Summer is here, and so many of my clients are crying out about their skin…
In this edition of Home Stories, Ashley Feraude gets to know Maria Filardo and her loft-style home.
It’s not usual to start a story at the end, but it seems appropriate for this Home Story. On the way back to our cars after visiting Maria Filardo’s place, Cass and I argued about the best bits.
Cass was adamant they were the glass kickbacks on the stairs, the proud hallway shoe rack display, and the espresso coffee.
I was all for the floating kitchen bench and pull-out dining table combo, the dark grey walls and pecan biscuits.
In the end, we couldn’t agree on the particulars, but agreed on the sum of the parts—that Maria’s home was a feast for the eyes and that the woman herself an incredibly interesting and warm person.
It’s fascinating how, during these visits, we go in looking for particulars but come out with an overall impression—which is actually the reverse of the way we usually interpret things and make sense of the word.
Most of us apply a general judgement and then drill into the particulars. But let’s see how that works in reverse.
So, what were the other aspects that caught our attention? The kitchen and living spaces are intimate—made even more so by the dark colour palette of the walls and cabinetry, broken by contrasting white lines on the trimmings.
The kitchen utilises tinted mirrors as a splashback—not so you can check yourself out while cooking something from a Nigella Lawson cookbook—but to balance the sense of closure in the space.
The décor is a vibrant mixture of statement and mostly custom pieces that stand on their own as elements of design, but also unite in a very liveable homely manner.
Everything from the curved sofa to the suspended egg chair and the clever pull-out dining table stand out without crowding the space.
You’ll notice that red and green tones play a major part in integrating everything—the Japanese kimono presented as an art piece on the wall is used as a pattern reference point for items in other rooms, such as the custom rugs.
The upstairs hallway reveals an open shoe display cupboard that made Cass gasp and prompted a whole conversation about the importance of shoes—not only as a form of self-expression through fashion, but also as a celebration of intricate design.
The bedrooms use space only as much as necessary to move without hindrance and, with the help of flowing curtains, dark colours with green highlights (as per the kimono earlier), evoke a very cosy feeling.
I read in a Psychology review once that there is a perfect ratio of space we feel comfortable sleeping in. It’s all based on our evolution and caves—anything too small makes us feel claustrophobic and cramped in, while anything too large makes us feel unprotected and on edge. I’d say Maria’s bedroom got that cave ratio spot-on.
The bathroom clearly celebrates the joys and calming effects of a good bath. Even the lighting has been designed as ambient strips, instead of downlights, to add to the relaxing vibe. It’s evident the bedroom and bathroom act in unison as both a space to reflect and recharge.
So, judging from those particulars, can you sense Maria has an eye for design? Indeed, she is a designer and architect, and not only runs a business delivering build and interior styling projects for residential clients, but also lecturers at CIT.
The home you’re experiencing has been designed by her (in fact the full four townhouse complex in Dreambeyan has) and personalised by her as well.
With a focus on being environmentally sustainable, Maria has ensured the homes take up the smallest footprint without being uncomfortable, uses light and sun to the best potential and removes the necessity of gas in favour of minimal energy use.
Now it makes sense that the spaces have smaller, but exceptionally well-considered, dimensions.
Though I feel there is another dimension here—and that is that Maria is a very expressive designer, though this is a balanced with a private and humble persona.
If you started this article knowing Maria is an architect, you may have judged the home differently. Yet, by looking inside-out, we gain a much better picture of who she is, what she represents and how our homes can reflect our personalities—not just our tastes. So, which particular bit was your favourite?
GET THE LOOK
Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here.
Home Stories is brought to you in partnership with Canberra Outlet Centre.
Photography: Cass Atkinson