This Melbourne home is part design showroom, part family retreat

Composed with a rhythmic approach to colour and space, the interior is a balanced interplay of black, white and grey shades

living room melbourne contemporary house
Photography Sharyn Cairns

On surveying this calm, elegant home in Melbourne’s Toorak Village, you are struck by the balanced interplay of black, white and grey shades, and by the subtle touches of luxury in the form of marble and brass accents. The smallest detail appears to have been carefully considered, right down to the symmetrical pairings of objects and furniture in the hallway.

contemporary living room melbourne home
Photography Sharyn Cairns

This sensitivity to tone is no accident, for Gillianne Griffiths, the interior architect behind the design, previously enjoyed a career in the music world. ‘Like music, design involves combining shapes and composing rhythms to produce a harmonious outcome,’ she explains.


Gillianne’s clients were property developers Jonathan Ji and U-Fhern Chang, who share the four-bedroom home with their one-year-old daughter, Juliette. When they bought the house, they needed to strike a balance between formality and relaxation, as they intended to use their new home for work as well as for family time. Gillianne’s solution was a sensitive renovation that contrasts light, bright communal spaces with darker, moodier private zones.

White, Wall, Table, Room, Furniture, Interior design, Black-and-white, Design, Still life photography, Material property,
Photography Sharyn Cairns

‘Jonathan and U-Fhern entertain clients regularly, and they wanted to show off what they can do as property developers,’ says Gillianne, who created a formal sitting room in which to host meetings at the opposite end of the house from the more relaxed family lounge, dining area and kitchen.

The rooms on public view are predominantly white with dark-toned furniture, but Gillianne turned this balance on its head in the bedroom and study, where inky blue-black walls create a more cocooning feel. She also laid grey carpet in the bedrooms and on the first-floor landing, which strikes a different note to the oak parquet flooring at ground level.

contemporary master bedroom melbourne house
Photography Sharyn Cairns

Jonathan and U-Fhern are delighted with their new home, so much so that they are planning to work with Gillianne in a professional context in the future. Like a fine musical performance, this design partnership is too good to be performed just once.

For the full house tour see Elle Decoration January 2018

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