A Contemporary New Home Grounded In An Earthy, Natural Palette

When faced with transforming this ‘blank canvas’ new build into a warm family home in Hawthorn, Victoria, interior designer Brahman Perera was lucky enough to have the client’s impressive art collection as a starting point.

The result is a beautifully polished – ‘but not overly curated’ – home, filled with a palette of burnt ochres, natural materials, soft hues and a sprinkling of crisp graphic accents.

Bea Taylor

The contemporary new-build in Hawthorn, Victoria. Photo – Lillie Thompson

Interior designer Braham Perera’s favourite feature in the home is the kitchen. Photo – Lillie Thompson

A considerable floor-to-ceiling amount of vein-cut travertine was used in the kitchen to add depth to the space. Photo – Lillie Thompson

The living room palette was curated around the small Jeffrey Smart painting on the wall. Photo – Lillie Thompson

Braham says it was a privilege to work with the homeowner’s beautiful collection of art. Photo – Lillie Thompson

Natural materials and soft lighting contrast with striking black accent details. Photo – Lillie Thompson

The formal sitting room features more strong accents. Charlotte Perriand ‘Potence Pivotante’ wall lamp by Nemo. Photo – Lillie Thompson

More warm hues and textures feature in the dining space. Photo – Lillie Thompson

From left: ‘Ovolo’ wall light by Articolo. Painting (on left) by Elynor Smithwick. Travertine chair by Brud Studia. Photo – Lillie Thompson

Braham says scale was very important to consider thanks to the home’s grand, open-plan layout. Photo – Lillie Thompson

Soft creamy hues feature in the main bedroom. Painting by Elynor Smithwick from Otomys. Photo – Lillie Thompson

The ensuite features more travertine. Photo – Lillie Thompson

Photo – Lillie Thompson

The exterior is surrounded by lush plants! Photo – Lillie Thompson

Bea Taylor
21st of September 2022

Whilst most would assume being given a ‘blank canvas’ is a designer’s dream, interior designer Brahman Perera explains its positives are equally matched by its challenges. 

‘With contemporary builds, the designer is often faced with a completely unadorned structure,’ he explains. ‘So the challenge is how to bring warmth and comfort to the space, whilst being true to the architecture.’ 

Luckily, for Brahman, this question was easily answered by the homeowner’s beautifully curated art collection, which helped guide the material and colour palette. Their inventory of furniture – which they were keen to use in their new home in Hawthorn, Victoria – also gave him a strong foundation to work from and embellish. 

‘The brief was to transplant their pre-existing home in a streamlined and cohesive way,’ he explains. ‘It was a privilege to work with their own art collection as a key source of inspiration.’ 

A small Jeffrey Smart painting informed a palette of burnt ochres, rusts, sisal rugs and ceramics in the family living area, whilst a large charcoal drawing by Charles Blackman paved the way for strong graphic blacks in the formal sitting area. 

‘The ground floor has a sweeping layout, which allowed for various spaces to represent different moods and experiences,’ he explains. ‘Some are cosy and some are more graphic and crisp. I wanted the upstairs to be different though, I wanted it to feel intimate and private.’ 

The space in question has been swathed in a warm, cream-coloured palette of carpet and drapery, with jewel-toned upholstery. 

But, it’s the kitchen that truly stole the designer’s heart. With its use of textural travertine that spectacularly contrasts the carbon black rangehood and appliances, ‘It’s a favourite,’ Brahman says.

Through thoughtful application of materials, texture and colour, Brahman has succeeded in designing an honest family home, that ties together new and old in a way that feels both timeless and distinctly contemporary. 

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