A Maximalist formal lounge where Ralph Lauren meets the Bahamas

one year, one formal lounge room…

Public service announcement! I highly recommend that all Minimalists close this page immediately to prevent any sort of physical damage to your eyeballs and/or a severe case of nausea, as this room has it all. And I mean, literally!

This blog post has been a long time coming! I was flicking through my phone to find the ‘before’ photos only to realise I took them on the 15th January 2018. One year, one room. It’s been a passion project and progression was slow in between work and having 5 seconds to scratch myself. I’ve been harassed (in a good way of course) via social media on numerous occasions asking when I’ll be blogging our formal lounge. I’m now proud to say, she’s big, she’s beautiful and she’s officially blogged. 

So what was the purpose of this room? Originally a place where the boys could watch TV, play Xbox, ping pong, darts, and the games machine all the while breathing in their own flatulence, talk absolute rubbish and do it all in peace. Why? Because I never went in there! Even though it’s the most gorgeous room in our home with the highest ceilings and a stunning outlook in every direction, it was messy, ugly and smelt like dudes. Here are the before photos I took last year. Why we have a random mattress in there is completely unknown. Actually, on second thought, that’s incorrect – one of the boys was practicing his backflips. 

Tanawha Rumpus Room - before renovation
Tanawha Rumpus Room - before renovation
Tanawha Rumpus Room - before renovation

the inspiration behind the design…

The inspiration behind this project came from a mix of Anna Spiro, India Hicks, and Sue, the lovely lady who makes all my custom lampshades. I dreamt of a room that screams “I’m here, I’m loud and I’m proud”. A blend of Ralph Lauren meets the Bahamas with a maximalist approach to the layout and the curation of pieces. And while none of these Designers curate rooms such as this one, somehow this is what I came up with. I absolutely love the result and would not change a thing. Here’s what the room looked like once I’d gathered up enough courage to actually walk inside and commence the redesign process. So empty and strange!

Tanawha rumpus room - starting the renovation
Tanawha formal lounge - colour selection

choosing that colour…

Huge, 3-meter ceilings, multiple cedar framed glass doors, and a luxurious, grand feel to boot, I felt the room could handle a dark and heavy palette. I was in search of a strong, dramatic and masculine colour, not only to cater for the boys that will reside in the space but also in keeping with my desired style. I purchased test pots in both Dulux Blue Accolade and Ship’s Officer and found one too green and the other too dark. Rebelling against my own recommendations to all my clients, I bought the colour in between without trialing test pots and simply starting painting. Dulux Snap Shot it was – deep, rich and magnificent. Ralph Lauren interiors, eat your heart out!

the gumtree revolution…

I understand this concept will not suit everyone’s taste, but what if I told you that around 80% of the furniture and wall art in our new formal lounge was purchased on Gumtree? You all know I love a mix of old and new, which in my opinion introduces such chic style and character to an interior space. But 80%? I think I’ve taken the term thrifty to a whole new level! There’s just something so special about scrolling through the pages of Gumtree or popping into the local Bloomhill Foundation and without warning, falling in love with something. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s glorious! Magical if you will!

But on a more serious note, I purchase plenty of new pieces for myself and clients. However, I have a strong appreciation for the concept of ethical and sustainable living, by choosing to repurpose and bring new life to used and unwanted furniture, artwork and decor. It brings me great satisfaction and happiness that unique pieces around my home have previously lived another fabulous life with someones else’s family. 

Tanawha Formal Lounge - all of my Gumtree purchases

This collage shows most, but not all of the beautiful treasures I’ve collected over the past year from Gumtree. There are a few pieces missing including two of three lamps you’ll see in the after photos. Turns out, that gorgeous striped 1.5 seater is currently for sale at Domayne.

progress shots…

The walls took 5 cut-ins and 4 coats of paint to fully cover the existing white paint. Naturally, I did it myself using only a single A-frame ladder, so up and down I went hour after hour, day upon day. Morning coffees turned into late afternoon wines. There was dancing and swearing, but the result was so worth it. Our new blue walls would do justice to the room by framing the lovely green outlook and showing off the impressive ceiling height.

Tanawha Formal Lounge

My collected pieces from Gumtree also required a lot of work. In their defense, they’re old, loved and have experienced a whole other life outside of mine! The cane three-seater was recovered in four complementary blue and white fabrics in keeping with my maximalist approach. The seat cushions on the “pappa chairs’ and the custom lamp shades were also revived in fabulous blue and white hues. The coffee table finish was completely ruined after decades of use, but that gorgeous inlaid parquet top had me at hello. Two sanders later (I broke the first one), some walnut timber stain and fresh white paint, and the coffee table transformed!

Tanawha Formal Lounge - evolution of the coffee table

the great wall of art…

Now, this cluster wall is not for everyone. My intention was to curate a collection of pieces with some form of consistency in relation to the frames, but that’s where the uniformity ends. It’s unusual, peculiar and each picture isn’t spaced correctly which normally, would drive my OCD-ness crazy. There is old next to new, artwork between an oar, a bug, a random compass, and even a bell. And again, I love it! Whilst it’s random in design and size, I, of course, needed to ensure everything would fit. After measuring each piece, I created a scaled template of my new cluster wall, then pleaded with my very patient Fiance to hang the art. It took him 2 full days! Sorry Darling x

Tanawha Formal Lounge - wall art template design

grounding the space…

Last but not least, my eclectic and random selection of stuff needed grounding as it appeared to unorganised. At that stage, our budget didn’t cover ripping up that lovely terracotta tiled border and that ‘oh so fabulous’ faded, green carpet. I needed a statement rug large enough to ground and anchor the conversation setting and cover as much of the awful existing flooring as possible. Something made from hard wearing, cleanable materials was a non-negotiable requirement to accommodate everyday life. (AKA: stinky dudes and two large dogs constantly dropping black hair). Enter the 3 x 4m Leela Rug from Sugarcane Trading Co. While the rug was exactly what I was looking for, I was most chuffed about their company ethos which aligned beautifully with my sustainable and ethical approach. Tick!

Tanawha formal lounge - Sugarcane Trading Co dogs on the rug

This room is random. The timber stains don’t match, and neither does the furniture selection. There are patterns, and textures, and colours coming at you from every direction. Chanel and Dior coffee table books sit daintily next to an old pair of Binoculars my Dad bought for me from a vintage store in Melbourne. I traveled halfway to Toowoomba for that Bali twist console table and styled it with a print I repainted, purchased on sale from Temple and Webster. The large timber cupboard and numerous pieces of blue and white chinoiserie were gifts from friends and clients. And through the randomness and unique blend mix of old and new, in my eyes, it’s absolutely perfect.

Design by danni signature

Tanawha Formal Lounge - feature image
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation - great cluster wall of art
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation - bar cart and wall art details
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation - dart board, side table and feature chair detail
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation - bar cart, checked lamp and palm fronds
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation - bali twist console, chinoiserie and art
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation - bull dog details
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation - coffee table details
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation - Izzie lounge details
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation - bali twist, art, palms and chinoiseries
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation - coffee table details
Tanawha formal lounge after renovation -cupboard decor and lamp shades art
"I promise to only send the pretty stuff."

Subscribe to my newsletter below.