Sun, sea and style

This Noosaville seaside property designed by Di Henshall Interior Design offers the flair of European interior styling for the ultimate getaway at home. HOUSING talks to Di about her inspiration for the project and all its unique features.

Photo courtesy Di Henshall Interior Design

Q: Tell us about this project. What was the client brief?

DH: We were engaged by the developer who asked us to create an edgy, modern design that would push them out of their comfort zone. The result was beyond their expectations and the property sold for a record price.

We were asked to design the furnishings to be in keeping with the modern Italian stylings we had created for the property. We achieved this by selecting and specifying custom furnishings that connected with the space. For the main areas, we chose a neutral colour palette when designing the finishes but introduced injections of more colour when selecting the furnishings, bringing the spaces to life.

The new owners asked us to design a bedroom for their grandchildren, so they had a delightful space for them to stay. We created a gorgeous coastal-themed room with twin beds and an ensuite for them to relax after a big day out.

The clients also wanted versatile first-floor living room sofas that they could use on the balcony to enjoy sea breezes. To meet this request, we specified some beautiful lightweight outdoor sofas that could endure the harsh sun.


Q: What was your design vision?

DH: The vision was to create a contemporary European-style home right by the ocean. The house is designed with impressive features, such as the polished terrazzo flooring with brass detailing throughout and the statement slate stone wall, which connects the ground floor to the first. The linear black metal balustrade complements the black cabinetry handles in the kitchen and the electric black tiles in the bathrooms.

A clear European signature was carefully created to produce a home with a unique, luxurious design. We pushed our clients’ design boundaries and happily they are extremely proud of the completed project.

The house has a very adaptable design with an interesting colour palette. We furnished the home for our clients with selections to match the interior. The custom furnishings play off the colours used throughout the house as well as the natural seascape beyond.

Q: How did you design for the layout of the home? Can you talk us through your process?

DH: We designed the house to utilise the seascape by ensuring the entertaining and living areas on the first floor took full advantage of the view so it will always be appreciated. We optimised space by incorporating storage wherever possible, including multiple storage cupboards and a hideaway laundry under the stairs.


Q: Can you describe some of the main materials chosen and why?

DH: Fixtures and finishes were selected for a luxurious result. We selected polished terrazzo flooring with brass strips throughout, a slate feature wall, black tile with white veining, feature lighting and a black steel stairwell. A sliding barn door, rendered modern fireplace and floral wallpaper bring in a European flavour to complement the modern elements of the home. The furnishings were selected to suit the interior design of the home, so we had many pieces custom-made. Lightweight outdoor sofas were specified for the first-floor lounge that were durable enough for the balcony, to enjoy the sun without damaging the furniture.

A lift was incorporated for ease of access and to ensure that the home would comfortably house any guests.


Q: Any unexpected challenges?

DH: As the home is opposite the sea, we had to ensure that the outdoor appliances, sinks and showers were all marine grade stainless steel to combat the inevitable salt air which causes corrosion.

Q: What’s your favourite room or feature?

DH: I adore the stairwell, there is so much interest and character in what is usually an insignificant space.


About the designer

Q: What materials are you loving at the moment?

DH: Porcelean slabs, engineered timber, Spanish mosaics and steel.

Q: Do you have a signature style or your own design aesthetic?

DH: I don’t have a signature style per se. I endeavour to design to please my clients and test their design boundaries.

Q: As an interior designer, what rules do you live by?

DH: Always listen to the client, keep up-to-date with new products and trends, and travel often.

Q: Best mistake you’ve ever made?

DH: I selected an exquisite, very expensive chandelier for the top of a stairwell that spanned three floors. When it was installed, I realised, happily, that the chandelier was reflected on every glass panel of the balustrade, amplifying the effect of the chandelier on all three floors, totally by accident.

Q: What’s something unique and fundamental to your business?

DH: We are a building company, an interior design firm, a furniture manufacturer and full interior decoration supplier.

So, we can design, build, project manage and furnish properties right down to the teaspoons.


Di Henshall Interior Design

Di Henshall Interior Design was founded on the Sunshine Coast in 1988 by owner and Director Di Henshall. She has won many prestigious awards over the years including HIA’s Professional Woman of the Year 2016 and Best Interior Design 2015.

Di is constantly supporting the education of hopeful interior designers through insightful work experience practices and industry advice.

As a qualified builder she can communicate effectively with trades and has a comprehensive understanding throughout the construction process. She also founded their sister company Resident Hero who specialises in custom made cabinetry.


Tingira at a glance 

Designer: Di Henshall Interior Design

Location: Noosaville, QLD  


  • Balcony: black framed bi-fold doors
  • Hallway: porcelain terrazzo tiles, white melamine, LED downlights
  • Master bedroom: frameless glass sliding doors, prime oak Woodmatt, feature wallpaper
  • Ensuite: silver grey slip resistant tiles, crystal absolute white vanity
  • Outdoor: shamrock, onyx in black, alfresco compact laminate
  • Exterior: timber-look aluminium posts privacy screens in American walnut   

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