YSG founder and director Yasmine Ghoniem’s former Bondi apartment is an authentic reflection of her creativity, brimming with storied textiles and sentimental mementos.
If there’s one thing we learnt in our interview with Yasmine Ghoniem, it’s how her nomadic childhood has impacted her design today. Growing up between Australia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Yasmine attributes her eclectic and courageous style to an upbringing in the Middle East. In Yasmine’s words, “the desert was an unforgiving landscape and I think it has really shaped my love for anything that is truly opposing to its vastness.”
Her abode, sold earlier this year, couldn’t be a more accurate representation of this ethos, nicknamed ‘Bait’ (Arabic for home). Likening the palette to a spectrum of ‘ground spices’, each space seamlessly unfolds onto the next through a recurring thread of warming olive green, turmeric, nutmeg and mustard tones. Shelves are filled with years of curios and collectibles from Yasmine and her husband Tom’s travels, while patterns are introduced through soft furnishings and rugs.
Abandoning any cues that allude to a home by the sea, Yasmine attests, “there’s no blonde woods or maritime and navy blues, and certainly no all-white palette.” We delve deeper into this unconventional spice-coloured home as Yasmine takes us through her most treasured pieces, her favourite space and how feelings speak far louder than the furniture in her former ‘love nest’.
Yasmine refers to the custom-designed L-shaped banquette as the ‘nucleus of the house’. Other pieces in this space include an antique Moldovian Kilim rug, a custom-designed marble coffee table by YSG and a ceramic wall vase by stylist Felicity NG.
The 55sqm home sits on the top floor of a red brick Art Deco building in Bondi, Sydney. Yasmine says one of the biggest drawcards was the home’s existing timber-framed windows. “I hate how the breeze makes aluminium frames shudder when you’re trying to sleep,” she laughs. An archway opens into the combined living, dining and kitchen from the entry, while a square, terracotta-toned doorway leads you into the primary bedroom. Sydney mural artists Creative Finish Sydney hand-painted salmon-pink ‘tiles’ on the original floorboards in the entrance hall and in the kitchen are an unconventional nod to the building’s Art Deco heritage.
The open-plan living area maximises space with an L-shaped banquette, referred to by Yasmine as the ‘nucleus of the house’. A custom wall-mounted timber shelf – or as Yasmine fondly calls it, the ‘cabinet of curiosities’ – displays an overflow of mugs, glasses and trinkets at home with ‘weird and wonderful’ ceramics and travel souvenirs. “This shelf is our jewel box”, she admits. “There’s no room to rearrange the furniture, so I find myself playing around with the arrangements on this instead. It’s deliberately shallow to avoid encroaching too much into the open space; you can’t put a price tag on memories.”
The home abandons any typical beachside cues, aside from a surfboard leaning against the front door. “My husband, Tom, is a surfer, so a home with close proximity to the waves was crucial,” Yasmine says.
As an avid entertainer, Yasmine’s favourite space in the home is the kitchen. “The palette feels fresh and punchy but neutral enough to not tire of it quickly,” Yasmine explains. “The peach-toned ceiling makes the kitchen soar to infinity; it needed this breathing space being a tight envelope with a lot jammed into it, but somehow it doesn’t feel that way.”
Dark olive below-counter joinery anchors the kitchen and distinguishes the designated corner within the open layout. “When we’re cooking or prepping drinks with guests over, we’re still in earshot of the conversations, which is perfect,” Yasmine adds.
Yasmine specified the Bosch Series, 6 60cm gas cooktop, and 60cm built-in oven in stainless steel. “The zing of the metal surfaces accentuates the mellow hues in the kitchen, like a circuit breaker,” Yasmine explains. “Their shimmer draws the eye towards zones, so you notice intricate surrounding elements like the painted floor,” she says.
Aesthetics aside, the appliances needed to also be hardworking and reliable. The Bosch Series 6 60cm gas cooktop features FlameSelect; nine defined power levels for precise flame adjustment. “Tom and I work long days, so when we get home, we want an oven that heats up quickly and maintains a consistent temperature and a cooktop that provides perfectly even heat distribution for pots and pans.”
The intimate dining setting includes the grazia&co Reeno mini bench upholstered in Pierre Frey kiwi boucle, Sancal Pion dining table and Nemo Lampe de Marseille. Artwork by Nick Santoro, ‘Corey Worthington’.
Yasmine specified the Bosch Series, 6 60cm gas cooktop and 60cm built-in oven in stainless steel for their high-chroma finish. “The zing of the metal surfaces accentuates the mellow hues in the kitchen, kind of like a circuit breaker,” Yasmine explains.
Yasmine’s ‘jewel box’ is the open shelving unit above the built-in sofa, displaying glassware and assorted memorabilia from past trips.
An archway opens into the combined living, dining and kitchen from the entry, while a square, terracotta-toned doorway leads into the primary bedroom.
Yasmine says the antique kilim runner in the primary bedroom is one of her most cherished pieces. “I love that stories were woven into its fibres prior to my husband and I owning it,” Yasmine adds. Also in this space: the Laker A-joint stool, and artwork by James King, ‘Mr Tallmadge’ (left) and Kushana Bush, ‘Framed Scarf’ (right).
The Kartell Componibili table, Vroonland Revised Ovington table lamp, floral bolster from Yasmine’s ‘Take It Outside’ 2018 NGV installation and made by Think Positive. Artwork: vintage tapestry from Rudi Rocket (floor) and Robert Gray, ‘Barrier Highway’ (wall).
Above the bed: a Baz Luhrmann-signed photograph taken by Hugh Stewart on the set of Romeo and Juliet alongside a HAY paper mache mask and an oil still life painting by Mariusz Zdybal (Poland, 1955).
One of Yasmine’s most cherished pieces is the antique kilim runner in the primary bedroom. “It spreads tales of faraway lands and reminds me of all my travels. I love that stories were woven into its fibres prior to my husband and I owning it,” Yasmine reveals. The primary and guest bedroom are deeply-personal, with a colourful curation of artwork and photographs adorning the walls in different sizes. Both beds are dressed with vibrant tapestries and layered with grounding ochre tones in a refreshingly ‘imperfect’ manner.
Yasmin confesses she feels uncomfortable in ‘over stylised’ homes. “To me, your home should be a haven and a place to shut out distractions; one that invites you to melt into a state of complete relaxation the moment you swing open the front door.”