If I ever wound up in Australia, the first place I would run to visit would be a chic designer showroom on Edgecliff Road in Sydney, near Bondi Beach.
The windows of the showroom are so inviting, as you can see from this vignette, below. I mean – who puts handpainted wallpaper in a shop window only to take it down a month later?
BUT, since the shop is By Appointment Only, I suppose I’d have to go for a dip in the ocean anyway.
The designer behind the shop is Cameron Kimber. Kimber is a huge name in Australia design and more of a cult figure here in the states, thanks to the internet. I’m a big fan of his aesthetic and so are most decorators. Kimber is definitely a designer’s designer. His preferred look is classic English design updated for today. His interiors are warm and cozy and are universally loved.
Kimber has legions of followers on Instagram but he has no account of his own. Instead, devotees have to hunt down hashtags with his name. I know, because I am so guilty of doing this myself! I’m always searching around Instagram and the Internet looking for photos of new projects from Kimber.
Cameron Kimber, THE Aussie designer. He is so handsome too! And so Australian! G-day mate!
Since Kimber doesn’t get a lot of ink in design magazines here in the states, any new photos we do see is very exciting. Which is why I almost danced a jig when I saw the cover of the new House & Garden UK magazine.
(And that’s not exactly a pretty sight – me dancing a jig.)
(What is a jig anyway?)
So what exactly caused all this dancing around?
There, on the cover of the new House & Garden UK magazine was Cameron Kimber’s country house!!!!
Thank you House & Garden!
Kimber got his start working with the late, great Leslie Wolford, considered to be the most influential designer of Australia. Kimber went out on his own about 20 years ago and has been sought-after ever since. In Sydney, Kimber lives in an apartment, but on the weekends he heads to his house in the Southern Highlands countryside. The Southern Highlands is green with rolling hills. Many designers and wealthy people from Sydney have weekend homes in the Highlands since it is just 68 miles away.
Kimber built the house three years ago, using old elements to hide it is new construction. The house has a corrugated roof, which is popular on the original houses down below, along with a facade made of wood boards. Inside, the walls are white and warm coir matting covers the floor.
Kimber says his favorite designers are Colefax & Fowler, Nicky Haslam, Veere Greeney and other well known English decorators. His love of classic English decor is most obvious when you enter his country house.
Kimber also names an American who greatly influenced his country decor: Bunny Mellon. Kimber used her love of slim shutters, white walls, and wood paneling when building his own house.
First, take a look at the late Bunny Mellon’s living room at her Oak Spring Farm estate and then...
Look at Bunny Mellon’s house in Antiqua with its skinny shutters, chintz, white furniture and black antiques. Both of Bunny’s living rooms resemble Cameron Kimber’s own country house so much – you can really see how her aesthetic influenced Kimber’s:
KIMBER’S LIVING ROOM: AFTER & BEFORE
The photos from House & Garden UK are new. Kimber did some redecoration lately, as you will see in the “Before” photos.
The living room in Cameron Kimber’s country house – decorated with wall to wall coir matting, white walls, slim shutters, books, oil paintings, and antiques.
And here is a close view of the chintz slip on the chair and white slip on the sofa.
The chintz is Colefax and Fowler’s Fuchsia, which I love!
Little pops of green show up around the room and black accents are also used. But the art work is the biggest focal point in the living room.
From Instagram, at a house party, you can see there are more chairs at this side of the room.
From Instagram. A close up of the side tables. I love that red chinoiserie table! And notice the antique green leather tufted stool! Cute! That’s a pillow from Kathryn Ireland! That antique portrait is fabulous. That piece of art is beautiful and has wisely followed Kimber from house to house.
This house really makes a statement for antique portraits. They look fabulous in interiors of all kinds, even modern.
This Instagram photo focuses on the checked slipped sofa in the front windows. Antique paintings flank the shutters.
Kimber says about his country house: “I've always liked the English country house look, so I decorated this house with that sort of interior in mind. It's refreshing being here after being in the city all week, where my apartment is more streamlined. Here it's all flowers, porcelain and pretty colours.”
From Instagram: And looking at the other side of the sofa towards the back of the living room. Through the French door is the foyer and front door.
This Instagram photo shows the fireplace mantel and screen and green wicker lamp shade! Darling!!
