Asked for advice on how to make the home more bearable during the stifling summer months, and Stephanie Stamatis issues an aptly succinct decree.
“Declutter. Declutter. Declutter.”
Stamatis, the stylist and creative director behind the wildly-popular Stephanie Somebody moniker, has just finished reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and, like droves of loyal Kondo devotees across the globe, the Japanese organising consultant’s guiding principle rings just as true with the props, interior and food stylist, art director and designer from Melbourne.
“It’s about making the decision to surround yourself only with things that bring you joy to help shape your space into something you feel in control of.”
Despite appearances, a sense of that control is then a recurring element in Stamatis’s work and aesthetic, which she is quick to pinpoint as a mix of “classic and contemporary, hopefully walking the line of timelessness” – whether that be in the initial planning stages, when moodboarding is an essential first step (“It really helps when the decision making process starts to make that dreaded turn towards overwhelming”) or in the work of the Japanese ceramicists whose combined works comprises her favourite collection.
“My ceramics collection is very dear to me. There is such a difference in the ceramic work the Japanese create, the craft is refined and sophisticated. Most were found in small ceramic stores in Kyoto and Tokyo and I can remember the conversations I had with each store owner as I purchased them.”
Though the discipline of the practice undoubtedly inspires, it’s evident in her body of work that there’s freedom enough for the unexpected to occur, or as Stamatis puts it, ‘perfect imperfection.’
“I use texture and natural tones to creative visual narratives, sometimes with a little quirk.” It’s that sense of play and idiosyncrasy that she predicts will take root in the coming year, where materials like copper, concrete and marble that have dominated homewares, hardware fittings and hard finishes will give way to “natural hues and deeper tones like forest green, chestnut, mustard and crimson. I think people are embracing this more mature colour palette and its being used [not only] in accessories but also in more bold ways, like kitchen cabinetry.”
And while the turning over of a new year often inspires the desire to overhaul our living spaces, those of us for whom the conditions of a lease are a restriction and not a challenge need not be disheartened at the prospect of an interiors makeover. “The most powerful thing you can do in a rented space is making the decision to love your space,” says Stamatis. “Starting in a mind frame that the space is temporary will only lead you to never fully investing yourself in the space.” Start with asking the landlord if you can paint coloured walls to a clean white, the stylist recommends. A blank canvas not only lends a sense of the contemporary to living spaces, but will freshen the space: “Making the small investment will help create the feeling of being house proud,” she says.
From there, Stamatis recommends starting from the ground up. “Invest in an area defining rug. Rooms feel finished when a rug is down,” she adds, admittedly while conducting her own hunt for the perfect vintage Persian rug and a travertine limestone table. “I also want to paint my floor boards a pale warm grey and hang some perfectly pooling linen curtains… This will also freshen your space, and you can now find linen curtains at reasonable prices.”
However, if minor structural or palette amendments aren’t feasible for your borrowed living space, Stamatis recommends the following items to revamp your rooms for the coming year, one day at a time.
“I am loving are the Joe Sofa from MCM House. It’s the perfect blank canvas piece, but also a strong enough piece to be the hero of the space.”
Sleep in linen
“There is nothing better than sleeping in fresh linen sheets, and they are effortlessly chic. My favourite are from IN BED.”
The devil in the details
“I am all about decorative objet. I love everything Australian ceramic artist Alana Wilson and metal sculpture/jeweller Anna Varendorff. I also have a deep love for anything by Apparatus Studio and Menu.”
Tile and cover image: Instagram