IF there’s a time and place for everything, then Australian interior designer Greg Natale’s time is now.
Since launching his business on the tail end of minimalism more than 10 years ago, Greg’s mix of sophisticated finishes with vibrant colour and pattern has gained a loyal following culminating in the launch this month of his first book, The Tailored Interior.
Using a selection of projects large and small, the book unfolds as a series of beautiful lessons in design, from understanding proportion and cohesion to creating his signature layered effect.
It’s an approach that has garnered him a number of awards as well as fans both here and overseas.
“There is a whole group of people who don’t want to live in a minimalist house or a white gallery space,” he says.
“There is a person out there that loves colour and pattern.”
Although he has built a reputation on his use of vibrant colour and pattern, Greg says this should be the last consideration.
“You should never think of colour first, that’s for the end,” he says.
“To start with you should always look at the interior architecture, the floors, the walls and even the ceilings. You need to look at the bigger picture.”
And while people often come to him because they want in on his style, Greg says every project is very much about the personality and lifestyle of the client.
“With the Bellevue Hill house in the book, she loves navy blue and coral,” says Greg.
“I’ve always loved that combination and I’ve always wanted to do it but I was waiting for the right client.
“Now that house is so much about her.”
Every new project has a formal client meeting where Greg quizzes owners about how they live and their favourite colours.
But while each project is considered down to the last detail, Greg says there is always room for a little fun which adds a sense of the unexpected to an interior.
“I love reinventing something kitsch from another decade and making it beautiful,” he says. “With my first apartment, I used a chair from my parents’ house in the living room.
“ My mother couldn’t believe it because I once tried to sell that whole lounge suite behind her back when I was growing up.”
Some might find his layered approach too strong for their tastes, but it’s that very commitment to a design ideal that is proving his strongest card.
“The real turning point was a house we did at Woollahra,” he says.
“It was a classic home and we did it in black and white which made the house feel fresh and young.”
Not content, however, to work with the existing range of furniture and accessories on the market, in recent years Greg has begun building his own design empire with a range of rugs with Designer Rugs, wallpapers with Porter’s Paints and his Chest collection with furniture retailer Stylecraft.
Next year will see him launch a new range of tiles for Teranova Tiles in his typically graphic style.