Behind the bookcase, you can see the dining room cabinet. The kitchen is also behind that wall.
The C&F Fuchsia chintz comes in cotton or union – cotton/linen. It looks like Kimber’s Fuchsia is the cotton.
This black chinoiserie table has traveled with Kimber from previous house to house.
Now, notice that all the walls are white?
I found this photo from a few years ago and was struck by how many changes have been made in Kimber’s country house in such a short time. Notice the walls are striped here – wallpapered. And also notice – there are no shelves flanking the sofa – which is larger here. Obviously the bookcase was a later decision.
And notice that there are green and yellow accents here and the barely seen side sofa is not striped or slipped, it is just upholstered. The windows don’t have skinny shutters, instead they have sort of bulky shades.
What a surprise!
So, of course I started looking more closely at the Instagram photos.
Another view of the previous wall treatment. The yellow and green covered furniture was later moved out of the room.
What is even stranger is that this is another BEFORE photo, but it is more of an INTERMEDIATE photo.
You can clearly see here that a darker green stripe was added to the wallpaper perhaps to give it more definition?
And notice now, the sofa has the checked slipcover made. When the shelves were finally built – that sofa became too large for that wall, so it was moved to the front windows.
So many changes for such a short period of time?!!?
I think what this all means is that even a great decorator like Cameron Kimber likes to change up his interiors, just like we all do!
Another INTERMEDIATE PHOTO:
Surprise – there’s a lime green silk skirted table! Again, you can really see the difference in the wallpaper with the darker stripe added.
INTERMEDIATE: A blurry nighttime view showing all the changes: the green stripes over the wallpaper. The sofa on the left, before it was slipped. The yellow and green lime upholstery before it was moved out. AND – the bulky shades before they were traded in for skinny shades ala Bunny Mellon.
Here’s another “INTERMEDIATE” photo. At the back of the room is another antique portrait which has traveled with Kimber from one house to the next. There’s a typical English bar set up on the white console. A French door leads to the foyer and the front door.
After Kimber had changed the wallpaper to this more two-toned version, he must have decided that he preferred an all-white wall. And I have to admit, the all white wall does look more modern and less like something your great-aunt Louise might have had.
He then built the shelves and moved the sofas around. But – what about all those green and yellow fabrics?????
AFTER: Here you can clearly see, it looks like he added beadboard to the walls when he removed the wallpaper. If someone else has a better order of events – I would love to hear your theory!!!!
The top of the console is beautiful marble accessorized with two green glass lamps and frogs. I think these lamps might be Spitzmillers. A friend and shop owner carries Spitzmiller lamps.
Despite those pretty green lamps - the antique oil portrait again, steals the scene.
That oil has followed Kimber from house to house to house.
This instagram photo is an in-between Intermediate & After. The walls are now painted white and are beadboard. The bookshelves have been built. Lamps are from Before. The yellow ottoman is now gone, but the lime green antique chair remains.
A pretty view Intermediate Decor- you can see there is a picket fence out front and it looks like a stone retaining wall along the gravel front terrace.
In this in between Intermediate & After, I’m not sure if the green skirted table remains today.
From Instagram, the front yard, behind a white picket fence and iron gate.
Kimber’s house has wood siding house with a small foyer attached to the side of the house. Apparently, Kimber was influenced in the design of the foyer by the John Fowler/Nicky Haslam country house, The Hunting Lodge. HERE.
The Hunting Lodge has a rather dramatic facade – that is actually the back of the house.
It’s front is more quiet. Fowler added a foyer to the front of the house – off to the side.
A rare photo of the addition to the Hunting Lodge, by John Fowler. The foyer has a faux stone facade and a pitched roof.
And a close up of the Fowler/Haslam added on foyer which inspired Cameron Kimber.
On Instagram, the facade of Cameron Kimber’s country house, with the foyer to the right of the house, inspired by John Fowler’s own country house, seen above.
It really does look like John Fowler’s foyer. Hats off to Kimber for homage to Fowler.
From Instagram – the facade. You can see the smaller foyer/front door at the far right. This was taken early on – before the interior shades were replaced by the skinny shutters. There appears to be a gravel terrace between the front facade and the lawn.
This style of house is typical for the Southern Highlands and is derived from original houses in the area.
