Whether it’s 50 family members for Christmas (yes, 50) or an intimate soirée, the home of interior designer Joumana, her husband Daniel and their three daughters in Sydney’s northern suburbs was built for endless entertaining. “Our home is always open,” says Joumana with a warm smile, proffering a plate piled high with cannoli. “We love having people over.”
Having built the home together as newlyweds, the couple were able to design every centimetre with their future family in mind. “I poured my heart and soul into this home, because I knew we would be living here for a very long time,” says Joumana. “I was on site every day for two years, heavily pregnant by the end. We moved in two weeks before I gave birth to my eldest.”That was Grace, now 14, and now there’s also Olivia, 11, and Charlotte, four.
With a family full of builders – “I was raised on building sites,” says Joumana – the couple were well versed in what it takes to build a new home. Smart details such as soaring 3.2-metre ceilings imbue each room with a sense of grandeur, while wall panelling lends a sense of history that belies the home’s real age.
Joumana slowly amassed her home’s eclectic collection of antique and contemporary pieces, decorating room by room, after they moved into their new-build 15 years ago. “We came into bare bones,” says Joumana. “By the time we finished, we practically had to start all over again!”
“I’ve always loved the juxtaposition between traditional architecture and contemporary fittings,” says Joumana, who was inspired by time-old Parisian apartments. “They have traditional bones that have been there for hundreds of years, but they’re filled with amazing modern furniture.”
“We’ve had some beautiful dinner parties here,” says Joumana. Connected to the kitchen by a servery window, the zone is detached enough to retain its air of formality. “Growing up, my parents had a formal dining room with a gorgeous china cabinet filled with silverware,” recalls Joumana. “So I’ve always liked the idea.”
An air of relaxed luxury pervades each space, with undeniable opulence tempered by calming neutrals and natural materials. The wonderfully warm colour palette flowed naturally from the stunning stone flooring that Joumana fell in love with at first sight.
With a splashback of lustrous Crema Marfil tiles from Stone Design and Liban beige marble benchtops from Gitani Stone, the kitchen matches practicality with panache. “It feels quite luxe, but it’s so functional,” says Joumana. “There’s not a stain on the marble, and I cook maybe four nights a week.” Midweek meals take place at the island, where Boyd Blue ‘Frankie’ bar stools and a ‘Darlana’ linear lantern from Circa Lighting deliver a dramatic dose of contemporary style.
“We pulled all of our paint colours and warm tones from the marble,” she reveals.”This was 15 years ago. I know everyone’s been into cooler tones since then, but now warm tones are coming back! If you keep the bones of your home classic, you can’t go wrong.”
The foundations laid, the home’s interiors have become Joumana’s unfolding project. A recent refresh saw traditional crystal chandeliers replaced with an eclectic array of mid-century modern lighting, along with a fresh coat of paint and standout new items of furniture.
“We kept a few of the more unique and antique pieces, but we also wanted to inject a more modern feel,” explains Joumana. And no doubt, there’s more re-tweaking to come.
Style takes a dramatic turn in the stunning powder room that features a marble-topped vanity and a stunningly circular Arteriors ‘Olympia’ antique brass wire mirror from Boyd Blue.
“My husband says nobody has drilled more holes in the walls than we have, because I’m always moving paintings and mirrors around,” Joumana admits. “But I love it!”
Lucky Grace’s space is sure to be the envy of all her friends – a sophisticated retreat that blends muted pastels with glints of gold. Walls coated in Dulux Beige Mystery and Katkalloo curtains imbue the room with warmth and currently play host to the taupe tones of a Domayne ‘Ravena’ bed, an assortment of West Elm cushions and a dusty pink Adairs throw.
“I really believe that lighting can make or break a space.”~ Joumana
“The two words I always have in mind when decorating are luxurious yet cosy”Joumana Sukari, Sukari Interior Design
Joumana designed her sumptuous bedroom around an extravagant hand-carved bedhead found at Laura Kincade, a store the interior designer regularly returns to for one-of-a-kind finds. “It’s very ornate, but I fell in love with it!” she says. “I knew it would make a massive statement, so I calmed it down with some contemporary finishes.”
“If the bones are classic, you can change your lighting and furniture 15 years on and it will feel contemporary, but still enduring.”Joumana
“We chose French doors rather than bi-folds, to achieve a more timeless look.”Joumana
“I call my decorating style ‘classic contemporary’. I love using timeless materials in a traditional way within the fixtures of a space, and pairing that with more contemporary furnishing and lighting, ” says Joumana. Regency Distribution bedside tables complement the piece without fighting for attention, and are topped with Visual Comfort x Aerin ‘Alabaster’ lamps from Bloomingdales. Curtains by Katkalloo are a romantic touch.
Boasting a cooler colour palette than the rest of the home, Joumana and Daniel’s ensuite is a style-filled sanctuary. “We wanted it to feel fresh and light,” says Joumana. Lashings of Calacatta Oro marble from Gitani Stone line the floor, bath and custom vanity, which Joumana recently topped with custom mirrors to echo the dimensions of the adjacent wall panelling.
The swirls of creams and caramels from Liban marble flooring (from Gitani Stone) add all the beauty of an artwork. “It’s a beautiful stone but it’s quite busy, so we were conscious of using it sparingly,” says Joumana. Rather than continue it up the walls, she went with panelling to match the rest of the home. “The panelling is made from polyurethane, so it’s completely waterproof,” she says. Painted in Dulux Whisper White, it provides an elegant backdrop for a statement Kaldewei freestanding bath.
Outdoor entertaining area
The entertaining area was designed to complement the home’s internal living zones. “The splashback is indestructible,” says Joumana. “We also chose it for its beautiful veinery.” The stone harmonises with the tones of the Le Forge outdoor table and Yardware chairs. Joumana installed a bulkhead to conceal “the big, ugly outdoor rangehood” above a BeefEater barbecue, plus overhead heaters for winter gatherings. “We spend time here all year round, but we really live out here in summer,” she says. “We’re very blessed.”
The resplendent swimming pool is the backyard’s pièce de résistance. “We’ve probably had up to 30 people in the pool at once!” says Joumana. Framed by hedging and a French-style Yardware urn, it is every bit as elegant as the rest of the home.