certainly did not visit the homestead. If she had she would have realised that the spectacular interior of this historic residence rivals the vista of horses galloping in grassy fields. Combine the two aspects, however, and the image is consummate.

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The residence is set on 3000 acres of idyllic landscape where horses are the raison d’être; however, at the heart of the operation is the homestead that has been standing in situ since the 1890s. The owners required a complete refurbishment of the interior and commissioned Greg Natale to produce something special and he has not disappointed. All that was old is almost new again with the latest appliances and services installed, but the presentation is pure old world comfort with intimate groupings of furniture and perfectly composed objet and art arrangements.

Natale has evoked mood and style through the use of a limited and sophisticated palette. White, black, charcoal and grey are the base with splashes of colour to accentuate and define areas. The floor plan is simple: the heart of the home is a large casual entertaining area at the back of the residence. Entered from either end of this space are two parallel corridors or wings; one contains bedrooms, the other the formal entertaining area that leads to the front doorway. Satin black stained wooden floorboards and wainscoting feature throughout, as does fitted carpet in dark grey and taupe with a custom border or hall runners (Designer Rugs) and large bespoke rugs where appropriate.

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A grand circular driveway delivers you to the stairs at the front entrance of the bluestone residence and into the entry vestibule. A centrally placed circular rug (Manhattan, Designer Rugs) and mahogany table (client’s own) take centre stage. Horse sculptures placed on either side of the doorway and artworks and memorabilia of horses adorn the walls. The powder room is discreetly positioned to the left of the doorway with white painted woodwork and striped tiles on floors and walls (Bourkeshire Interiors). These have also been used to great effect in the kitchen, laundry and other bathrooms.

The formal living room on the right is a grand space with individual seating arrangements of mixed styles of chairs, tables, side tables, occasional tables, ottomans, objets and art. This includes black leather Chesterfield sofas (Casa Mia), Ansley Slipper chairs and Elliot Wing chairs (Laura Kincade), Zebra striped coffee table and Chinoiserie table (both from Cromwell). In this room, as in the formal dining room and study, there is a bay window, with original leadlight panels, which includes banquette seating and a large round table (Belaware Round, Max Sparrow).

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Next is the study with upholstered antique sofa (Ebony, Elliott Clarke), Provence desk and Hepburn chair (Town and Country) At the end of the corridor is the formal dining room and mahogany table that seats 12 (client’s own). To add richness, Natale has used the same colours in different configurations throughout the formal rooms; for example, white painted wainscoting with charcoal floor and walls, or papered wainscoting with painted walls and dark ceiling. It’s a clever way to accentuate height or size and add depth or drama where and when required. Near the end of the corridor and formal rooms is a wooden door that opens into the modern casual living area and kitchen. High vaulted white ceilings with skylights emphasise the sense of space and lightness.

This entertaining area consists of two configurations of sectional lounges (Domicile, Cavit & Co) upholstered in terracotta cotton velvet (Martine, Unique Fabrics) that in total, seat 13 people. There are also a variety of pairs of leather Club chairs (Williams-Sonoma), Wing chairs (Laura Kincade), ottomans (Xavier) and numerous tables that have been ‘pulled together’ by the two large customdesigned rugs (Greg Natale range, Designer Rugs). The vista of manicured lawns and the casual outdoor seating area is perfectly framed by the four sets of modern French doors.

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The open plan area also includes a large kitchen with tiled floor, white rectangular tiles as splashbacks in the working area and antiqued mirror tiles on the back section. There are the usual amenities: cook top and oven (Nostalgie, Ilve), under bench wine refrigerators (Vintec) and dishwasher (Smeg), but it is the two black Smeg refrigerators positioned side by side that really add the ‘wow’ factor to the space. Marble (Vermont Super White, Granite Marble Works) is the stone of choice for the bench tops and large island table top, while white stools (Tolix) tucked underneath offer additional seating. A round breakfast table with burnt oak top and aged metal legs (Tate) and four white chairs (Hay BS Studio, Cult) make for an intimate setting for a small group.

The bedroom wing is accessed from the informal lounge area and consists of four bedrooms, a bathroom and a master suite. The décor in each bedroom is constant, but has been differentiated through a single colour and appropriate furniture configuration. Natale has used his own pinstripe wallpapers (Greg Natale Collection for Porter’s Paints) in tangerine, coral, mustard and green to theme the bedrooms. The palette of the larger master suite is darker, utilising the pinstripe wallpaper in black and grey to add a touch of glamour. The space is generous and allows for writing desk and chairs, sofa, walk-in robe and bathroom with freestanding bath and shower.

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The interior of this outstanding residence is an eclectic mix of old but mostly new, with precious and beautiful pieces complementing the whole. It feels as if the house has always been this way, with every object in the place that it belongs. The choice of colours, furniture, lighting, finishes and fittings has been carefully curated so that the design becomes a continuum of the style, blending together, yet different at the same time. Natale has completed this commission with masterful style and a balance of sophisticated luxury.

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