On the inside

Interior architect Stacey Kouros talks to Neos Kosmos about how she gets inside her client’s heads in order to design the inside of their homes

Stacey Kouros always loved colours. She was born into an artistic household with her musician father and make-up artist mother – as a child, all her senses were provoked.

But it was as a student trying to find that elusive course that ticked all the boxes… well one in particular, that she found something she would love for the rest of her life. It was while perusing another university guide in the career counsellor’s office that she stumbled across interior architecture. And for more than ten years, Stacey has been designing the insides of houses.

She remembers her first project very well. She worked on the complete demolition and rebuild of a 1950’s styled house in Sydney’s exclusive Vaucluse. The house had full harbour views and Stacey got to work on the project from the initial stages of concept right through to the delivered home. And even today with her own business Stacey Kouros Design, she says that she prefers the personal touch of a residential project over a commercial one. It’s the creating someone’s home that enthuses this designer.

“It’s more personal and the end reward of working so closely with someone is finally handing over the project of the space you have created,” she explains, “and you’ve been part of their life for so long.” She tells Neos Kosmos that a project from concept to completion could take anywhere between three months to over a year and a half.

Part of her job as an interior designer is to really get into her client’s heads to understand the look and feel of how their home should be. She needs to ask the right questions to get the right feel for who they are, their lifestyle and what sort of home would make them happy. In a sense, she becomes them in order to create their dream home.

And it’s not just about what colour they like, it’s about how they want to feel when they walk through their front door, if they prefer the space to be modern and polished or eclectic and casual, relaxed or sleek. As a designer, Kouros is known for infusing complex colour palettes, contemporary and classic forms and unique interior detailing into her distinctive work, which includes a raft of high-end residential, retail, commercial and hospitality clients. But she credits her Greek cultural background as being on of the key influences, and with that, the artistic endeavours of her family.

“I shared my mum’s love of colour, as she was a make-up artist and I remember getting excited by all the beautiful colours when I was young and not the make-up itself,” says Stacey. But an earlier influence was her grandfather’s photography. Back before Surry Hills was filled with bars, vintage and vinyl, it was a prominent Greek suburb and Stacey’s grandfather Yianni Sevastopoulos was the wedding photographer of the time.

She says she gets a love of design and colour from his images back in a time when wedding photos were taken in a studio, just up the street from where Stacey lives now, treading the same design path as her ancestors. “He had such an amazing eye, his photo’s were beautiful,” says Stacey of her grandfather’s images. “He had such a huge influence on me as a child with colour and design as a professional photographer.

“My mum went to college to learn how to colour the photos, so they were all hand coloured in the most beautiful colour palettes. I was always so intrigued by the pictures, they were simply divine.”

And it’s not just that eye for detail, she says she has developed a strong work ethic from her migrant parents who worked hard to provide her with the education and foundations for her future career. “I am doing what I love because of my parents and for that I will always be grateful,” says Stacey. “I was raised to be honest, hard working, put your head down and go for it!” she says, and this is exactly what she has done.

Stacey Kouros Design has been featured in several design publications including Belle, Real Living, and her interiors have been included in House & Garden’s top 50 rooms of 2010, 2011 and 2012 consecutively as well as many others. Her business was recently short listed in House & Garden’s “Top 50 rooms of 2012 awards” for colour in design.

Prior to founding Stacey Kouros Design in February 2009, Stacey appeared on the Channel 9 TV show Home Made, securing her reputation as a formidable Australian design talent on the rise. In July 2012, Stacey became brand ambassador for household brand Carpet Court Australia, launching their new “love the look” national marketing campaign. And to think, this amazing career was founded in a guide book.