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“At its core, my outlook is nourished by the layers of my culture and travels,” says Yasmine Ghoniem, founder and principal of YSG Studio. Yasmine, who has an Australian mother and an Egyptian father, grew up between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia—with a few years in-between in Australia—and almost a decade in America for postgraduate studies and work. “Like all YSG spaces, everything in my home is interconnected and there is no hierarchy.”
After renting a place in another Sydney suburb for some time, Yasmine and her husband Tom Swanson were ready to take the big leap toward home ownership. “Several months of online searching [brought us to] this golden find,” Yasmine says. Situated on a building’s upper level in the city’s iconic oceanside neighborhood of Bondi, the compact, 592-square-foot apartment immediately seduced Tom—who is “a mad surfer,” according to Yasmine—with its beachside location. It didn’t take much more to convince the interior designer, who loved the sensible layout. “It shares no common walls and has no internal corridor, meaning absolutely no space is wasted,” she says. “Tall ceilings were the added kicker. Original timber-framed windows were also a requirement.”
Before the couple moved in, a six-month renovation involved the installation of new architectural cornices and finishes throughout; the design of new kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom joinery; the construction of an L-shaped, built-in banquette in the living room (a piece that has become the nucleus of the home); and repainting everything, including a tile feature in the kitchen and entrance vestibule, among other projects.
“My home is a retreat where feelings speak far louder than the furnishings,” Yasmine says. “It’s not very beachy—no blonde woods and maritime or navy blues, and certainly no all-white palette. It’s a very plump and tactile space that really does invite you to flop into a state of complete relaxation the moment you swing open the front door.”
The kitchen is the couple’s favorite space, but it was also the most challenging area to reimagine for Yasmine. “It was like trying to stuff an elephant into a matchbox,” she says and then smiles. The Womb chair by Saarinen in the living room—Yasmine’s first-ever big purchase, which she made not long after graduating—the Kulchi bedroom runner that Tom purchased when the couple first met, and the framed scarf by New Zealand artist Kushana Bush are some favorites.
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