You can see that I like white, clean and bright. And this did get me thinking about this question: what exactly is Australian style?
There is a lot one could say on this topic, one could mention our 'easy going' inside \ outside sunny lifestyle. But that forgets of course that a substantial part of the south of the country has cold winters and even snow. One could talk about how we love to use colour, but then what about all those lovely white and neutral interiors we see everywhere? Or we could look at all the natural timbers and fibres we use, or our hard edged modern back extensions.
My answer is much simpler, and harks back to the days of the Australian Impressionists who, inspired by the French, gathered at Heidelberg outside Melbourne to paint in what was then a radical new style. They found that the light in Australia was completely different to the light in Europe. It means that they had to adjust their painting technique and subject matter and colour to address the hard squinty brightness of the light.
This is illustrated by these wonderful works, all painted in the same year:
Charles Conder 'Herricks Blossoms' 1889
Arthur Streeton 'Golden Summer Eaglemont' 1889
(this is now an inner suburb of Melbourne)
Arthur Streeton 'Windy and Wet' 1889
I think this hits the nail on the head. The light in Australia is different to the light in other countries. It is harsher and brighter (and burnier, as I have found out at some cost). This means you have to decorate and design differently. You need shady spots, and you have to be careful with too much white. It means that colours show through clearly and cleanly, so the shade of red which may look burgundy in a room in France is fire engine red here. And that lovely white Swedish room may cause sun blindness here.
I know someone whose mother died in the 1980's and when they packed up her home they found an Arthur Streeton painting hidden under her bed. Why would you hide the work of such a wonderful artist?
(Images: (1)(5) Australian House and Garden (6) from the book 'Living the Modern - Australian Architecture) (7) - (9) from the National Gallery of Victoria)