Interior designer Diane Bergeron had some convincing to do with this project, a weekend home for a large family who uses the house year-round. The project architect had proposed a departure from a cozy coastal home: a slick interior with a glass staircase and contemporary furnishings. “But I told him, ‘The traditional bones are already there. Why tear them down?'” she says. “It just made sense to work with the architectural bones of the house and go from there.” 

Bergeron applied her design knowledge of traditional American coastal homes throughout the project. “They liked images of summer homes in the Hamptons and the warmth and airy feel of California coastal homes,” she says. “So we opted for a soft, neutral base and layered on patterns and color.” 


Diane Bergeron Interiors, original photo on Houzz


The clients turned away from what a lot of people in these parts are doing: “Lots of ultracontemporary houses with a glass-box architecture that would’ve certainly carried into the interiors and furnishings,” Bergeron says. And did they like the final result? “My clients are used to nice surroundings,” says the designer, “and they already have a great city home. But there were tears during the big reveal. They’re just in love with this house.”

Warm Up the Room With a Rustic Coffee Table Set


Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: This is a weekend home for Jack and Diane Gringlass and their 4 grown children.
Location: Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne, Australia
Size: 5,488 square feet
Design challenge: Transforming a dark, lodge-like country house into an airy and bright coastal home


Diane Bergeron Interiors, original photo on Houzz


A photo shot at sunset lets us see into the front-facing interior rooms of the house: three bedrooms, the study, a card room and a billiards room. Motorized Roman shades can be controlled with ease for privacy.

John Himmel’s woven rope furniture adds richness, texture and warmth to the living room. A vintage Lucite coffee table doesn’t take attention away from the rich patterns of the window shades, upholstery and rug. Bergeron paired couture Quadrille China Seas fabric in the rope chairs with a striped cotton dhurrie, which ties the space together.

Floors: stained European oak; empire stools: Jonathan Adler; sofa: custom in camel linen, Diane Bergeron Interiors

Stock Up on Recliners for a Home Theater


Diane Bergeron Interiors, original photo on Houzz


The designer loves the all-white walls and trusses. “The house used to be a bit dark and cabin like, and now you feel like the whole place is breathing, which is a quality that I associate with California coastal homes or summer homes in the Hamptons,” she says. “I’m happy that this cozy coastal style has found its way here to Melbourne,” says Bergeron.

Sofa: custom in cotton twill, Diane Bergeron Interiors; side table: vintage French; Roman blinds: custom, Diane Bergeron Interiors; pendant lights: Ralph Lauren

Windsor chairs make a surprise pairing with a Lucite table in the game room. Lulu DK wallpaper swathes the walls and continues to the backs of custom shelving units, giving the space a harmonious flow.


Diane Bergeron Interiors, original photo on Houzz


A rustic farmer’s table from Boyd Blue surrounded by Windsor chairs adds warmth and contrasts with the all-white kitchen and metallic sheen of the fixtures and Ralph Lauren pendants.

Bergeron turned a mostly white and metallic powder room into a jewel box with art deco Scalamandre wallpaper in Zanzibar Gold. 


Diane Bergeron Interiors, original photo on Houzz


“If done right, layering on pattern and color can add a lot of verve to a house without being garish or too over the top,” says Bergeron. 

Mirror: custom, Diane Bergeron Interiors

Home Office Inspiration for Your Next Remodel


Bergeron created a comfortable space by mixing vintage fabrics and furnishings with new decor.

Custom stacked curtains and orange Roman shades dress up the built-in bunk beds. An alpaca wool rug softens the crisp whites and tailored stripes of the bunks’ window treatments. Underbed drawers keep guests’ things tucked away.


Diane Bergeron Interiors, original photo on Houzz


A home theater hosts the entire family on movie night, with custom reclining chairs and equally luxurious chocolate brown linen walls. “A French artisan came in and stitched all the linen together by hand,” Bergeron says. “It was an amazing process to watch and really adds this gorgeous, touchable quality to the walls.”

Grass cloth wallpaper in sage covers the study walls and pays tribute to the client’s love of green. A dark Roman shade adds a masculine touch. “He loves this room,” she says. “It’s his little sanctuary within what’s already a calming weekend home.”