Can Colourful Interior Design Actually Lift Your Spirits?
Brighten up your home for a vibrant mood.
Brighten up your home for a vibrant mood.
WHEN DOROTHY DRAPER, Gilded Age heiress turned famed decorator, was enlisted in 1946 to revitalize the storied Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia., she was met with its skeletal remains. Abandoned after its stint as an army hospital during World War II, it had been ravaged. There was no finery, no inkling its grounds had once been the playground of American aristocracy.
In a way, the state of the resort represented America. Many in Draper’s generation had lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. Everyone, regardless of status, had lost loved ones and watched stability evaporate. Draper had also been subject to a high-profile divorce from Dr. George Draper, President Franklin Roosevelt’s polio doctor, who left her on the eve of the stock market crash and ultimately married a woman 10 years her junior.
Everyone had stories. Everyone was battle-worn—not unlike the great fatigue we feel today, born of uncertainty that makes us either fold in fear or grasp for hope. Draper’s response was the latter. She believed deeply in the power of positive thought made manifest in the colourful decorating aesthetic she was known for.
By the time Draper’s train reached the White Sulphur Springs station, she had reanimated countless spaces. To New York City’s Hampshire House, she brought turquoise walls and cabbage-rose chintz. She transformed Brazil’s Quitandinha Resort with neo-baroque plasterwork and a brash palm-leaf print she called Brazilliance.
Colour ran counter to the prevailing interior decorating aesthetic c. 1890-1910, what might be called funeral-parlour chic. Draper, the daughter of iron heir Paul Tuckerman and shipping heiress Susan Minturn, had grown up in exclusive Tuxedo Park, N.Y., surrounded by antique furniture that was often stuffy, impractical and uncomfortable; and gravy colours such as wheat, slate and cream. The dreary neutrals Draper loathed were so beloved by the Gilded Age upper crust that Edith Wharton, in her 1897 decorating book, “The Decoration of Houses,” wrote “…the fewer the colours used in a room, the more pleasing and restful the result will be. A multiplicity of colours produces the same effect as a number of voices talking at the same time.”
Even before Draper’s first formal foray into decorating, her peers recognized the eye-catching beauty she cultivated in her own homes. Her opinion was so frequently sought that in the early ’20s, she did the unthinkable for a proper heiress and went into business, opening the Architectural Clearing House, a sort of matchmaking service between architects and clients. The firm evolved into Dorothy Draper & Company when it became clear that her real passion lay in decorating commercial spaces.
Draper chose what spoke to her, what she thought would make others joyful. Her husband, Dr. Draper, was a firm believer in the beneficial physical effect of positive thinking, and Draper carried the philosophy into her work. Bright shades and prints could influence not only the ambience of a space but also the mood of those occupying it. Her conviction resonated, and her clientele grew internationally. She deinstitutionalized patient rooms at the Delnor Hospital in St. Charles, Ill., with arm chairs, ottomans and window valences in floral chintz. In the cafeteria-style restaurant in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8-foot birdcage chandeliers and fluted columns surrounded a sculpture pool, and shocks of coral banquettes lined blackberry walls. All over the world, Draper replaced beige and sadness with wide stripes in splashy colours, lacquered furniture in striking black and white, and elaborate plaster mouldings. Eager to spread her message and style, she also wrote how-to books and a long-running column in Good Housekeeping.
The Greenbrier finally reopened in April of 1948, and it was Draper’s masterpiece. The first weekend boasted celebrities like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Bing Crosby and the Kennedys, but the true highlight was Draper’s design. The lobby was dressed in her signature black and white checkerboard marble floors, bright presidential-blue walls and rhododendron-print curtains. The ballroom, the social centre of the weekend, sported a hand-plastered cameo ceiling and an 1,800 pound, Czechoslovakian drop-crystal chandelier inspired by the one found in the winter palace of Catherine the Great. Even the matchbooks were lovely, a bright neon red ornamented with a rhododendron blossom. The ragged old hospital was a memory.
