Ever thought about ditching your house and that high-maintenance garden for the simplicity of inner-city apartment living? Interior decorator Toni Giannarelli wanted such a change and moved into her stunning Freshwater apartment in Melbourne a little more than a year ago.
It’s a spacious penthouse with floor-to-ceiling-windows in almost every room, offering breath-taking views of Melbourne and the city’s iconic landmarks.
Look one way and there’s all of Flinders Street and Federation Square…
…then to your right and there’s Rod Laver Arena, the MCG and grand old Government House.
It’s a stylish, fresh, modern interior which uses light tones, mirrors, silver and chrome to achieve its look of Hollywood glamour. But it wasn’t always the way. When Toni first moved in, the apartment walls were painted in dark colours, so she had it all re-done.
‘I wanted white to open up the place,’ said Toni ‘And the mirrors everywhere open it up even more. You get angles from the city reflecting in the mirrors which make it look even bigger.’
There’s a wonderful abstract painting of a grand piano in the dining room, which Toni cleverly placed at the opposite wall to the entrance, so you see the painting’s reflection when you first enter the room and can appreciate it again when seated at the table from the opposite direction.
The Hollywood feel is also brought about by the artwork – especially the piece in Toni’s study, based on the most famous female Hollywood icon of them all – Marilyn Monroe.
‘I commissioned the paintings from a friend of mine who owns Tutti Interiors. She has them commissioned by overseas artists who live in colonies,’ said Toni. ‘I just sketched up a few ideas and asked them to base the paintings on these and it worked beautifully.’
Toni’s office is a work of art in itself, with a mirrored desk, cordless lamp and monochrome rug.
Similarly, the kitchen is decked out with minimalist trimmings and attention to detail.
In fact, it’s the attention to detail throughout the apartment that gives it its edge. Here are a couple more snaps, which are self-explanatory.
Toni’s taste hasn’t always focused on a modern look. Her last home was filled with antique furniture and knick-knacks. ‘Because I had an antique, timber look in my last house, I really wanted to go with a completely different design,’ she said.
‘Something more contemporary. Fresh for Freshwater,’ she said with a laugh. ‘And you can add colour to the room with accessories, like I have in one of my daughter’s rooms with the Missoni cushions. Overall, it’s a minimalist, clean look. It’s great not to have all those ornaments around which were just dust collectors.’
The third bedroom sticks with monochrome tones and again, mirrors to open up the room.
Toni’s bedroom is likewise bright and breezy, with a wide-screen TV attached high on a structural column.
Details I love include Toni’s use of a decorative tray to store and display her perfume collection…
…and the elegant chaise lounge lying outside the bathroom entrance, which beckons enticingly.
The ensuite itself is as big as the main bathroom.
So how has the change from a home with a garden, to living in an apartment been? Toni describes it as liberating. ‘I love it. There’s less maintenance and I still have a garden on the tenth floor with nearly an acre of land, a pool and BBQ. And there’s the promenade at Southbank. Plus the security gives me peace of mind.’
As I was leaving, I noticed one collectable that came from Toni’s last home that she wasn’t able to give up. It’s an antique clock that was commissioned by the city of Paris for the capital’s annual art show back in 1890. It’s the one designer nod to her past. Given its exceptional beauty, it’s a completely understandable inclusion!
As for the modern pieces, many were sourced from stores including Missoni Homewares, Kings Furniture, Luxe By Design and Philipp Starck.
If you’d like Toni to help you with any interior design advice, you can phone her on 0420 830 083.