What Makes Room Great? An Expert Reveals; Interior designer Stacey Kouros walks us through the Sydney house she transformed from blank canvas to beautiful character-filled family home

1. In the zone

“The large, open-plan living space with best recliners for relaxing has a beautiful flow through to the backyard,” Stacey explains. “Although this is ideal, the eye is immediately drawn to the expanse of glazing at the back, so the room called for smaller, more intimate areas.” This was achieved with the use of two custom-made rugs (also see living area, right), which Stacey describes as “artworks in themselves”. “The bold colours and striking geometric patterns create a strong point of interest, while adding life to the decor and anchoring each area,” she adds.

open-plan living space with best recliners
open-plan living space with best recliners

WHEN INTERIOR DESIGNER and Channel Nine homeMADE contestant Stacey Kouros (pictured left) was commissioned by Alison and Roger Feletto to transform their newly renovated four-bedroom home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, she had plenty of reasons to be excited. Not only was this Stacey’s first solo project as Stacey Kouros Design (Staceykourosdesign.com), but she had a completely blank canvas in which to make her mark – every designer’s dream.

“I inherited great bones to work with thanks to the architect, Andrew Tzannes of Smith & Tzannes,” Stacey says. “The mid to rear sections of the Federation-style house had been completely stripped and rebuilt in a modern, minimalistic style. The architecture was outstanding.

Natural design for the most comfortable living space

However, the spaces were very sparse and needed colour, life and texture.”

The brief from the homeowners was to create a beautiful and comfortable family home, incorporating an Asian style that didn’t compete with the clean lines of the house. “They also wanted to add a fresh, vibrant and quirky aspect in each room,” Stacey says. This enabled Stacey to bring in her own particular style, which she describes as eclectic and quirky. “Although I always try to keep each space sophisticated and timeless, I feel that it’s really important to inject personality and individuality to every interior,” she adds.

Stacey says the Felettos were the perfect clients as they were open to new ideas and trusted her choices. “I created a scheme they could not imagine themselves but totally loved,” she says.

Read on to find out exactly what Stacey did to create a unique and stunning home.

2. Elegant Eastern influence

“The owners like traditional Asian elements in interiors, but this would have been too far removed from the architectural style of the house so we settled on a mod-Chinoiserie theme,” Stacey says. Once this look was decided upon, the choice of furniture soon fell into place. The black coffee table from Orient House marries with the black dining setting and contemporary dark sofa from Jardan. “The sofa is the key modern piece in the room,” Stacey says. “With its generous proportions and clean lines, it adds sleekness and quietness to the more flamboyant pieces.” Stacey then added a few bright accessories to give the space an explosion of colour and an element of fun that suits the young family.

Elegant Eastern Style Interior for the house
Elegant Eastern Style Interior for the house

3. Exotic entertaining

The Oriental theme clearly shows through in the dining chairs – Casa Mia Chippendale chairs from Garner Agencies. “They became a key feature in layering the space,” Stacey says. “The lines of the sleek modern dining table, from Zuster, set against the traditional bamboo back of the chairs, fitted the mod-Chinoiserie look perfectly.” The chair seats were covered in a rich and luxurious green velvet fabric (also used for the cushion covers, see right), chosen to contrast with the black chair frames and also to tie in with the colour palette of the rugs. “By customising a few key pieces, the space was transformed into a completely individual and unique interior,” Stacey says.

Modern dining table with traditional bambo chairs
Modern dining table with traditional bambo chairs

4. Stylish simplicity

Clean white walls provided the perfect uninterrupted backdrop for well-chosen art. “I didn’t want to clutter the wall just for the sake of filling,” Stacey says. After much searching she found a striking Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe silkscreen print from the Conny Dietzschold Gallery in Sydney’s Waterloo that fitted the bill perfectly. “Strong yet crisp, this classic image adds a quirky element of to the space and creates the wow factor with its timelessness, while the black, charcoal and white colourway complements the room,” Stacey says. The C.Jere Urchin sculpture from Jonathan Adler (just seen, at right) was positioned next to the wallmounted TV to enhance the quirkiness and fun factor

5. Girly & glamorous ABOVE & RIGHT

Cheery yellow walls – Dulux “Softsun” – contrast with a bold green rug and vibrant red Arana chair by Jardan to create a bright and fun playroom for 3-year-old Sophia. “These strong hits of colour are further highlighted by the use of white in the bookshelf and decorative items,” Stacey explains. A repeated stencil design – Diamond Trellis from Stencil Gallery – was painted onto two walls (see right) to add an understated Oriental vibe to the space. “We stopped the stencil short of the ceiling and edges so it looks less structured and symmetrical,” Stacey adds. The finishing touch is a trailing devil’s ivy resting on an elegant plinth.

6. Gorgeous in green ABOVE & RIGHT

The mod-Chinoiserie theme is most evident in Sophia’s bedroom. “Several elements give this room a real wow factor and make it a fun space,” Stacey says. For example, the fabulous toile wallpaper – Rococo by Lorca, from Seneca – the bold green bedhead, the bamboo side table, painted white to complement the Asianstyle chair in the corner, a customised rug by Designer Rugs and, of course, the beautiful bone china angel wing lamps from Have You Met Miss Jones. “The colour palette borrows from other areas in the house,” Stacey adds.

7. Dream scene

“Alison and Roger wanted to create an intimate retreat for their master bedroom while keeping it bright and light,” Stacey says. The grasscloth wallpaper – Pacific Breeze, from Baresque – was chosen to add texture, warmth and intimacy, while the Chiang Mai Dragon fabric, used to make the bed throw, and the luxurious velvet of the cushions, both by Schumacher Fabrics from Orient House, tie in with the clients’ brief and also add depth, richness and interest to the space, Stacey explains. The hit of bold green was also chosen to follow through with the couple’s own large abstract artwork hanging in the study (see right), which leads directly from the bedroom. “It’s important to connect each space in the house, with either colour or theme,” Stacey adds. “There’s nothing worse than walking through a home where each space is completely disjointed, it needs to tell an entire story.”

8. Outdoor connection

“The backyard was such an important space to connect to the rest of the house because it fl ows directly through from the living areas,” Stacey says. The ceramic hexagonal green drum stool, from Orient House, was a simple way to continue the Asian theme while adding colour and richness to the space. “It was also a nice way of providing casual seating for guests when entertaining on a summer’s day,” Stacey adds. However, the standout furniture items in the courtyard are the two white metal Emu “Re-Trouve” chairs and side table from Ke-Zu. “The lattice-wire backs are a play on the bamboo-back chairs in the dining area, and create a light and playful setting for outdoor lounging,” Stacey explains. To add vibrant colour and extra comfort to the long stone bench, scatter cushions were covered in a dramatic yellow and grey ikat-style outdoor fabric – Schumacher Fabrics “Peacock” by Trina Turk. “The cushions were overscaled for added impact and to be proportional with the yard,” Stacey says. The sleek and contemporary barbecue bench was custom built to suit the space, which Stacey emphasises is an important aspect to consider. “Customising spaces/furnishings/ furniture to suit your home adds a personal touch and it also means it’s tailored for your house and your family, which ultimately adds that wow factor.” And Stacey stands true to her words as she has certainly achieved the “wow factor” in the Felettos’ home.

connect to the rest of the house with backyard
connect to the rest of the house with backyard

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