Cool, calm and collected designer Garth Barnett's home

Interior by designer Garth Barnett
Story by: Colleen Hawkes
Interior by designer Garth Barnett dining room, furniture, home, interior design, living room, room, table, gray, black
Interior by designer Garth Barnett

Designing a beach house from scratch provides an ideal opportunity to inject your own personality into an interior.

The owner-designer of this beach house, Garth Barnett, welcomed the chance to do his own thing. And he is quick to point out that he didn't set out to create a particular look.

"I am always picking things up in my travels overseas and wanted to be able to display some of these pieces," he says. "So, it was always going to be an eclectic mix of antique and contemporary items."

Barnett says the house has a square-edged Neoclassical design, with simple lines and 3.2m-high ceilings.

Restful bedroom interior by designer Garth Barnett bedroom, ceiling, furniture, home, hotel, interior design, room, window, black
Restful bedroom interior by designer Garth Barnett

"It was important that the architecture not detract from the collections. With this in mind, the interior materials and finishes are very neutral. Almost the entire floor of the house is tiled in limestone that has a slight hint of pink. This same colour was picked out for the walls, doors and ceilings."

Against this backdrop, the designer overlaid furniture upholstered in neutral tones texture was more important than colour, he says. That texture comes through in linen weaves, sisal rugs, bamboo and driftwood furniture.

The soft neutral tones are offset by accents of black in picture frames, cushions and the trim around the sisal rugs. Colour is mainly limited to the paintings, which include bright Aboriginal art.

Key furniture items include antique Chinese apothecary cabinets and chests from India. These are teamed with two 18th-century French chairs upholstered in leather. A coffee table in raw steel adds a modern touch.

Contemporary, eclectic interior by designer Garth Barnett fireplace, floor, flooring, furniture, hearth, home, interior design, living room, room, table, gray, black
Contemporary, eclectic interior by designer Garth Barnett

"I like to throw things from different periods together it gives a room a more contemporary look," says Barnett.

Sculptural items include large pieces of coral, and shells found locally, a Spanish religious icon found in Manila, and a mythical Burmese dragon head in stone, which dates back to the 14th century.

Dark brown wood dining chairs with a circular lattice pattern from the Philippines add a bold graphic element to the dining area. The custom-designed dining table is elm wood.

A matching armchair in the master bedroom provides continuity. Here it sits beside a hexagonal black-lacquered hall table and a sculpture by Victorian artist Charlotte Boyd.

Jun 19, 2013

Credit list

Interior designer
Garth Barnett, Garth Barnett Designers (Sydney)
Tim Egan Building
Wall paint
Dulux Sand
Kitchen designer and manufacturer
Muscat Custom Kitchens
Limestone tiles
Peter Meyer Blinds
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