Draper once said, “You don’t sell a commodity. You sell joy, gaiety, excitement. You aim at people’s hearts, not their minds.” It’s clear that today, reeling from the pandemic, we are leaning toward interior design that aims at our hearts. Carlton Varney, president of Dorothy Draper & Company and author of a deluxe edition of “The Draper Touch” (Shannongrove Press, June 29), has been enlivening homes and resorts for 62 years. “Across the board we have seen an increase in people seeking more colour and pattern in their homes, fully embracing our interiors,” said Mr. Varney, who believes as Draper did, that colour doesn’t just transform our walls, it is a form of magic.
Three tips from Draper’s 1939 book, ‘Decorating is Fun!’
1. Before You Begin. Gather the samples of every colour you intend using in your room…first and ask yourself whether you would wear them all in one costume. If you wouldn’t, don’t ask your room to do it either.
2. Choose What You Like. [Don’t] be afraid of a colour combination because you think it is too extreme or hifalutin. It probably isn’t at all. And it won’t cost a
cent more than a dull one.
3. Be Open-Minded. Muddy-coloured walls are nothing but a blight. So are undecided colours that compromise between…two blues until they become neither sea, sky nor good old cornflower. There should never be any doubt about what your colour has to say.
Following the devastation of recent flooding, experts are urging government intervention to drive the cessation of building in areas at risk.
An expansive waterfront property with global designer flair.
It’s bold to refer to any property in absolutes, but here Portovenere Estate represents Clontarf’s grandest waterfront statement and its most coveted residence.
Designed in the 1960s, the two-storey, 7-bedroom, 8-bathroom and 5-car parking pile is set on an impressive 3015sqm waterfront plot. Since its inception, the home has had no expense spared in its contemporary reimagining.
Within, the home sees a global interpretation of design elevated by bespoke luxurious finishes from all over the world at every turn.
It starts from before you enter the front door — here an imported Ghizzi and Benatti fixtures from Italy. Once inside, one notices the heated marble and Savadi timber flooring that sweeps through the multiple living and entertaining zones including the family room, formal and casual dining.
Here in these living zones is a combination of designer furnishings and chandeliers from Fendi, Versace and Articolo and a made-to-order Ravens 11 ping-pong table — all of which is available as an option when purchasing the home.
Elsewhere the home’s kitchen is replete with Manhattan calacatta marble and is fitted with Gaggenau appliances and Sub-Zero refrigerators. The butler’s pantry is almost equally luxurious with Miele commercial appliances found here.
Further, the home’s multiple bathrooms are, too, fitted with Ceraba mosaic tiles and Gessi luxury tapware and shower systems.
Throughout the home’s many bedrooms, each is fitted with a timber veneer bedhead design, while the master bedroom sees a Madrona Burl veneer back panel and is complete by its own expansive ensuite (with a spa) and walk-in robe.
Both levels of the home feature outdoor space built to entertain fitted with outdoor BBQ appliances, pizza oven and Janus et Cie furnishing. Further outdoor amenities include the L.A Lakers half-court basketball court, mini soccer field and elevated podium pool.
Back inside, the home is fitted with a number of mod-cons including a poker table, in-home cinema, wine cellar, gym, salon and study with home automation and security managed by a Savant smart system.
A sandstone adorned rooftop entertaining terrace tops off the heady list of amenities that this residence holds, offering stunning views across the waterside suburb and beyond. All levels are accessed via a KONE lift.
The home is also privy to completely contained staff quarters suitable for an in-house au pair.
The property is listed with Monika Tu (+61 409 898 888) of Black Diamondz Property Concierge with a price guide of $35m -$38m; blackdiamondz.com.au
The city-fringe locale continues to boom with its prized mansions and natural amenities
From stately historic mansions to expensive new builds with underground garage space for 20 cars, Medindie, the exclusive inner northern suburb of Adelaide, has always been a well-heeled location with buyers lining up to own property bearing the blue-ribbon address.
Many keen buyers and investors are prepared to wait years for a grand Victorian mansion or a more contemporary sprawling home to come on the market in the area. Such properties tend to move fast. Stunning mansions with impressive facades, sweeping lawns, manicured gardens, tennis courts and swimming pools are located on expansive 1-acre landholdings that cannot be developed or subdivided, making them even more attractive to buyers.
