Emerald Terrace by Chelsea Hing is a home that exists comfortably between eras thanks to an interior design narrative that gives equal credence to its Victorian origins and timeless spirited modernity.

Interior designer Chelsea Hing’s aptitude for coaxing period homes into contemporary relevance is taken to new heights at Emerald Terrace. The home, an elegant dame built in the late 1880s, was thoughtfully resurrected by architect Stephen Akehurst who returned the echoing rooms and ornate details to their former glory. The new owners, a young family of five, engaged Chelsea Hing to help break down the formality of and preconceived ideology around the home’s navigation, introducing an inviting ambiance and subtly whimsical sense of charisma.

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Glas Italia Marlene mirror, Edra Scrigno cabinet by Fernando & Humberto Campana and artwork ‘Dexter’ 2014 by Leila Jeffreys.

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What was once a ballroom has been pivoted to a space that equalises comfort and ceremony through furniture placement and styling. The precision of a large Flos Arrangements lamp juxtaposes the welcoming yield of a sofa, all reflected in the jagged elegance of a Glass Italia Kooh-I-Noor Specchi mirror.

“I think all homes should be enjoyed,” Chelsea says, “and there shouldn’t be untouched rooms.” Chelsea’s philosophy has been interlaced within the interior design dialogue at Emerald Terrace by establishing a gentle hierarchy. The hierarchy effectively flips informal and formal in places, eradicating it completely in others, to create a home much more in keeping with the way we live today, compared with a century ago. 

While the beauty of the home’s bones remains, Emerald Terrace’s antiquated gestures towards the way life once carried out have been reoriented through colourful expression, particularly of the personalities that live there. “They had the bare bones,” Chelsea says, “the legacy of some pieces we sourced for them for a previous home. A dining table and sofa became cornerstones that were developed further.”  

The placement of key furniture pieces is a testament to the interior design application throughout the rest of the home. Starting with a focus on the front room, “the dining table was placed in front of the fireplace with an adjunct at each end so that the spaces could talk to each other,” Chelsea explains. This consideration for the experience of space – sitting around a table with friends, the warmth of the fire deepening wine flushed cheeks – is where Emerald Terrace finds resounding success. 

An overarching cohesion of soft greys walls framed and bookended by ceilings of crisp white and floors of silvery grey in the front rooms bring a fresh austerity to the ornate character of plasterwork and ceiling roses, evolving naturally to the more contemporary spaces to the rear of the home. This timeless aesthetic neutrality allows for a kaleidoscope of colours radiating from furniture, artwork and styling objects to exhale. “Monumental pieces stand alone to create heroism,” Chelsea says.

Old-fashioned notions of how a room’s purpose denotes its atmosphere have been intentionally flipped at Emerald Terrace. This deep understanding of juxtaposition and use inserts an entirely novel narrative where the traditional elements are homaged but redefined for the vernacular. Today, where once-grand chandeliers hung, clean oversized silhouettes and organic orbs suspend from ceilings inhabit the space.

Emerald Terrace could be compared to a Venn diagram, with various shared areas and overlapping thresholds representing styles, eras and design intents. It’s what Chelsea calls a “unifying contemporary touch,” which is the result of the strength of the edit, making the home approachable but ensuring it retains its elegant formality.

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