Loud but quiet, hard but soft. There’s a duality to YSG Studio Founder and Principal Yasmine Saleh Ghoniem’s work—perhaps best seen in Soft Serve.
Before it was a family home, Soft Serve was The Balmain Supply Store, a corner shop built into a three-story late 19th century sandstone building full of Victorian Georgian influence. So the foundation of the project became a challenge in preserving the historical essence of the heritage-listed building—such as its original glass storefront—and creating a new space that both honored and elevated the original design.
The result is contemporary interiors that feel like a step back in time. Because the building was initially a closed-off commercial space, Yasmine removed one sandstone wall to create an open dining room, while mullions and timber moldings were reinstated to replicate the building’s original state. Most noticeable is the striking blend of textures and colors, a hallmark of Yasmine’s designs, a combination so electric it’s almost sculptural. “Unconventional color selections and textural pairings, plus a strong focus on natural materials, are my go-tos,” she says. “Soft Serve is quite literally a gentler, more sensual version of my visual identity.”
The natural sandstone walls of the home set the tone for the project, leaving a feeling that the home is carved into a light-filled cave. “Above all I wanted the home to have a very tactile appeal,” Yasmine says. Myriad fabrics in nubby wool textures and silky finishes seemingly juxtapose yet complement the stone walls throughout.
Then there’s the colors—aquamarine, citrine, and peridot—an “elegantly radical” palette that anchors the original timber framing reminiscent of restrained Japanese interiors. The gem-like tones are sprinkled among the furnishings and fixtures—much of which is intentionally vintage—and are a subtle nod to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Art Nouveau flourishes, driven by the original floral swirls on the steel-framed front door and stained glass windows peppered throughout the home.
It’s a fluid balance, a dance between old and new. “Rooms morph into one another without jarring divisions,” Yasmine says. “The spaces swell and expand through pattern integration in the hard and soft furnishings almost like a fresh breeze flowing throughout,” a metaphor for time maybe, as the winds change and carry the building into a new age.
A version of this article originally appeared in Sixtysix Issue 07 with the headline “YSG, Soft Serve.” Subscribe today.