Your Own Interior Design, No Longer a Fantasy: An Interview with Paula Bowen

I hope consumers feel that the design is useful and calm.  They feel what they’ve chosen for their home allows them to create a backdrop for where they live. Good design should allow for that.

-Paula Bowen

Paula Bowen, CEO of FANTACI’s Official Partner Design Agency, Arkee Creative

The home improvement industry is one that is lagging behind the movement towards services that enable instant gratification, connection and ease: think Smart Technology or “Uberisation”.
Renovation and interior design services remain time-consuming and the extent of the process is often underestimated. Within Australia; many consumers feel it’s a costly service that is out of reach.
Now, a new team of creators have addressed this market gap and are unveiling a new notion, FANTACI – Pre-designed Whole-of-home Interiors.
It is essentially a one-stop-shop containing various interior and furnishing collections ready to implement for your entire home. All of which have been curated by a professional interior design team removing any unaffordable, time consuming or exhausting liaison that can sometimes come with a project.
At the heart of the FANTACI pre-designed spaces, is Australian interior designer and CEO/Founder of design firm Arkee, Paula Bowen.

Bowen’s firm is in its 16th year and has extensive experience providing design solutions for Australia’s residential housing and developer market; offering a multitude of product selections and specifications for clients. Bowen’s portfolio spans nationally and includes working with large industry leaders such as Lendlease and Stockland.
Bowen met FANTACI’s directors and was immediately attracted to the pre-designed model.
As FANTACI’s official partner agency, Bowen and her team sketch concepts informed by the current renovation market, while Joanne directly liaises with manufacturers and suppliers to translate the concept to a pre-designed interior design model.
Bowen and FANTACI are both advocates for fair pricing coupled with quality and will meet a middle market that is not currently being accommodated for in Australia

“I am quite passionate about producing good design at all price points,” Bowen explained. “I don’t believe that just because there is a less expensive apartment in the Western suburbs that the kitchen should be inadequate by being poorly designed or not delivering on function. It’s the ability to get a professionally-designed space with all your inclusions at an off-shelf price.
Bowen says the pre-designed spaces also remove the multitude of decision making and cross-checking of expectations with renovation contractors.
“It’s very hard to visualise what architects or interior designers are going to do for you,” she explains of the general process. “You’ve got to select all your materials and finishes. It can be quite complicated.”
Instead, FANTACI customers are invited to a showroom that will display the exact designs that will be used in their home. This opportunity removes any uncertainty of expectation, ensuring accurate results.

FANTACI and Bowen have begun with three distinct spaces; Contemporary Australian, Scandinavian and Modern Japanese.

fantaci's official partner design agency, arkee creative, home renovations melbourne, materials

fantaci's official partner design agency, arkee creative, home renovations melbourne, materials, plan

Each space is based on design forecasts of the Australian housing market which sees individuals opt for smarter, more functional spaces with a sustainable edge.
The spaces deviate from common cliché designs and rather aim to reflect a lifestyle.

The Japanese space features “natural timbers, slatted feature joinery and an emphasis on concealed storage for smaller spaces with a nod to the Japanese traditions of craftsmanship without being literal,” explained Bowen.
“The European, Scandinavian classic, modern type space is quite pared back and is really suited to apartment development,” she continued. “Here you will find a cool soft palette of materials, warm light natural timbers and clean sight lines.
The final design is entitled Contemporary Australian. “It’s about using natural materials and having a palette that’s a bit more robust and relaxed than the other two styles,” she explained of the modern space. “It’s about the light and scale of it, thicker benchtops and more raw, natural products.”
fantaci's official partner design agency, arkee creative, home renovations melbourne, materials, plan
While each space has an overarching aesthetic, there is flexibility. “It all flows together and by having an overall palette of materials there’s nothing to stop someone applying the palette of materials from one design to the other.”

These spaces are just the beginning. FANTACI and Bowen will continually evolve their ranges and update palettes based on client feedback and trend research. “We are very conscious of it being for the Australian marketplace and even though some of the aesthetic might change in the detail of the joinery, it is designed to have that overarching appropriateness to where we are and the place,” she said.
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Pre-Designed Space: Australian Kitchen