I have a bit of thing for looking at places on Airbnb. I can’t deny it; I am a house perv. I have no intention of visiting the places I glare at, anytime soon, but I can spend unknown hours drooling over other people’s homes on Airbnb. So, to pay a visit to an actual real-life Airbnb, was like meeting a hero. They say you should never meet your hero, so as not to be disappointed, but you know what, this place lived up to all my expectations. And it came with the lovely Steph, and she made food – a delightful plate of veggie, chili, cheesy bites, dips and a gin and tonic. It was like I was experiencing the sort of scenarios I imagine when I stare into those rooms, from my computer screen. Instagram, I thank you, I thank you for leading me to Steph.
Name: Stephanie Zak.
Born: London – St Thomas' opposite the Houses of parliament.
Job: Photographic shoot producer for a contract publisher's in Shoreditch.
I've recently started renting out my place on air B&B and discovered just how much I love hosting guests from far & wide. I'd love to own and run Brixton-based self-contained holiday apartments, which I could regularly re-decorate and re-style. Currently my little flat gets a lot of interest as it's so central to Brixton and a few minutes away from the academy – but it does mean that I end up having to kip of friend's sofas or go back to my mum's when I'm renting it out which isn't ideal.
How long have you lived here?
Three years – I absolutely love living in Brixton…I love that my flat is so peaceful and quiet and yet just 5 minutes away you're in the thick of the crazy Brixton hustle and bustle!
Who do you live with?
My music producer boyfriend Ben – it's a small flat and a tight squeeze but it works – it's cosy!
What does your bedroom mean to you?
My bedroom is my sanctuary…I'm very good at collecting bits and pieces from charity shops, car boot sales and flea markets when abroad – but most of these items are in the rest of my flat. I try to keep my bedroom a little bit clear of all these knick-knacks so it's really a place to relax, chill out and rest.
Tell me about an object that particularly means something to you?
I adore my Moroccan sequin bed throw. For my 30th birthday I went to Marrakech with 9 friends. On the morning of my birthday Ben and I headed out to the souk together where I found it and fell in love with it. Ben haggled hard and we got it at a really good price…and it's been on my bed ever since.
What inspires your home style?
When I first moved in, my flat was quite a mish mash of all things vintage and retro. Pretty much everything I own was dirt cheap from a car boot sale or charity shop…or even things I've found in the street! (If you keep your eyes peeled it's amazing what treasures you can find discarded!) Recently I've became a bit more drawn to a monochrome palette and that clean Scandi style, so I've paired things back a little and painted quite a few things with black board paint which looks really effective.
Where is your favourite place to pick-up interesting things for your home?
Car boot sales (There's a great one in Dalston and another great one in the playground of a school in Battersea) out of town charity shops, and the street! My mum is Swiss and so my grandparents live in Switzerland. Whenever I go to visit them I have a bit of a snoop in their attic and come back with a suitcase full of great trinkets and gems! So I have a few favourite places to pick up my bits and pieces!
What’s your favourite colour?
I'm very keen on grey at the moment, and black and white too.
What keeps you awake at night?
Excitedly coming up with new plans – So at the moment, all I can think of is how I can expand my AirB&B venture!
What’s your favourite word?
Ooh, well I'm very much a glass half full person and a big believer in thoughts becoming reality. If you have a positive outlook I believe only good can come of it. So maybe my favourite word is positivity.
What would your super power be?
To be a wish master and be able to grant wishes for people.
What song do you always find yourself returning to?
Skunk Anansi – hedonism.
What would you save if your bedroom were on fire and why?
Well, Ben if he was in the bedroom, and secondly my Moroccan bedspread.
If you could invite anyone into your bedroom, who would it be and why?
Serges Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin and their bull terrier dog – they were the ultimate cool couple and I'm quite fascinated by the two of them…(and I love their dog!) I'd get them to sing their famous song 'je taime moi non plus'
What makes you happy?
When a plan comes together and French Bull Dog puppies.
What makes you sad?
Being really hungover on a bright sunny day and not being able to leave the house…that's really sad! And, saying goodbye to my grandparents at the end of a trip to Switzerland.
How do you sleep, naked or bedclothes?
A mixture of the two…sometimes naked sometimes clothed…but pretty much always with a hot water bottle whether it's winter or Summer!