Inside A Modern Tuscan-style Villa In The Suburbs Of Sydney ⇒ See the new project from interior designer and founder of Infinite Design Studio, Michelle Macarounas, where she merged a European aesthetic with fresh Australian new life into a 1920s eastern suburbs home. The expansive home with a Tuscan villa exterior in a hilly section of Sydney’s suburbs was considered a big challenge to the designer.
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With a career spanning from London, Sydney, Geneva and Paris — where she studied interior architecture at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts — the Australian-born Macarounas completely delivered when a client asked for a unique mix of luxury European aesthetic with casual Australian ease.
Being more like a mansion than a house, the original home was built in the 1920s. There are eight bathrooms, five bedrooms, a large private writing room, a cellar/tasting room, maid’s quarters, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool and a sauna. It’s a really fun property, and she says that it has been an extremely beautiful project to work on — and very dear to her heart.
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The original interior of the house was very dark and heavy. It was old in style, with a cool and shadowy inside, and the outside was very separate, with formal gardens surrounding a tennis court and a swimming pool. It was important to link the grand landscaped areas to the inside entertaining areas of the home.
One of the key kitchen dining spaces was refreshed by adding more windows and re-landscaping the surrounding garden. The result was like adding a whole new section to the house. Updating the more formal areas of the home was a unique experience for Maracounas, as she had never really dealt with that traditional, over-the-top opulence. The first big challenge was to link a beautiful casual lounge and dining area, where the family spent all their time, to these formal areas, where they entertain guests — and still maintain a sense of opulence and luxury but without the heavy aesthetic.
The overall look was softened by adding layers. She took out the heavy velvet curtains and replaced them with linen and silk for a fresher, more contemporary feel. She also worked on tones, since she has a joy for colour, but thinks it’s elegant to work in the same tone — mixing colours in one project can sometimes look too elaborate and messy.
For Maracounas, the standout space is the home’s outdoor area. The pool and the landscaped garden she refreshed makes you feel just like you’re in Italy. The designer believes that the Australian aesthetic is much more relaxed and that it isn’t getting the international attention it deserves.
She says that her approach towards design is changing. She used to be a little masculine in her aesthetic, but she finds herself getting softer. “As you mature, you become more empathetic and accepting; you understand people more and become softer as a person, which is reflected in what you create. It’s a more feminine approach, which you can see in many areas of design right now. Even with the Italian brands in Milan this year, many of the installations were rounded and social, and designed to have people facing each other rather than looking at a wall. I think that’s an evolution for everyone.”, she says.
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