A closer view of the gravel terrace in front of the house – with lime trees.
And the foyer, with the lanterns flanking the door, just like John Fowler’s. Notice the brick floor in the foyer.
Here the front door opens to the foyer, where you are greeted with a marble mantel fireplace!! How romantic is this – a fireplace in the foyer?
From House & Garden UK: The portrait is from the 17th century. The plant stand is actually stacked chinoiserie tables.
Behind the fireplace is the “Snug” – a dark cozy television/library room. To the left is the doorway to the living room and behind that, the kitchen.
Another view of the marble mantel and the beautiful oval portrait. I love oval framed portraits! They are so elegant!
A side view of the foyer with the brick floors. You will see these chairs again and again in previous houses that Kimber owned. Same with the oval portrait. That will be seen again and again!
Which is such a great lesson. If you buy right the first time, you will own the antique forever.
Next to the front door is this small vignette with framed prints that have also traveled with Kimber from house to house. You can see the living room to the right.
Be sure to notice the door. The wood paneled door has a Z barn-like detailing. All doors in the house are finished like this is. Such attention to details!!
Through that door off the front foyer is the TV room or “Snug” as Kimber calls it. It’s a small room where Kimber and his guests retire to watch TV or read a book.
From House & Garden UK: The snug is the only room with dark walls, which Kimber likes to create a cozy TV watching mood.
Above the sofa is an abstract from the 40s. You will see later that his abstract has traveled with Kimber from house to house.
Kimber says he likes to use velvet in his Snugs because it is so comfortable.
From House & Garden UK: Kimber restored the cabinet and had the interior painted a vivid green.
From Instagram – a closeup of the curtains and the art work. I love the chinoiserie corner cabinet hanging on the wall. Beautiful green silk shade ala Miles Redd!
AND notice the gorgeous round chinoiserie table!!! Love this!!!!
From Kimber’s web site: Here you can see the bookshelves on the left. A different chair sits in the window.
In the House & Garden, UK, Kimber discussed his use of pelmets in his country house. In this room, he wanted the pelmet to be more tailored so that it would add height to the Snug. The fabric here is “Bailey Rose” by Cowtan & Tout.
Back in the living room, the kitchen and dining room are behind the wall with the bookcases.
I LOVE this room!!!
Behind the living room wall is the kitchen. On the left here, you can see part of the living room. The kitchen is simple black and white with a backsplash of subway tiles.
The casual dining area sits in front of the kitchen – with slip covered chairs and blue painted rattan chairs.
From Instagram, the table is set for a party. First notice there is a wonderful fireplace in the dining area. The cabinet runs along the entire side wall, full of his collection of dishes. I love that old painting of the young girl.
Notice this is an older photo because the wallpaper is still hanging on the walls.
And here is another older photo of the mantel and the old wallpaper. And notice at the very left of the mantel, the checked sofa. What? You can’t see it?
There you go! Ask and ye shall receive!
Terrible, terrible photo I found on Instagram. But I had to share it – a lovely brown and white checked sofa in the kitchen/dining room…..
Aw…much better Instagram photo. This shows a new painting over the mantel AND the new white walls and beadboard in place of the wallpaper.
I love that black clock. You will see it again, later, in another home!!
And this from Instagram – across the kitchen/dining room is a set of windows overlooking the front yard. Instead of the skinny shutters – there are Mrs. Monro curtains, Auricula. Wish there was a large photo!!
From House & Garden, UK: The master bedroom – with beautiful Hollyhock curtains by Lee Jofa. Also that chair - Beautiful!!!!
Kimber said: “There’s a big thing at the moment for linen and printed linen, but I still love chintz, so I did chintz curtains in the bedrooms. For my bedroom, I chose a pelmet that would feel slightly more formal without being grand. I used a brush fringe as the edging rather than a heavy bullion fringe.”
Actually, many of the stories about “2018 Trends” said Chintz was making a comeback whiles others said it was out, out, out. Go figure!!! I love the chintz used in this house and think that is one thing that is so pretty about it.
From Instagram: The master bed with the Hollyhock fabric headboard and darling striped and floral bedspread. Love.
It’s hard to tell, but apparently this is a wallpaper, not paint.
From House & Garden UK, a look at the tufted chair and a glance into the master bathroom. Notice the farm Z door to the bathroom!
