by Laura Kebby
There are many words that spring to mind when looking at the affectionately and aptly named James Bond House. Situated in Chandler Queensland, this sleek modern property takes inspiration from the luxurious mansions of the Hollywood Hills, yet surrounded by a blissful backdrop of the Australian landscape.
Intrigued? So were we, so we sat down with interior designer Leila Macaione, director and founder of Studio LMD to find out more about this beautiful project.
Can you tell me a little bit about your role at studio LMD
I’m the director and founder of Studio LMD and we officially launched in September last year. We were lucky enough to launch with the ‘James Bond’ house which really set things off nicely for us! The flow-on effect has just been fantastic and the response has just been more than I could’ve hoped for.
Looking at the property now, it’s so easy to see why the response was so amazing. It’s truly stunning in every way and it’s very clear that you have such a passion for your work.
My question is, what keeps you passionate?
I think I was born to do this to be honest!
I live and breathe interior design and there isn’t really a moment where I’m not looking on Instagram or Pinterest or reading my favourite magazines - like Surface Australia or Design Anthology, to take inspiration.
Also, I draw a lot from fashion as well. I find that fashion seems to be ahead of the game a lot of the time, particularly in Europe, and I draw a lot of inspiration from what kind of palettes they are coming out with as well.
What’s really inspiring you at the moment, I love that you mention fashion influencing your work!
This year? Definitely fashion, but also I’ve found a big turn to nature as well, which is a big thing for me because I’m usually buried in books and magazines a lot of the time. The bushfires at the beginning of the year, I just found that to be just so devastating and it really makes you think about the world around us, and that’s a lot of what I’ve been drawing my inspiration from lately.
That particular line of inspiration has been feeding into a lot of my designs, and it’s really about trying to bring the outdoors inside, particularly for smaller homes and apartments where you don’t have that amazing access to the outdoors necessarily and bringing that in has become really important. I think it also links really well to your inner well-being, which is where I’ve been drawing inspiration from lately too. As well as all of the amazing patterns from Milan and Europe.
What’s your design approach and the philosophy behind your work?
When I receive a house, generally speaking, it’s been designed by an architect and what I really love to do is to work with the architect who designed the house, just to make sure there’s a link between interiors and architecture. Throughout my work, I try to make sure that alignment is perfectly balanced as much as you can.
But really, I could talk for hours on this stuff so I’ll try and stay on track! I guess it’s also about really listening to what the clients want. With the James Bond house for instance, the architecture of that house was something so completely modern, it reminded me of something from the Hollywood Hills but it was set within this completely rural setting. With the interiors, I wanted it to be sleek, with amazing attention to detail like the architecture, but I also wanted to bring in that beautiful warmth of a rural setting. I guess that dovetails back to my philosophy of really drawing inspiration from everything around me, so I can develop and form a palette and design methodology that’s consistent throughout the entire house.
Let’s talk the James Bond House, what was the initial brief for the project?
The client really left it up to me. I had the most incredible clients! They had originally built this house to stay in for a number of years and have their children live there, but then their children ended up moving overseas, and travelling, and doing other things, so they decided they would probably have to sell halfway through that build process. When they first approached me, they basically said ‘we have no idea what we want, you just show us what you think and then we will just let the design evolve from there’.
I really didn’t have a brief which is kind of cool in a sense, although it’s a bit challenging too as you don’t have a goal to achieve specifically.
With that in mind, I just drew inspiration from the architecture and the surroundings, and I wanted to work out a way to make this home as spectacular on the inside as it is on the outside all whilst maintaining a Queensland aesthetic as well.
At the end of the day, they wanted to sell it so it had to appeal to a wide variety of people, which is going to be really tricky with this house like this as it’s on such a mammoth scale!
Having no clear brief is such a challenge in itself, but did you face any other challenges along the way?
Honestly it was a dream project. We had the perfect team of collaborators that all had similar visions for the house, which was to make it incredibly epic. Somehow it all just came together. I’d say the only really tricky area we faced was the wine-cellar and what to do down there. I had an idea in my mind, and then the clients had such a different idea, so it was about bringing those two ideas together and I think we ended up nailing it in the end.
My idea for the wine cellar was very similar to what we did upstairs for the rest of the house, really drawing on that same sleek feel, whilst also adding a bit of a rustic feel. Whereas the client initially wanted a medieval-style wine cellar so that was definitely a little bit challenging as well!
Knowing the initial brief and ideas from the client in regards to the wine cellar and the idea you initially had in mind, looking at the finished product now I can definitely see how you’ve seamlessly nailed this beautiful midpoint!
Thank you so much! That’s so nice to hear!
But honestly, everything really came together so well. The electrical consultant for the job was incredible, the Earp Bros tiles were amazing, everyone loved them. Honestly, everyone and everything just came together so well. It was one of those seamless projects.
With the Earp Bros surface materials, you can see them all throughout the house, what was your overall impression of the surface materials used?
We love them! As soon as I got the commission for this job to start on the design, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to use tiles from Earp Bros, particularly the Roden Perla tiles, I’m always asking for samples of that product! It’s just my absolute favourite style of tile and when I showed the client that tile, they absolutely fell in love with it too! It’s just got this beautiful warm undertone to it, it’s clean and fresh and perfect for those bathroom areas and it married up so well with having a very monochromatic palette.
It was fun to use that particular tile because we not only used it in the bathrooms, but we also used it along the fireplace too. It kind of pops up in unexpected places and it was so much fun to be able to use that material in so many different ways, and it always looks slightly different.
One last question, is there particular space you’re dying to work with and design and what does your dream project look like?
Ohh that’s a good one! Dream project? Probably another James Bond house! No brief, do whatever you like, we trust you, that type of thing! Also, I love working out in Chandler, the houses out there are beautiful and there doesn’t seem to be any rules that apply to that area.
You can go from super modern like the James Bond house through to renaissance style and everything in between.