The aesthetic in demand

Katerina Kapellaki is taking the world by storm, one room at a time

From Heraklion to Melbourne, and on to Los Angeles, interior designer Katerina Kapellaki is taking her skills to new heights as the face of her own television show Interior Design Decadence with Katerina Kapellaki.

Boasting an impressive CV, the founder of The Property Stylist has made a name for herself as a highly sought-after interior designer around the globe – a calling that was evident to her and her family from very early on.

“I was very creative from quite a young age. I would always design buildings and homes,” Kapellaki tells Neos Kosmos.

It was from the age of about four or five that she remembers designing orphanages, or what she would refer to as ‘happy homes’.

An odd choice of institution for a young child to design, some may think, but for the designer it was all too fitting, with both her parents growing up in orphanages in Crete.

“I would design my own so that other orphans would have better or more functional and spacious rooms, more sunlight, etcetera,” she says.

Those drawings would inspire the designer to pursue what she refers to as her “life’s purpose” in transforming and creating beautiful spaces for people.

Following her studies in architecture at the National Technical University of Athens, she went on to specialise her area of expertise, completing an Advanced Diploma in Interior Design while living in Sydney.

But to have her very own Hollywood-based television show is something the designer never imagined in her wildest dreams.

Filmed in various locations around the world, including Europe and Asia, Kapellaki brings global design to her viewers.

Featuring a number of guest speakers, she demonstrates property makeovers, tips on de-cluttering, and design and colour consultations.

But her success comes with meaningful purpose and inspiration derived from not only her upbringing but “Greek ancient architecture, my architectural roots from the Minoan civilisation (i.e. Knossos), and of course my family – my husband and three sons,” she explains.

The designer describes her aesthetic as “modern contemporary”, although admits that as a global interior designer she is always open to new ideas, which is necessary when working with clients and their wide and varied tastes.

With a wide range of ideas and aesthetics, the 38-year-old has worked on a number of projects, from a basic residential home in China to a five-star hotel in Dubai.

While she has worked on many residential and commercial projects, she holds a special place for flipping homes and styling homes to sell, seeing the value of a property increase significantly thanks to a few personal touches.

“In today’s highly competitive markets, property styling, not simply staging, is required to make your home stand out.

“As little as a decade ago, your realtor told you to go neutral on your decorations to make it more appealing. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Most people lack the vision to decorate their new home in their mind’s eye.

“When you properly ‘style’ a property, you give it life, you give it a personality. People are actually more likely to buy your home after it has been styled by a professional,” Kapellaki explains.

So one can’t help but wonder … where does the style influence stem from for the designer’s own home?

“My home is quite traditional Cretan style. I always take a part of Crete with me wherever I am – it’s my home.”

As the reputation goes for people from the eastern Mediterranean island, Kapellaki is a proud Cretan, never shying away from sharing her heritage – when she attends speaking engagements she admits to wearing her mandili – a traditional crocheted Cretan garment worn around the shoulders.

Although interior design is namely about transforming spaces according to clients’ ideas, needs and budget, for Kapellaki it’s about sharing her passion with others, and also helping those in need.

“My favourite aspect is meeting amazing clients all over the world and also teaching this amazing subject on stage at conferences,” she says.

“We are here to make a difference, that is why social change is moulded into our business model. Each profit experience is tied to a non-profit initiative.”

That’s where the designer’s work goes far beyond the confines of a room, donating generously to orphanages throughout the world in developing countries, including Greece.

Featured in more than 100 media streams globally, Kapellaki has written for a number of renowned publications and spoken on stage about interior design, while also playing an integral role as an esteemed member of the honoured judging panel of the Housing Industry Association of Australia.

Though she has worked on a number of impressive projects, there’s one in Dubai that will always be revered as an experience.

“A project that does stand out was a group of villas in Emirates Hills – it’s like the Beverly Hills of Dubai. Very high budget, so it was much fun,” she says.

Known to always be ahead of the pack when it comes to emerging trends, for anyone looking to build or transform their home Kapellaki’s tips are as follows: “Open plan spaces, more rooms and more colour,” and when it comes to the exterior of your home, with people being quite time-poor, our approach to outdoor settings has changed, “people are reducing the size of their lawn and preferring featured gardens and patios,” she says.

So there you have it, your insider’s scoop.

If interested, you can also listen to Katerina Kapellaki live on Authentic You Radio on Tuesdays 5.00pm PT/8.00pm ET and Wednesdays 10.00 am AEST.