From Kimber’s Web Site: In this larger photo – you can see the chest on the right side of the bed. Love those curtains!
The bed and the chests will show up again in other Kimber houses, seen later. Again – buy quality and it will last forever!!
FROM House & Garden UK. The master bathroom has a distinctive curtain treatment.
Kimber said about the bathroom window: “I was inspired by pelmet designs of the Thirties and Forties for the bathroom, which is a really classic and pretty room. I felt this particular design had a whimsical touch, and suited the custom-printed Colefax and Fowler fabric.”
What Kimber didn’t mention is that he used the same curtains in his former city terrace house – in the master bedroom, as you will see later!!
House & Garden UK: The guest room has blue walls and a green chintz which is Fern Stripe by Jean Monro. So pretty.
Kimber said: “When I do a bedroom in a print, I tend to use a fair bit of it, so I like the curtains to match in with the bed. I don't want too many jumpy patterns. That's really the way you should use chintz. If you use a print carefully, I don't think it says this is an old lady's room or a young man's room.”
Notice how cute the water canister is in green wicker! Love!
From Instagram, and a bit of a different styling. I miss the green blankets on the bed.
Kimber said about these curtains: 'In my spare bedroom, I used a soft gathered pelmet to add a more feminine, traditional note. I thought it would contrast nicely with the architectural paneling on the walls and give height to the window.”
I hope you enjoyed Cameron Kimber’s country house. I know I did! While researching the story on Instagram, I saw SO many beautiful Australian houses, many in the Southern Highlands where Kimber’s friends tend to have weekend houses. Oh, to be 30 years younger and just starting out! So many of these houses are like Kimber’s, with chintz and English antiques. Some are more modern but the contemporary designs still have a more cozy look with big lamps and big linen pillows and lots of texture.
Reading more about Kimber in depth lead me to study his portfolio, newspaper articles, magazine photoshoots and google maps.
The big question I wanted to know was – where did Cameron Kimber live in the city?
I found where he USED to live, but where did he live now?
A while ago a new project showed up on Kimber’s web site. It looked like a big one room efficiency apartment. On closer observation, you could see the black secretary that Cameron’s used in several of his houses. I needed some confirmation that this was indeed his city apartment. Finally, I found an article in the Sydney newspaper with a photo of Kimber and the caption “Kimber in his apartment in Potts Point.”
Ah ha! So, the efficiency apartment IS his new city home! Or IS it an efficiency?
So many bloggers showed this bedroom last year, but is there more to this than just a large bedroom??????
Here is the city apartment where Kimber lives. It might be just a one room efficiency apartment. The bedroom is certainly huge with a sitting area. It might be larger. One fabric pattern covers the bed and windows and walls. On the far side of the canopy bed is a wall of mirrors that probably hides the closet doors.
And, it’s not really a canopy bed – it’s a bed with curtains and a pelmet hanging from the ceiling.
Isn’t this beautiful?
Two gilt antique French chairs flank Cameron’s black secretary that has been seen in many of his houses. It was once stained brown, but now it’s been painted lack. Love the rattan stool. Another clue that this is actually Kimber’s house – those shells have been seen in many of his other houses.
The two chairs are almost disappear into the walls except for their antique gilt frame. I love one fabric designs.
Another view with different styling on the desk.
More of the apartment – the sitting area, behind black doors.
I love that tailored slipped sofa – with wood caster legs. A velvet tiger pillow is a nice focal point. Another wall of mirrors makes the apartment seem larger.
A carpeted floor. The apartment reminds me of a five star hotel and with his large country house, this is probably all he needs in the city.
A view of the green touches – a velvet chair cushion and green velvet stool. Kimber loves to bring green in with blue.
A vignette with antiques and books – my own favorite combination!
There’s more to the apartment than just the bedroom and the sitting area.
Behind this black door, is more to the apartment. The garden stool is the same – such a pretty one! Why can’t we have pretty stools like this here?
And this photo behind the door shows a dining room. I wish he would publish this apartment! It’s obviously more than an efficiency! And that French chair on the back wall is Kimber’s, seen in all his previous homes.
So, while Kimber has his new country house in the Highlands and the small blue apartment in Pitts Pound, where did he live BEFORE the blue apartment?