The suburb is home to many historic dwellings including Willyama, built in 1883 by prospecter Charles Rasp, who discovered the rich ore deposits at Broken Hill in New South Wales, and The Briars, built in 1856 for George Hawker, which became a hospital.
Robe Terrace is the suburb’s star attraction, lined with attractive mansions including The Elysian, a modern residence which smashed the state’s residential sales record after selling in excess of $10 million last year. Pretty Victorian villas, contemporary terraces, townhouses and cottages are also sought after, but it’s those grand mansions that are the drawing card.
Medindie offers quality inventory at all levels and attracts families looking for a long-term hold and professionals after a “lock and leave” lifestyle seeking a comfortable base while in Adelaide.
It appeals to medical professionals wanting to be close to major hospitals as well as farmers based in the north of the state wanting a weekender close to the CBD, North Adelaide and Adelaide Oval, a sports and entertainment venue
Nature lovers and fitness fans enjoy the Adelaide Park Lands, known as Australia’s biggest backyard, while the River Torrens Linear Park Trail is a spectacular 30-kilometer nature walk.
It is also on the doorstep of vibrant cosmopolitan precincts including Prospect Road, Walkerville Terrace and O’Connell Street, which showcase charm and convenience.
There is direct access into the city centre, Adelaide Zoo and the Botanical Gardens, plus it’s an easy walk into Rundle Street precinct for shopping.
Adelaide real estate agent Stephanie Williams of Williams Luxury Real Estate said Medindie exudes glamour and prestige with some jaw-dropping homes.
“As well as stunning properties, there are some new properties with show off features such as underground accommodation for 15 to 20 cars and mind-blowing cellars,” she said.
The suburb is a 10-minute drive north from the city center and a 20-minute drive to Adelaide International Airport.
Medindie is adjacent to the Adelaide Park Lands, north of North Adelaide, and is bounded by Robe Terrace to the south, Northcote Terrace to the east, Nottage Terrace to the north and Main North Road to the northwest. It is close to Adelaide’s central business district and surrounded by parklands.
According to Kaytlin Ezzy, CoreLogic research analyst, Medindie houses recorded a median value as of April of A$2 million with top-tier values ranging from $2.38 million to $3.47 million. Compared to the nearby Prospect-Walkerville, Medindie’s median value is 62.6% higher, equivalent to a value gap of approximately $771,863, and nearly double (91%) the median value of the greater Adelaide region ($1.05 million).
Ms. Ezzy said the trend in Medindie’s house values has been positive over the past few years, rising 30.1% over the year to April and 57.2% over the past five years. This has resulted in the median value rising from $1.27 million in April 2017 to $1.54 million in 2021 before rising $463,644 over the past year resulting in a current median value of just over $2 million.
Medindie continues to be one of South Australia’s most prestigious suburbs and is home to generations of families who have resided there for centuries as well as newly wealthy buyers, according to Ms. Williams.
“Once they buy there, they remain, as it is an extremely tightly held location, offering unsurpassable exclusivity and prestige—significant mansions and luxurious estates and properties with prominent land holdings have encouraged affluent families to invest in this area for generations,” she said.
There is a very pronounced short supply of luxury properties on the market in Medindie, where there is a variety of architecture from historic Victorian styles to modern contemporary housing.
There are attractive villas, terraces, townhouses and cottages that are also sought after.
Ms. Williams said lifestyle estates and family homes always sell within their scheduled sales campaigns whether via expressions of interest, auction, or private treaty.
“Covid has changed the buying patterns of the luxury market in particular with wealthy clients changing their priorities to more home-based activities, with health and wellness being a major priority,” Ms. Williams said. “The desire for swimming pools, tennis courts, beautiful established gardens, wellness retreats and home offices being more popular than ever before. Luxury homes have never been in greater demand.”
Statistics show Medindie has 394 residential homes for sale compared to the nearby suburbs of Norwood, which has 1,901 residential homes on the market, and St. Peters, which has 870 residential homes for sale.
Buyers are attracted to Medindie for the magnificent adjacent parklands, its proximity to central Adelaide and larger-than-average block sizes.
It is also the only suburb within a short stroll of the exclusive girls-only Wilderness School.
