In Use - Project

South African Oasis



Melbourne couple, George and Claudia, relocated from Kew when they found tranquil acreage in the outer suburb of Research, Victoria. To assist them in transforming the dark and segmented 1980s house into a warm, spacious, and inviting contemporary home, they engaged Interior Designer Sally Wilson of Substance Within Design.

Improved spatial planning was central to the renovation, focusing on creating an inviting open plan kitchen, dining, living and outdoor space for entertaining friends and family. They replaced the existing kitchen with a much larger version, with aspirations of hosting formal dinner parties as well as casual family dinners.

George and Claudia sought to incorporate elements of a luxury travel resort into the comfort and usability of an everyday home by prioritising the connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Sheer curtains by Shade Collective made it possible for them to capture as much natural light in the home as possible, while also accommodating the fluctuating Melbourne climate. 

"Improved spatial planning was central to the renovation, focusing on creating an inviting open plan kitchen, dining, living and outdoor space for entertaining friends and family."



Our high performance fire-retardant sheer Offa FR One, creates maximum light with softly defined room partitions between living areas. Its light-weight elegant drape in a walnut shade complements the spicy, earthy finishes throughout the space. Sally describes this fabric as having “the most fabulous sheen and on the right angle or with movement, a striking turquoise colour emerges to complement the dining chairs!  The wave fold curtain header achieves both simulated movement and a soft, light separation of the living zones”.

Claudia’s South African heritage was a major influence in the design aesthetic of this project, around which Sally was able to build a colour palette of earthy, organic tones with accents of turquoise and rust. These maximalist influences are played up most notably in the furniture. Papillon Furniture covered the mid-century sofa and cushions in Carmen for a seamless and sleek look which contrasts beautifully with the textured raw materials, patinaed carpet and bold patterns in the space. 

This cohesive colour scheme draws the eye from the moving drapery, across the reflective kitchen and arrives at the flourishing large scales palm leaves in wallpaper design Hoja by Casamance. This two-tone, maximalist jungle palm design with metallic orange accents perfectly encompasses the clients’ design brief. 

Sally notes this, “could not have been more perfect to inject an unmistakable African aesthetic into the main living room. While very different materials, the Offa fabric and Hoja wallpaper, complement each other perfectly.  The elegance and reflective nature of wallpaper helps to elevate the earthy tones of the sofa cushions and monochrome nature of the Carmen Sofa Fabric and polished concrete floor”.

Texture and colour extend to the bedrooms with these refined bedheads each showcasing unique colour schemes that channel earthy, sparse plains and flourishing vegetation, both synonymous with an African landscape. Layer Metallic features a weave texture with reflective surface beautifully complementing the plush furnishings, while Barbarian adds a point of difference with its plain, canvas finish against the velvety elements in the other bedroom.   

“Overall, there is a mixture of elegant, plush, robust and organic fibres that reflect light, create warmth and invite relaxation!”                                     

Product used:

Sofa and cushions by Papillion Furniture in Carmen, Onyx, Zepel

Neutral sofa cushions in Navigator, Sesame by Zepel

Living area curtains by Shade Collective in Offa FR One, Reef, Zepel

Living area wallpaper, Hoja 7052 0586 by Casamance. 

Bedhead 1 by Papillion in Leathercraft, Layer Metallic, Bronze, Zepel

Bedhead 2 by Papillion in Barbarian, Lichen, Zepel.


Suzi Appel Photography, Styling Julianne Bull - The Den Interiors

Designer: Sally Wilson – Director & Principal Interior Designer   ABN: 50 123 082 433 

Mobile – 0400140176                                                                     

Thanks to Morgan @ Shade Collective, Robert @ Papillion Furniture for the window coverings and custom furniture & upholstery.





7052 05 86