Before those two homes, Cameron Kimber lived in an original Terrace home located on a small back lane in the inner city.
Vogue Living did a story on his house in 2012 which made a big splash with bloggers and Pinterest.
Vogue Living 2012 – the cover is of Cameron Kimber’s terrace house. Notice the oval portrait? Look familiar? Today that lives above the fireplace in Kimber’s country house foyer.
The house is an original 1880 Terrace, tiny, and hidden on a quiet dead end lane, right off a busy city street – the quiet of the lane was what attracted Kimber to the house.
The 1880 Terrace house had been completely restored in the 70/80s.
Here is the floor plan below.
Originally the kitchen and dining room were at the rear of the house and the living room was at the front. But, Kimber had the brilliant idea to move the kitchen/dining room to the front and the living room to the back where it opens to the outside patio – creating a large indoor/outdoor room. Upstairs is a bedroom and a “snug.”
Real estate photos: The front door opens to the kitchen and dining area. The galley kitchen is along one side of the room. The dining table sits in the middle.
Vogue: Kimber mixes a marble table, antiques, silver lantern, and French chairs all dress up a simple galley kitchen.
Antique green plates dress up the table. He has the prettiest plates!!!
This kills me!!! A blue and white antique water bowl for the dog. How pretty! I’m going to do this.
This set of chairs is seen in all of Kimber’s houses as is this beautiful oval portrait. Love!
Antique oil portraits are expensive BUT
Buying at auction can be a lot cheaper.
This is a GREAT auctioneer online company.
I see so many great deals on this site – try it! HERE.
Search on their New Orleans auctions – for sure! They are incredible!!
The hall leads from the kitchen/dining room to the larger living room at the rear. On the left, notice the portrait of the young boy that is in the country house, behind the sofa.
The house was decorated similarly to the country house with beadboard paneling painted white and coir matting for the carpet.
Here is his living room which leads to the back terrace. He added the fireplace, along with a large ceiling light. White slips cover his sofa along with blue accents and a green ottoman. Today, that ottoman lives in the country house’s “snug.” And notice the portrait above the sofa. Today, that is at the country house in the living room by the foyer. The antique gilt mirror over the fireplace today is in the country house living room, above the fireplace – just like this.
Real Estate Photo: This photo shows the room edited a bit, without the two black antique Regency chairs.
That crystal lamp today lives at the country house’s living room. Love the black antique chinoiserie furniture and the clock that is today in the kitchen in the country.
Real Estate Photo: Kimber installed a pretty garden with a fountain and stone patio, plenty of box and fern that gives him much privacy.
Kimber installed the fireplace. In the reflection you can see the oil portrait that is now in the country house as is this mirror. Remember those shells? Today they live in the new city apartment – which is decorated all in blue.
And along the wall between the living room and the front kitchen is the black secretary that is today in Kimber’s all blue & white efficiency apartment in town. The stairs lead upstairs to the bedroom and snug.
Kimber with his dog and the the black secretary. The unusual frame on the oil painting shows up again, as does the console to Kimber’s right in the country house’s living room.
Upstairs, a black lacquered door opens to what was once the tiny guest room and is now the snug or TV room.
The Snug in the city Terrace house is also, like the country house’s snug, a dark room, here, covered in a black and white check fabric. The abstract painting over the sofa is today at the country house, also in the snug.
The books are now in the country’s newly built book shelves as the city blue & white apartment doesn’t have the room for them.
Another view of the snug with an antique French chair and chinoiserie chest and pagoda. Both the chest and the pagoda are in the country house today.
The master bedroom with the canopy bed that is today at the country house. AND, notice the curtains here? Today they are in the master bathroom!!
The framed prints are in the country house’s foyer.
Across from the bed is this chest which today is also in the country house’s master bedroom.
It’s not over yet!!!! LOL!!!
Where did Cameron Kimble live BEFORE this city 1883 Terrace house, the country house, and the blue & white apartment??????
He lived in an apartment built in the 60s and located in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
This early apartment was also photographed for Vogue Living in 2008.
Here is the early 60s apartment. The walls were wrapped in raffia textured wallpaper. This is different from Kimber’s more usual white beadboard walls he uses today. Along the back wall is the original secretary BEFORE it was lacquered in black. Kimber has stated that he never liked its previous mahogany stain. Unlike all his other houses – the apartment has dark hardwoods. An area coir rug was used.
