By Karine Monié published
Surrounded by lush and mature gardens of indigenous flora, this three-storey modern house located on a picturesque stretch of the Australian coast with far reaching vistas of coastal pines and the ocean beyond had already maximised the breathtaking panoramas.
Even with its exceptional landscape, however, the potential for the interiors is what immediately convinced Alexandra Donohoe Church, founder of Sydney-based studio Decus Interiors, to deliver this atypical beachside home for a couple with five children.
‘Part of the attraction of this project was that it offered a wide variety of design detailing to get our teeth into’, Alexandra says. ‘It had a bit of everything, in that the heritage part of the house required a more traditional approach, whilst the new extension [designed by Tim Wright Architect] necessitated a more contemporary feel.’
As a starting point, the young Australian family shared with Decus Interiors four images to illustrate the kind of aesthetic that appealed to them. From there, the design team had carte blanche.
‘The clients were open to having something of their individual personalities considered in the house, so the rooms are all quite different, each reflecting the different identity of their primary user’, Alexandra says.
A variety of looks were created through colors, textures and materials without losing the cohesive approach...
Outside, the new pool cabana - that supplements the large family’s space for play - swimming pool, terrace and wraparound veranda are an invitation to further enjoy a quintessential lifestyle by the ocean.
‘We subtly took cues from the organic nature of the surroundings and integrated the idea of barefoot luxury throughout the home’, Alexandra says.
Sleek cook space, chill-out zone - this al fresco area has it all.
The décor took its cue from the organic nature of the home's green surroundings.
Present in every room, the impressive collection of Australian art also enriches the design narrative, while the layout and flow had to combine both family living and entertaining for the adults.
‘Our work seeks to constantly balance the exquisite and provocative, whimsical and classic, austere and colorful,’ adds Alexandra.
‘It was intentional to select darker, more dramatic and moody base tones for the living spaces’, Alexandra adds.
Both in bronze, the range hood in the kitchen and the stairwell handrail - wending its way through the heart of the house - bring a lot of character to these areas.
'I love this room for its rich and moody tones, the detailing and the materials,' says Alexandra.
Two glazed walls bring the lush outdoors inside.
'We worked with the bones of the original house by integrating warm, rich and inviting colors here,' says Alexandra.
‘We treated the main suite as a parents’ retreat, with a muted and sophisticated palette, and luxe fabrics and finishes,' says Alexandra.
The detailing of the existing heritage house was a constant source of inspiration and a reference point for Decus Interiors, including the cornices, plasterwork and panelling adorning the main bedroom.
Clever mirrors were made to sit in front of the windows.
‘In the areas to be primarily used by children (like their bedrooms, bathrooms and playroom), we erred toward energetic and optimistic palettes, with clean and unfussy detailing and robust materials’, describes Alexandra.
‘We specifically did not want the house to feel too typically coastal: it was purposeful that the home stands apart from the region’s often ostentatious personality,’ Alexandra explains.
‘This is a house with something for everyone. There are masculine tones, feminine lines, pops of candy greens and blues, with soft and delicate pinks; we got to play dress-up with lots of different dressing up boxes!’
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