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A Slice Of Paris In South Yarra

Interiors

Charis James knows potential when she sees it, having designed seven personal home renovations, in addition to her work as the founder of AKI Design Studio.

When the interior designer purchased this Victorian home in South Yarra, the property was in near original condition and in serious need of love. Looking to Parisian apartments for inspiration, the house has been returned to its original grandeur, with textured, luxurious finishes.

6th October, 2021

Fawkner House is the personal home of AKI Design Studio founder, Charis James. Artwork by Ashleigh Holmes. Dulux Natural White paint. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

Previously neglected, the home’s high ceilings, arched hallway and elaborate cornices held potential for a grand renovation. Photos – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

Charis envisioned a luxury Parisian aesthetic for the interiors. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

The refined work of French architect Joseph Dirand in particular was a key influence on the project. Photos – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

A small extension was added to the rear to facilitate a larger, more open living space connected to a courtyard. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

Colours and materials were chosen for their equally rich and calming qualities. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

Concrete render features on the bathroom wall. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

Extensive works were undertaken to reconfigure the existing floor plan. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

Arches continue throughout the interiors. Dulux Natural White paint. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

The addition of limestone paint in the bedrooms provides a refreshing point of difference. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

The finished property provides a restful ambience and generous proportions for overall liveable luxury. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Candyce James

Amelia Barnes
Wednesday 6th October 2021

‘I prefer designing and creating my own home as you live and breathe it.’ – Charis James

Founder of AKI Design Studio Charis James says this Victorian home was previously ‘neglected’, but its high ceilings, arched hallway and elaborate cornices held potential for a grand renovation.

Extensive works were undertaken to reconfigure the South Yarra house, allowing for a third bedroom and glamorous en suite. A small extension was also added to the rear to facilitate a larger, more open living space. 

Tapping into her heritage and the home’s European architecture, Charis envisioned a luxury Parisian aesthetic for the interiors. The refined work of French architect Joseph Dirand in particular was a key influence.

‘The features of the property I wanted to include were bespoke jewellery-like lighting and bronzed tapware, and also patina wall finishes,’ Charis says. 

Colours and materials were chosen for their equally rich and calming qualities, including marble, terrazzo, concrete render in the bathrooms. It’s still very much a period home, but the addition of limestone paint in the bedrooms provides a refreshing point of difference. 

While Charis thoroughly enjoys designing for clients, personal projects such as these are when she truly spreads her wings. Several elements of this home have been custom designed specifically for her style and the space, such as the cabinetry and lighting in the kitchen and bathrooms.    

‘I prefer designing and creating my own home as you live and breathe it and get to fulfil your own vision for the property,’ Charis says. ‘I love designing for clients, however, you are designing their vision, and those final decisions are taken out of your own hands.’

The finished home provides a restful, calming ambience, where understated luxury meets modern liveability. 

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