When a model and a fashion photographer move in together, you’d expect their home to be nothing less than picture-perfect. And in the case of Phoebe Ghorayeb and her husband Georges Antoni, you’d be absolutely spot on. Georges has called this North Bondi apartment home for the past decade, while Phoebe says she “wormed my way in about seven years ago”. Then, eight months ago, baby Valentina came along. “Since having her, she really makes our place feel like home.”
Valentina’s arrival has also necessitated a few more practical changes: a glass-topped coffee table in the living room has been replaced by a plush velvet ottoman, and a seating area in the bedroom has been converted into a baby change table and storage. “Our final big change will be on the balcony. Our outdoor dining table and chairs could potentially double up as a child’s climbing wall so it’s time to get rid of them and leave the space open for Valentina to run around, ride her bike or play a spot of mini golf. Much more appropriate for fearless and inquisitive babies.”
One of the clear advantages of living with a top photographer is having a never-ending supply of art to adorn each wall, and the couple recently updated all the pictures in their living room and hallway. “The photos on our back living room wall are all art or fashion images taken by Georges, and on the opposite wall are photos of our family and friends on our wedding day,” Phoebe explains. “In the hallway we have Georges’ holiday or documentary images on one side, and on the opposite side are three huge 2m-high photos from one of his personal shoots. It’s a real mish-mash but each area of our home evokes a different feeling depending on the photos.”
With the artwork as a focal point, and views from the balcony straight over Bondi beach, the rest of the interior has been kept simple, soft and very chic. Given Phoebe’s love of entertaining (chronicled in her foodie website Model Appetite), it’s the ideal setting to relax with friends.
How would you describe your interiors style?
I’m a bit of a tidy freak. Everything has a place and must remain in said place. I don’t do well with clutter and disorder, unless it’s for artistic purposes. I love minimal amounts of furniture and fuss but I still want the pieces themselves to be bold and striking with a few soft touches.
What is your favourite thing in your home?
I really love our fiddle leaf plant. It’s quite new so still looks fresh and vibrant (long may it last). I think greenery is an important component to making a place feel homely.
What time of day do you most enjoy being there?
Late afternoon. We get really beautiful sunsets over Bondi. The sky lights up pink and orange and we have a great view overlooking both Bondi and the beach. I find it a really peaceful time of day. It’s also when Valentina wakes up from her afternoon nap and if I’ve ticked everything off on my to-do list for the day, I get to spend a couple of hours just being mum. It’s also countdown to Georges being on his way home.
What are some of the most treasured objects in your home?
I can’t say I have many treasured objects in our home. There’s not much that I would miss should I have to let it go. I’m not a very materialistic person, for me it’s more about experiences, time with people I care about and treasured memories. However, the group photo taken on our wedding day has pride of place on our mantelpiece. It’s such a happy photo and really captures the energy and love we were surrounded with on that day.
How do you like to use scent in your home?
I love to light candles when we host dinner parties. I remember my mum always doing it and I thought it was such a grown-up thing to do. It seemed so fancy and elegant and I guess that’s just stayed with me into my adult life. Not only do they smell amazing but they add a touch of glam.
Do you gravitate towards any particular notes or fragrances for the home?
I prefer spicy, woody fragrances for the home. I find florals can be quite overpowering and I prefer the subtlety of more earthy notes.
Your website Model Appetite is devoted to your love of food. What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
I love baking! Although sadly, it’s not much of a regular activity as it usually requires inordinate amounts of sugar, flour and chocolate. All the good stuff! When I’m not knee-deep in dough, I love cooking really simple, flavourful meals. I’m not much of a throw-it-together et voila kind of cook, I much prefer to follow a recipe.
As a model with family on the other side of the world, you’ve travelled a lot. What have been some of your most memorable trips?
Mine and Georges’ babymoon to Sicily. We flew into Palermo, hired a car and spent two and a half weeks road-tripping around the island. It was such a freeing experience, stopping off wherever we fancied, following our noses to some amazing restaurants and soaking up the last holiday for a while as just two. I also can’t forget our wedding. Two weeks in Italy followed by a two-week cruise around the Mediterranean with our family. Cruising is my new favourite way to holiday. Highly recommend it!
Which products from the Lumira range are you most enjoying and why?
I absolutely love the perfume oils. They are the ideal throw-in-your bag product and I travel with them everywhere. At the moment I’m wearing Persian Rose. It’s floral but without being super sweet so it encapsulates both my girly side and my attempt-at-being-cool side. I have one in my handbag at all times (it’s great for covering up last-minute baby vomit mishaps). I also have one in my toiletry bag which is always packed and ready to go for visits to the Gold Coast or our holidays abroad.
Written by Michelle Bateman