Rapidly building an enviable reputation for her coveted designs, we sat down with The Stella Collective’s founder, Hana Hakim, to have a chat about her inspiration behind
Pine Ave’s inimitable interiors.
Tell us a little about The Stella Collective.
We are simply trying to do incredible work. Our formula is “if it feels good then we have to do it”. All of our spaces are created with genuine care and love for good living. We ask “will it make our client, guest, customer, feel amazing?” Because for us that’s what design is all about.
Pine Ave’s location has a remarkable duality where at one end of the street is this incredible cultural hub and at the other the beautiful beach, which really gives the community a distinct feel. Did this influence your musings at all?
Living in Elwood, you get everything you could want. It’s almost like living in Santa Monica; like having the most amazing city in the world and then the beach at your doorstep. It really embraces that soulful kind of living.
How is this sense of “soulful living” reiterated in Pine Ave?
The key theme for these homes has been about embracing the light and letting the Elwood sun in. All of the finishes have a little bit of reflectivity to ensure that the homes have a sunny feel to them. The inspiration that we really took from the site was a villa that you might find in Ibiza – a space that’s quite Mediterranean in style, showered with golden sun, and encourages blissful living.
It’s interesting to hear you talk about the tension between glamour and authenticity. How does this play out in more practice places in the home?
Well, we’ve been really functional with the kitchen space. Everything has a place, which we think is extremely important. We want homeowners to feel they are so well thought of, that when they’re in their homes they have these moments of, “ah, great, they’ve thought of where I can put my broom or my juicer”.
Can you give us some examples of this?
We have this beautiful feature where, fixed between the tap and the splashback, there is a little reveal behind, where you can put your Aēsop hand soap, lovely organic dishwashing liquid and so on. We have also included really roomy drawers, because drawers are just so much better than cupboards. You can see everything when you pull them out. You don’t end up with tins hidden at the back – everything is easily accessible.
We also designed this planter-come-cookbook display, I call it a “chef’s caddy”. Personally, I am an avid cookbook lover. I would love to have my favourite books on show in the kitchen, but I don’t have anywhere to put them. They just get dirty while I’m cooking. So we thought, “how good would it be to have a plant – like fresh mint or something – and your favourite cookbooks right there?” But of course you could do anything with this display, like place some beautiful crockery. These features really are so flexible, the occupant can do whatever they wish with them.
We see both the kitchen and the bathroom as spaces to unwind, so we don’t want to create cramped spaces where you just want to get in and get out. We want them to feel big, spacious and luxurious.