Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge exudes luxury. There are the koala-shaped homemade cookies upon arrival and the chocolate kangaroos on your pillow at turndown service. The wine cellar boasts a fine selection of locally made vino, and the award-winning spa leaves you smelling of custom aromatherapy oils for days. Meals are made only with the finest of fresh, organic farm-raised ingredients, all served by doting staff. But what impressed me more than all of these pleasures combined during my recent visit to this oasis was the design of the lodge itself.
Located on the edge of a cliff on a wide expanse of conservation land, it is highly apparent that the design of Southern Ocean Lodge was inspired by its surrounding terrain. While there is no denying its posh luxury status, the lodge proves the point that sophisticated interiors can be done in a refined, simplistic way. There are no flashy wallpapers, opulent flower arrangements, or crystal chandeliers disrupting the view to the outdoors. Instead, nature takes the lead, with the thoughtfully planned architecture and interiors only enhancing its beauty.
After entering the front gate, a long dirt road leads to the entrance. For kilometers, nothing can be seen except for a vastness of flat, uninhibited land. The lodge itself is camouflaged into the surrounding bush, magically appearing out of nowhere. A boardwalk leads to the front entrance, where an incredible, uninterrupted ocean view is made possible by an entire wall of glass. Your eye is led straight past the understated, neutral interiors and on toward the main attraction: the sparkling sea.
Photos simply cannot do this special place justice, but I will attempt to demonstrate to you how nature can be an impetus for design. Enjoy these images of the surrounding sights that led to inspiration for the understated elegance in the architecture, the refined rustic interior design, and the clever accents of custom fabrics and local art. Luxury interiors do not have to entail expensive cut velvets and rare oriental rugs, but they should emanate the utmost level of taste and sophistication. Sometimes restraint can be even more difficult to pull off than accessorizing into oblivion. The beautifully done, perfectly edited Southern Ocean Lodge does just that, in an au naturel elegance to remember!
Land & Sea as Inspiration:
Notice the colors of the sand, vegetation, and sea that are thoughtfully repeated in the interior design below, encouraging a graceful, natural transition from indoor to outdoor spaces.
Blending Architecture into the Surroundings:
The exterior of the buildings were painted an earthy blue-green, allowing the lodge to act as a life-sized chameleon perched on the cliff. White or tan paint would have been too harsh, and green would have clashed with the surrounding vegetation. The shade was easy on the eyes and allowed it to blend seamlessly into the nearby sea.
Sandy beiges, earthy browns, and sea-green blues are repeated in the flooring, furniture, fabrics, and paint. It is this constant repetition of soothing natural tones, without the introduction of any jarring colors, that make the interiors so calming and sumptuous.
A Focus on Texture:
Instead of an overload of loud patterns, the lodge relied on a variation in textures to continue the theme of sophisticated, refined, natural beauty and comfort.
We visited over a few days that transitioned from warm and clear weather to overcast skies with sporadic precipitation. The variation in light and temperature certainly changed, but the interiors remained complementary to the surroundings. Warm wool throws and fireplaces comforted cold, wet feet after hikes. Yet, light colored linen lounges and smooth limestone floors felt cool to the touch after an afternoon in the sun. The fact that attention was placed on the materials and textures themselves made the accommodations feel endlessly effortless and completely cozy.
Local Art as an Accent:
Work by local artist Janine Mackintosh is on display throughout the lodge. It is the perfect pairing to the relaxed natural simplicity of the interiors. She uses locally gathered leaves and shells and arranges them in geometric patterns on white canvases. The result is clean, mesmerizing, and ideal for its surrounding.
The Southern Ocean Lodge offers a respite from everyday life, but not in the style of most ostentatious resorts. It connects the guest with the land in a way I have never experienced. Natural beauty outweighs material goods, and it leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated in more ways than one.
I hope you will remember this mentality in your own interior design endeavors. It is important to consider your surroundings and relate them to your own home’s architecture and design. Make this all-important connection a priority, not an afterthought.