Home Life Series

The unconventional, unexpected and kooky mid-century inspired family home of Fibonacci founder, Michael Karakolis

This week on the Home Life Series, we journey through a technicolour wonderland guaranteed to give you some serious house envy, as we explore the unconventional, unexpected and kooky family home of Fibonacci founder, Michael Karakolis. 

Inspired by the mid-century modernist charm of Palm Springs, Michael enlisted the help of powerhouses Studio Doherty and Enth Degree Architects to create a highly personalised home with design details and materials selected to evoke personal feelings and emotions.

Adding deliberately bold but carefully infused colour and layering unconventional materials and finishes has resulted in every space throughout the home brimming with a unique (and playful) personality. 

So keep reading to learn about the inspiration behind THAT green bathroom and how this epic design brief came about! 

Hi Michael, thank you so much for letting us into your AMAZING Doncaster home. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, what you do, and who inhabits this space?

My wife Lidija and I inhabit the house and our Daughter Jessie, Son-In-Law Michael and Granddaughter Evie often stay in Jessie’s room which we sometimes call a guest room. 

I’m a husband, dad, granddad and founder of the terrazzo company Fibonacci. These three things have been the foundation and the inspiration for my life for a long while now. Finding a purpose in everything I do to serve my family and our livelihood takes up most of my waking moments and when I’m not doing this I’m doing my best to enjoy the various things life has to offer. 

I take pleasure in anything that has taken time to create or perfect (if there is such a thing) such as whiskey and cigars and I have a deeply personal connection with design materials and clothing. 

Aside from this, I’m a deep thinker (overthinker) and am always searching for new possibilities. Possibilities are endless and always exciting.

You enlisted powerhouse interior designers Studio Doherty to take on the project. There are unconventional details in every corner! Can you talk us through the colourful and kooky design brief?

We had Enth Degree Architects who designed the house and Doherty who did the interiors. Here’s why. 

Enth Degree Architects, Kon, also my brother, we worked together for many years when I was a draftsperson. His talent is floor plans, and modest detailing and is very client and practicality orientated. He doesn’t have a ‘Design By Kon’ ethos which was very important to the collaborative spirit of the project. Doherty, because I’ve always admired her work, and ability to collaborate with Architects. She too is not ‘precious’ and has a practical aspect to her designs. But overarching, I feel her forte is Kook, Colour with an Australian lifestyle vibe. You know, then ‘she’ll be right’ that gives the house warmth. I mean, you want to use the house without you or your guests feeling self-conscious, like you may do something wrong, there’s no joy in that.

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Our newest collection, Toasty, is inspired by the colours, comfort, and nostalgia of mid-century modern spaces, which we can clearly see has been a big influence in your home. How have you incorporated elements of the mid-century era into your space, and what do you love about it?

Inspired by Palm Springs Mid-Century Modernist design and lifestyle the design evolved beyond this as we went back and forth with the Architects and Interior Designers becoming a very personalised home with design details and materials selected to evoke personal feelings and emotions. We wanted a home for our lifestyle, entertainment and a place that you could lose yourself in when the day was done. This needed incorporating a high level of customising and details that would continue to delight long after the initial ‘wowness’ surpassed. 

We wanted a place you wouldn’t need a holiday from and at times would not know where you are or feel like you are staying in a boutique hotel.

Materiality seems to be a key element to the space – various tile and terrazzo floors, steel staircase, timber clad ceiling. How did your  business, Fibonacci, inspire some of the elements within the home?

I designed two terrazzo colours for this project. The aim was to have a material that broadened the scope for the interiors to have a bit more kook but also tie into the modest simple form of the external architecture. Tying the interior with the exterior was important for the flow, but also a challenge because we wanted the internals to capture the energy of our family. The two terrazzo’s are very much a north star in the design. 

We wanted to keep the terrazzo elements in the design modest and considered and the brief was to not make the house a shrine to our company. It was important to open the brief and was the perfect opportunity to explore other materials, especially those which I have loved for a long time.

We must know how that iconic green bathroom came about! Was it something you had always wanted, or was it the perfect surprise dreamed up by Studio Doherty?

To say that it was the perfect surprise is an understatement. The main bathroom concept design was presented early by Doherty and absolutely nailed it. 

I can’t recall exactly but I’m not quite sure if the green INAX mosaics were there from the beginning but the round window definitely was. Refinements like custom screens and towel detailing were added as the design was refined but the bathroom was pretty much unchanged. For anyone trying to understand the design process, this sums it up, sometimes it happens instantly and other times it needs to percolate to get the result. Either way, it’s a result of passion and sometimes obsession that get you over the line in the end. The main bathroom is a joy to enter every morning, it’s so invigorating and still gives me resort vibes every time.

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We're sure each room in your home has it's own way of bringing you joy on a daily basis! But if you had to pick a favourite space, where would it be and why?

We spent so much time and effort trying to create moments throughout the house that it's hard to say. 

For the feeling - Lower Outside patio.

Sitting here and looking into the lush garden that was inspired by Singapore’s modernist landscape architecture. For me this reminds me of my early days travelling through Singapore’s Changi airport and taking a cigarette (I was a smoker then) in the early years of Fibonacci. They were tough times and this garden reminds me of the journey and the reward for persistence.