Blainey North, the chic Sydney interior decorator, takes the crown in Melbourne

Blainey North, the chic Sydney interior decorator, takes the crown in Melbourne
Jonathan ChancellorDecember 8, 2020

BlaineyNorth-CrownConservatory-01

Blainey North is the Sydney interior decorator of the moment, but her profile is higher in Melbourne.

She’s just scored the dream decorating design job of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s 798 square metre amalgamated penthouse high above Lavender Bay, Title Tattle has gleaned.

And of course, she’s billionaire James Packer's preferred decorator.

The Age readers know of her given the recent re-opening of the Conservatory buffet restaurant at Crown. Its major refurbishment was by North's Sydney-based design group, which created an environment where customers can interact with the chefs cooking behind the buffet.

Crown invested millions in the makeover, which has served more than a million meals since 1997, according to Crown's executive general manager of food and beverage, Nicolas Kurban.

Adopting century-old techniques set in a modern context, guests feel they are in London, Shanghai or New York during an era when craftsmanship and materials were revered and buildings and interiors were designed to endure and built to last. At least that's the speel.

There are four distinct areas in the 190 seat Conservatory, including a small collection of tables assembled close to the antipasto, seafood, salad and cheese selections.

There are white marble floors, bespoke chandeliers, a distinctive woven timber ceiling, custom-made carpets, very generous chairs inspired by racing cars plus steel screening.

The restaurant is flanked with floor to ceiling mirrors, plus double-height windows overlooking the Yarra River.

There's a palette of green and stark white throughout.

In the open-plan kitchen custom-made spice jars hang on walls and hundreds of red mosaic tiles - inspired by Victorian fenestration - are used to theatrical effect.

She has also designed The Chairman's Villa at Crown. 

North was first spotted by the mainstream press when shortlisted in the 2005 The Interior Design Awards, but has since barely rated a mention in the Sydney newspaper columns other than when she married Russell Crowe’s personal assistant, Keith Rodger in mid-2011.

North is known to be a fan of art deco with a restrained colour palette, and the use of wood panelling and chrome accents.

Indeed her first home – sold in 2010 to model Lara Bingle at $882,000 – was in an art deco Darling Point apartment complex.

It was a renovated, one-bedroom unit with city and harbour views from most of its 65 square metre space, which North had secured for $700,000.

It featured elegant American oak parquetry flooring.

Her bespoke projects have included the 54 Park Street spa where Nicole Kidman is known to work out.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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