Medindie is surrounded by shopping locales, including the Rundle Mall and Rundle Street in the city, which offer a wide range of luxury boutiques, including the David Jones department store. It is also very close to fashion-forward Melbourne Street and cosmopolitan O’Connell Street, the North Adelaide Shopping Village, and the shops along super-trendy Prospect Road.
Grocery stores in North Adelaide include Cibo Espresso, The Flying Fig, Coffee Gods Café, Romeo’s Foodland and The North Adelaide Village.
Top restaurants include The Lion Hotel, a South Australian icon that is directly across the Parklands, and North Adelaide has the Gin Long Canteen, Ruby Red Flamingo and Marrakech. The nearby Adelaide CBD has a vast range of excellent restaurants including Soi 38 known for its Thai cuisine, Italio-American inspired Fugazzi Bar and Dining Room, Osteria Oggi, Japanese-inspired Erato Teppanyaki, Arkhe on The Parade where chef Jake Kellie from Michelin star Burnt Ends in Singapore stars, and Orso on Kensington Road that has a following for its seafood and pasta.
Private schools include the Wilderness School, St. Peters College, Prince Alfred College and St. Andrews School. Nearby public schools include the new Adelaide Botanic High School, North Adelaide Primary School, Walkerville Primary School and Prospect Primary School.
Property tycoons, farmers, bankers, medical specialists, successful IT professionals and socialites all call Medindie home.
Ms. Williams said the market in Medindie continues to be incredibly strong, with buyer demand for this esteemed suburb at an all-time high and showing no signs of slowing down.
“We are continuing to experience a very high level of buyer inquiry for homes for sale in the area and some homes are selling off-market without reaching the paper or any online platforms,” she said.
“The suburb has always performed extremely well from a capital growth perspective and consistently features in the top 10 performing suburbs in South Australia. The average house price in Medindie over the past 12 months is A$2.68 million, which is an incredible growth of 82.4% during this time.”
Ms. Essy said while still reporting strong quarterly growth compared to the national trend (5.6%), capital appreciation across the Adelaide house market has started to ease.
“With the cash rate starting to rise and consumer confidence continuing to trending downwards, it’s likely the housing market is inching toward a downswing, with the higher end of the market typically showing more volatility both in the upwards and downwards phase of the cycle,” she said.
Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: June 18, 2022.
In the year to May, an additional 497 markets joined the million-dollar club.
A record number of Australians spent $1 million or more to purchase a home in the past 12 months according to CoreLogic’s annual Million Dollar Markets report.
Over the year to March 2022, CoreLogic collected 596,733 sales nationally up 19.8% from the 497,923 recorded over the previous year. Of those sold this year, 23.8% sold for $1 million or more.
In the year to May, an additional 497 markets 450 houses and 37 unit markets) joined the million-dollar club bringing the total markets to 1367 or 30.4% of house and unit markets analysed in May to a median value of $1 million or more.
“High consumer sentiment, tight advertised supply, and low-interest rates fuelled strong home value growth throughout 2021, resulting in a new record high annual growth rate of 22.4% over the 12 months to January,” said CoreLogic Research Analyst Kaytlin Ezzy.
“Despite values having risen across all capital cities and rest of state areas annually, we have seen a divergence in growth conditions across markets over the year to date.
“Since January, dwelling values across Sydney and Melbourne have started to decline, while values have continued to rise across South Australia and Queensland. More recently, Canberra, which had previously recorded many months of consecutive growth, recorded its first falls in dwelling values in some years in May.”
Sydney suburbs made up 26.3% of the new million-dollar markets with more than half of all Sydney sales over the 123 months to May transacting at or above $1 million.
In Sydney, 448 house and 104 unit markets have a current median value of $1 million dollars or higher, an increase of 26.6% from the previous year. The new million-dollar markets are largely concentrated in the city’s South West (30) and Outer South West (15) as well as the Central Coast region (20).
In the year to May, 51.9% of transactions in Sydney sold for $1 million or more. Bellevue Hill in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs is the most expensive house market, both across Sydney and nationally, with a current median value of $8,024,682.
Elsewhere, in Melbourne 212 house and 11 unit markets had a median value at or above $1 million in May majority of which are located in Melbourne’s Inner (39), Inner South (42), Inner East (30) and Outer East (30).