Stephanie Stamatis’ Renovated 60s Apartment in Melbourne

Photography by Phillip Huynh

This week on the IN BED Journal we sit down with one of our favourite creatives whom we’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of times over the years; Stephanie Stamatis. It’s been a busy year for Stephanie who is navigating motherhood for the first time with her beautiful baby Saška and husband Timothy, while also continuing her work as an art director and stylist collaborating with clients both in Australia and overseas. We spoke to Stephanie about some of her most treasured possessions, got a glimpse into her creative process and even picked up a recipe for her signature Pitulici - a delicious Macedonian crepe.

On Stephanie’s kitchen bench top is an IN BED 100% linen Market Bag in Marigold.

“We have been living in our home, a renovated 60s apartment, for nearly 2 years. What I love most is the light and the space. The proportions and windows are generous, in a special way that older apartments can offer. We are on the first floor and on top of a hill so our views are open over the valley so we can watch the weather.”

“Both my husband Tim and I both work from home so we spend most of our time here and it accommodates us well. I don't have a studio at the moment so my living room turns into a shooting space and even though I have a desk I mostly work from the built-in seat in the dining area. It is all connected to the kitchen so I can watch a pot of beans on the stove. I like working on this smaller scale for now.”

Pictured under Stephanie’s colourful collection of plates is an IN BED 100% linen Tea Towel in Pine Gingham

“I often joke that I feel like my home looks like the before shot on a Hoarders episode, there are so many little things around the house that I am attached to. Mostly souvenirs collected from traveling because they are my memories, like silly Italian candies and David souvenirs, a breadstamp from Macedonia, ceramics from Japan, an 80’s Cy Twombly poster from Paris. I especially love my Bode Senior Cord cushion; it's absurd and beautiful with hand drawn smiley faces and nasturtiums. In my dining space there is a handmade arts and crafts style chair with these beautiful faceted legs and one of my newest finds, a French still life painting of peaches in a silver bowl. But if there was a fire I would grab the photos of my grandmother and our parents when they were kids.”

I especially love my Bode Senior Cord cushion; it's absurd and beautiful with hand drawn smiley faces and nasturtiums.

Stephanie’s bed is dressed in an IN BED 100% Heavy Linen Bedcover in White.

“Our bedroom is a cocoon which makes it nice for sleeping when it's raining outside and hanging out in bed with the baby and cat. It's the kind of room that asks for simplicity as a remedy to all of the layering happening in the living areas of the house.”

“What I do is ever evolving and varies all the time. I started my design career colouring within the lines as a primary schooler, as an emo art room kid in highschool and then drawing glitter names on christmas baubles at shopping centers. I studied interior design and then worked in the industry as an FF&E Designer - selecting finishes and furniture for hotels - for years before (very naively) making the jump to freelance work. I was styling houses, doing photo essays for magazines and touring Australia and bizarrely enough internationally giving talks thanks to my strange success on Instagram. Over the course of about 10 years I have been ‘honing my craft’ and have found that my heart is in the intersection of food and still life and all that encompasses. Now I am lucky to work with some gorgeous brands in Australia and overseas as a stylist and art director, curating events and in publishing.”

“This year I have been very fortunate to work closely with Richard Christiansen and Flamingo Estate on two shoots which has been big and challenging in the best way. I have had a few editorials in Kinfolk magazine, a career highlight for me. I am also currently working on Ellie Bouhadana’s debut cookbook which is very special.”

This year I have been very fortunate to work closely with Richard Christiansen and Flamingo Estate on two shoots which has been big and challenging in the best way.

“Before I take on a project I like to spend some time brainstorming to see if it is something I feel I am able to take on in the first place. I have tried to be a little more selective this year with how I spend my work time - being a new mum I actually haven't had a choice.”

“I will first meet with my client via zoom or on the phone and I will get all the key pieces of information from them - what are we shooting, what is our ideal number of shots, budgets, hopes and dreams. This doesn't sound creative at this point but it is the framework I use to build my creative on. I spend a good amount of time digging through refs, often images I've saved on my phone, in books and photos ive taken for a collection of ideas that help me translate my ideas.”

“All of this is then distilled into an art direction document that encompases what they need to get from the shoot and how I envision their product. This is the fun part for me because its like a big puzzle where I make decisions like whether the product needs to be shown in a location or shot in a studio; what will the lighting and mood be like; what are the sets made from and what kind of props will best tell the story. It is the point where all of my references that I've been filing away in my brain come into play and I get to translate that into something relevant and coherent for my client. From there I call the team in and I produce the shoot!”

While Stephanie’s creative work plays an important role in her life, she’s the first to admit that home (and cooking) is where the heart is.

“I am a real homebody and my love language is feeding others, so heaven for me is being at home with Tim and Saška, and maybe some family and friends eating around my dining table.”

A recipe for Pitulici.

Whisk together 5 cups plain flour, 5 cups water and a pinch of salt in a large bowl until smooth and allow to sit for an hour. The batter should be smooth and runny.

In the meantime, finely slice some garlic and use to perfume some neutral oil over a gentle heat. Crumble some Bulgarian fetta into a bowl and set aside.

Cook the crepes in a crepe pan until they start to brown and then layer onto a serving plate brushing each layer with the garlic oil and a sprinkling of fetta cheese.

Cut into generous slices and serve with ajvar (macedonian pepper relish), olives and spring onion.

“I live in a lovely quiet residential area of Brunswick West, but I have access to one of my favorite streets in Melbourne, Sydney Road. For me that means - Turkish coffee and halloumi pies at A1. Cappuccino and a pasta stock up at Mediterranean Wholesalers. Chicken rice and green sauce Good Days. Burgers at Juanita Peaches. Choc mint ice cream sundae at Billy Van Creamy. Fatty tuna sushi and inari at Toshi Deli. A walk around Princes Park with the family. Books and homewares at Mr Kitly. A number 10 and iced latte from Mile End Bagels.”

“At the end of last year I had a baby, so 2022 has been a wobbly lesson on the work/life balance and I already feel the gravitational force of 2023 coming and I’m really excited about my momentum. The thing I am looking forward to most rounding off this year is a celebratory December. Lots of summer dinners and drinks on the balcony, our baby's first birthday party and decking the house out for Christmas and getting all sparkly and cosy for the festive season.”

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