Today, Kimber usually uses coir wall to wall.
The green ottoman has gone from here, to the city terrace house, to the country house as has the Regency chairs and the chinoiserie chest. The two gilt frame paintings have also taken the same route from here to the terrace house to the country house.
A younger Cameron Kimber sits in the apartment – remember the shells? There they are. The abstract art work is one possession that hasn’t been seen again. He probably sold it a client in his shop.
The same French chairs seen in all Kimber’s homes are here in this early apartment, as is the beautiful oil portrait. I love this photograph!
The bedroom – the only bedroom photo I can find from the story is this one. Blue paisley wallpaper. The chest moved from here to the terrace house to the master bedroom of the country house.
And the famous oval painting.
Lessons from Cameron Kimber’s Houses?
1. Chintz is still in, especially in small doses such as a slipcover and pillow.
2.Antique portraits add so much drama to a room. Can’t afford an original? Look for a good copy.
3. Books are a great accessory as is anything in black.
4. Chinoiserie makes great accent pieces.
5. Fireplaces in kitchens, foyers, bedrooms are terribly romantic.
6. Textiles rugs such as coir or seagrass make a good foil to white walls.
But note: I think coir is a much, much inferior material to seagrass. It stains terribly and can’t be cleaned nearly as well as seagrass. I wonder why Kimber uses coir so much?
A fireplace in the foyer and dining room and kitchen are terribly romantic!
One Last Word:
A word about Fuchsia by Colefax & Fowler. Glam Pad wrote a wonderful story tying all the famous interiors using Fuchsia together. HERE.
What I had never noticed until now is how much alike two of these rooms are:
FIRST. The fabulous bedroom by Lee Radziwill that I wrote about HERE – where she used Fuchsia and a patterned floor, canopy bed, white walls, white rug, and her fabulous collection of botanicals.
I had never put it together, but whoa:
Here is Tory Burch’s new bedroom in the Hamptons decorated by the great Daniel Romualdez. Now, notice all the similarities to Lee Radziwill’s – the patterned floor, the canopy bed, the white rug, the chair turned around by the bed, the same Fuchsia fabric, the white walls AND EVEN the botanicals!!!
In Architectural Digest, it was said that Tory’s bedroom was inspired by Bunny Mellon at Antiqua – especially since Tory bought Bunny’s Antigua house. Tory loves Bunny’s Antiqua house just like Cameron Kimber does!
Here are a few bedrooms of Bunny’s at Antiqua.
This does look like Tory’s Hamptons bedroom – but more than Lee Radziwill’s?
Another bedroom in Antiqua.
Well…they can say that Tory’s bedroom was influenced by Bunny but the similarity between Lee Radziwill’s and Tory’s bedrooms is undeniable.
Want the Cameron Kimber Look for Your Own?
Portrait copy - HERE
Majolica set of plates HERE
Antique Framed dog HERE
Green Lamp HERE
Set of 3 Chinoiserie chairs!
Floral Chair HERE
18 pieces Royal Worcester HERE
Antique Box HERE
Copy - ELEANORA HERE
Tall blue & white lamp HERE
LAMPS Blue & White HERE
Entry/living room slipped bench HERE
Peter Dunham Ikat and Bukhara HERE
Set of Books Green/Gray HERE
Grandfather and girl Antique portrait HERE
Majolica Tureen HERE
Antique horns HERE
Collection of antique green transferware HERE
Oval antique Mirror HERE
F Schumacher Pillows HERE
Vintage set of books HERE
Pyne Hollyhock Pillows HERE
You all know my friend Artie with the fabulous apartment, which he has spent the past year perfecting. Remember it?
Artie’s living room with the beautiful chinoiserie armoire and wonderful art work?
And his fabulous bedroom with the fabric walls and wonderful bed???
Well, hold on people.
Artie is moving on. Yes. He is moving on.
Artie is going to buy a house!!!!
EVERYTHING IN ARTIE’S APARTMENT IS NOW FOR SALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!EVERYTHING!!!!!To read all about it and maybe, purchase something of his you have always admired….GO HEREenjoy!!!!!!!!!!!