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An eye for style

Marc Gracesa


An eye for style

Minyama-based interior designer Mark Gacesa of Ultraspace knows what he is talking about when it comes to styling.

When were you first exposed to interior design?
I grew up in the industry and had a fantastic mentor. My father is a now retired interior designer who was recently inducted into the Design Institute of Australia’s Hall of Fame. So ever since I was little, design and discussions about design have been all around me. I didn’t stand a chance.

When did you decide to open your own business?
In 2004. I was at a point in my career where I had worked for some fantastic designers all over Australia and felt I had enough experience under my belt to give it a go. My first official client was a lovely pharmacist couple and their young family. They had a new house they had just finished building and found that it totally lacked personality. I furnished and styled the entire home from top to bottom, inside and out, including a heap of custom furniture and beautiful wall coverings.

How have styles changed since then?
Since then, we have seen minimalism come – and I think nearly go. And now we are seeing a resurgence of the more organic style of finishes like brass and copper with more layering of finishes, textures and techniques.

 You travel to the USA for work. What are American trends like compared to what we see here?
The difference between styles in Australia is widely varied to LA. The pendulum can swing from Spanish/Spanish modern, Cape Cod to crazy modern.

Have you done any work with celebrities? 
In Australia, I have done work for a number of high profile sporting personalities and a recording artist in Sydney as well, the names of which I need to keep under my hat.

What is the most common problem you are called in to fix? 
On a simple level, people like know-how to make a particular space work better. That usually requires a rethinking of the space planning, maybe some better suited furnishings and lighting. On a more complicated level, kitchens, wardrobes and bathrooms, just to name a few, are frequently being redesigned by us.

You have a swag of awards under your belt. How does it feel to have your work continually recognised?
I have been lucky enough to have collected around 50 or so design awards so far and it is always an honour and very humbling to have my work recognised. Even though the majority of the awards are for design, I could not do what I do without the expertise of my fantastic tradespeople and being confident that they can actually build or make the unique creations that I design.

What is a project that you are most proud of?
Naturally I am proud of all my work, but I would have to say that the Luxe Lodge (pictured) would have to be my flagship project so far in my career. The process took about four years with an amazing collaboration with my tradespeople and manufacturers. The amount of customisation was unsurpassed and the amount of difficulties and problems to be solved and overcome. In the end, the client was over the moon. I am currently designing a new three-level, four-bedroom, four-bathroom family guest house for their weekender. The home has also seen about 30 industry awards to date and been recognised in magazines both here and internationally, as well as featuring on international suppliers’ websites and blogs.

How important do you think styling is when it comes to buyers looking at homes?
Usually, very important. Generally, if a property is empty, people find it quite difficult to imagine a home furnished with either their own existing furniture, or what the possibilities could be with new furnishings. It adds scale and makes the house feel like a home.

Please share your top five tips for maximising appeal for home sellers.
1. Engage a professional to assist.
2. De-clutter. Remove anything unnecessary and make sure that all the furniture is neat and straight with ample spacing between pieces – rooms need to look as large and practical as possible.
3. Freshen any tired wall paint and make sure all art is straight. If you don’t have art, hire some or at least pick up some cheaper pieces that look nice, it helps make a house look like a home.
4. Clean away spiderwebs and remove dust from light bulbs. In fact, make sure everything is sparkling.
5. Make sure the yard/ garden/ landscaping is looking immaculate.


Roxy has been a journalist for more than a decade and joined the MWP team at the end of 2016. She is a chocolate-powered writing machine who loves to engage with the Coast community, uncover untold inspirational stories and share information that can help people.

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