Brighton House

Sydney practice Greg Natale Design produces a quietly luxurious house in a Melbourne bayside suburb.

This project by Greg Natale is actually a renovation and extension, but you wouldn’t know it to look at it. The shell of the existing single-storey modernist house is now dissolved into the clean lines of a new monolithic home set on a Brighton corner.

Greg Natale Design is a Sydney-based office of architects and interior designers, but its style is a good fit for a Melbourne sensibility. In fact, this project’s monochrome palette and quiet opulence would probably work in most urban environments. Greg has been trained as both an architect and interior designer, and has been able to hone a holistic vision for the project.

With four new homes under construction, a breadth of style is something that Greg is keen to cultivate. In addition, ever aware of the incessant competition within the design profession, his practice is now expanding to develop a range of furnishings and decorative products. In Greg’s case, being able to wear many hats has its perks.

Rugs from Natale’s collection for Designer Rugs are used throughout.

Rugs from Natale’s collection for Designer Rugs are used throughout.

Image: Anson Smart

The owners of the Brighton House had a longstanding relationship with Greg through their business – Greg’s practice has completed several national retail fitouts over the past five years for their very successful cosmetic company. This connection meant that the clients and architect were confident with each other’s styles. The ambitious and hard-working couple desired a space of unassuming luxury to meet their career-orientated needs.

Tiziana Manga by Charlie Sheard adds colour to the living space.

Tiziana Manga by Charlie Sheard adds colour to the living space.

Image: Anson Smart

A single bedroom, bathroom and laundry were retained from the original 1950s house. A key aspect of the client’s brief was to reorientate the house and create a well-defined relationship with the street. Now, a neatly crafted entry combining rendered and exposed brickwork with careful steel detailing defines the street corner. The exterior volumes of the home are notated with deftly positioned windows and awnings, and Greg acknowledges the importance of glass in the project. In fact, a large screen-like window creates an opportunity for a too-public transparency between the street and main bedroom. A playful trick?

The double-entry doors provide a sense of occasion and a wide hallway splits the ground floor and actively divides the ancillary spaces from the main living areas. A lime-washed American oak floor seamlessly ties the spaces together. On one side a row of rooms includes the bathroom, study, a generous gym and bedrooms. On the other, a large open-plan living-dining-kitchen area feeds into a long lap pool, cabana and outdoor kitchen, highlighting the owner’s keen interest in relaxation and entertaining.

The joinery relies on simple black-and-white motifs with small decorative notes. A black kitchen uses a horizontal detail to tie in with the exterior brickwork and small tweaks play with expectation – for example, the stainless steel detailed “X” in the kitchen bench reminds us that the kitchen remains a place for designer-ly experimentation.

The kitchen has a stainless steel detailed “X” in the bench.

The kitchen has a stainless steel detailed “X” in the bench.

Image: Anson Smart

Upstairs is adults only. The entire floor is designed for luxury and repose; a minimalist, clean pavilion incorporates louvred windows for cross-ventilation into the heady space. The decorative touches are lighter than those seen in much of Greg’s other work. Grass cloth wallpaper provides a warmth and texture to the bedroom. The basalt-clad ensuite is an homage, of sorts, to Melbourne’s bluestone.

For Greg the home offers an opportunity to showcase some of the larger ambitions of his practice. For example, he has a range of designer floor rugs and carpet currently on the market and is also developing a wallpaper range with Porter’s Paints. Stylecraft furniture is releasing two new ranges of furniture with Greg Natale Design: one a 1970s-inspired chrome-based lounge and the other a 1950s-inspired tapered timber setting.

Greg’s practice is able to work across a range of scales and material detailing while meeting the needs of the design-savvy client. The ability to work between the retail world and the residential realm means that there is a blurring of the domestic and the brand. And that is part of the sell. Our domestic worlds are increasingly helping us to construct our own identities and as such we invest in them like a business, with equal amounts of expectation, goal-setting and return.

Products and materials

Bluescope Steel corrugated roofing in Colorbond ‘Surfmist’; Bradford ceiling insulation and roof sarking; Lysaght box gutters and downpipes in Colorbond ‘Shale Grey’.
External walls
Boral smooth-faced half-height block in ‘Pearl Grey’.
Internal walls
Plasterboard; Designers Guild grass cloth wallpaper from Radford Furnishings; Baresque Pacific Breeze wall covering.
Black powdercoated aluminium frames and sliding frames.
Gainsborough door hardware with chrome plate mirror finish; Dulux Satine enamel paint in ‘Lexicon’; full-height solid timber doors.
American white oak tongue and groove floorboards on battens with Porter’s Paints Wood Wash finish in white; Supertuft woollen carpet; RMS Natural Stone and Ceramics basalt, honed and sealed.
Allegro Vivace light from Space Furniture; LTS Mono suspended kitchen light from JSB Lighting; Reggiani Sunny Lights in black and Antares Cellular downlights from Euroluce.
Miele oven, cooktop, dishwasher and microwave; Qasair rangehood; Abey sink; Caesarstone benchtop; Fisher and Paykel fridge; Astra Walker Flow mixer; High Tech Furniture American oak joinery stained black and finished in 10 percent polyurethane, and Calacatta marble island benchtop and splashback.
Rogerseller showerhead, wall-hung toilet and towel rail; White Stone sink and Kaldewei bath from Reece; Holyoake exhaust diffuser; Astra Walker basin set; RMS Natural Stone and Ceramics basalt floors and walls; High Tech Furniture Bianco Carrara marble vanity top and American oak joinery stained black and finished in 10 percent polyurethane.
Daikin airconditioning.
External elements
Eco Outdoor Arc pavers in ‘Sky’ with etched finish.
Rugs by Greg Natale for Designer Rugs; Knoll coffee tables and Minotti sofa, dining table and side tables from Dedece.


Greg Natale Design
Surry Hills, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Project Team
Greg Natale, Victor Wong
Builder Richard Kanze
Engineer JSC Consulting Engineers
Joiner High Tech Furniture
Site Details
Location Brighton,  Melbourne,  Vic,  Australia
Site type Suburban
Site area 583 m2
Building area 335 m2
Category Residential
Type Alts and adds, New houses
Project Details
Status Built
Design, documentation 4 months
Construction 15 months



Published online: 26 Mar 2013
Words: Niki Kalms
Images: Anson Smart


Houses, February 2013

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