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Flex Space: This West Bend Home is a Creative Hub

The home of Gelareh Saadatpajouh takes on multiple roles through dynamic spaces

By Anya Georgijevic
Photography by Arash Moallemi

For the owners of this ever-evolving West Bend residence, the only constant is change. The house is the creative hub for Gelareh Saadatpajouh, the founder of Space Animator interior design practice and the co-founder of DeRAIL Platform for Art + Architecture. The brick-clad, early 1900s house – also home to Saadatpajouh’s husband Farsan Farahani and their nearly three-year-old daughter Io – serves multiple purposes, including studio and gallery space. “I believe home is a journey, and collaboration is key to enrich and nourish it,” says the designer, who recently launched a dawn-to-dawn artist residency where creatives are invited to use the house as an object of inspiration for a single day.

Saadatpajouh replaced and enlarged the windows in the 1900s-era home, enhancing its connection with the outdoors. Installed by Custom Window Designs.

To accommodate its many roles, the home underwent an ambitious renovation, designed by Saadatpajouh herself. Her immediate reaction was to open the house up, replacing its original windows with much larger ones, bringing in the majestic colours of the surrounding trees. “It felt like the heart that wants to be open.” The threshold between the exterior and interior is a critical concern in Saadatpajouh’s practice. This is apparent just inside the front door, where porcelain tiles with a concrete look give way to white oak flooring that flows through the rest of the home.

A light-filled sitting area bridges the gallery space and kitchen. Sofa from Shelter; EQ3 floor lamp, side table and rug; Muuto coffee table from Klaus; custom storage unit by Ryan Wilding and Robin Clarke.

Like the threshold, the main floor plays on the public-versus-private relationship with an open space that is split in two: a constantly changing gallery space or “no space” where the designer plans to exhibit her work and others’, and an intimate, light-filled sitting area. Right behind is a small craft area for Io, a compact powder room, and the kitchen, which is outfitted with unconventional plywood cabinets, crisp white quartz countertops and a long T-shaped white oak table ideal for gatherings. 

If the first storey is imagined as a semi-public space, upstairs is all about privacy, with Saadatpajouh’s light-filled studio, two minimalist bedrooms and a bathroom.

Saadatpajouh’s 23-square-metre studio is flooded with natural light. Her acrylic artwork decorates the main floor gallery. Muuto pendants from Urban Mode; daybed from Mjölk.

Although everything in the house appears to have found its place, things might shift at any time in response to the evolving neighbourhood and ongoing visitations. It’s a “continuous cycle,” says Saadatpajouh. “My role as a designer is to provide a clean slate – a platform, if you will – to guide this inside-out journey of the body and soul.”

Originally published in our Designer of the Year 2019 issue as Flex Space.


Categories: Spaces

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