The West

From minimalist to magical
Interior designer Natalee Bowen and owner Belinda Moroles. Picture: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

When Belinda Moroles moved from Melbourne to Perth with her husband Michael earlier this year, she was keen to bring some east coast character with her.

The couple settled into a renovated cottage in Subiaco, but the interior's minimalist look didn't suit their taste for antiquity, texture and comfort. Luckily, Ms Moroles recalled an interior designer whose work she had previously admired in magazines.

Even more fortunately, that designer had just moved her Brisbane agency to Perth, so one phone call turned into a successful collaboration - and the results are evident in every room.

Natalee Bowen, owner of Indah Island, said the couple wanted a look that was "Hamptons-style with an edge", which perfectly suited Ms Bowen's penchant for character, natural elements, antique pieces and layering.

"The interior is Hamptons eclectic, with a relaxed Bahamas look; really layered and a mix of old and new, " Ms Bowen said.

"The vintage style comes in from their Melbourne background, the feel that they love. We sourced a lot of pieces from interstate, but also worked with what they had.

"I say if you love it, keep it. If you feel so-so then move it on. We brought in most of what is here."

Ms Bowen said they decided to focus on the main bedroom, study and the lounge at the front of the home, but kept the open-plan living area and kitchen to a minimum with more subtle, easy-care pieces that still pack a punch.

Warmth exudes from every inch of the main bedroom, with striking patterned wallpaper (Imperial Trellis by Danish company Schumacher) behind the custom bedhead, while luxe bed linen, rugs, cushions and curtains soften the antique furniture and timber floors.

"I used neutral and duck-egg blue in the bedroom because it is nice and soft, but not too feminine, " Ms Bowen said.

A gorgeous touch is the addition of pineapple bedside lamps, as the tropical fruit is known as the traditional symbol of hospitality. "In World War II people used to put pineapples out the front of their homes to let soldiers know they were welcome, " Ms Bowen said.

Across the hall is the "man-cave"- a classy retreat full of interesting and whimsical period details like old-fashioned Coca-Cola wood crates, which contrast with the black-gloss painted fireplace.

Nine framed prints hang in a square on the wall, forming a complete birds-eye view map of Paris. The custom-made sepia-toned prints tie in perfectly with the room's tone and also nod to the couple's love of the French capital.

Other nods to Europe feature throughout the interiors, from Mediterranean-inspired cushion prints to coffee table travel books.

Through the study, hallway and into the living area, you can see more natural elements which help to tie in the breezy central courtyard. These include coral, shells, peacock-print lamps, pine cones, birds' nests, flowers, wood antlers and greenery.

Accents of turquoise pop against the main living area's predominantly neutral colour scheme, also tying in with the blue tones used in the front of the home. Even the facade follows this pattern, with painted blue exterior timbers and a white picket fence.

The West Australian

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