One of the most exciting parts of being a specialised architecture and design writer is meeting the amazing minds behind some of our most beloved built environments. One particularly brilliant brain belongs to Alexandra Donohoe Church, the founder and managing director of Decus Interiors in Sydney.
I recently caught up with Alexandra to interview her for a story on Houzz. The piece delves into the journey Decus Interiors took with a fun family of four while designing their beachside home in Tamarama, Sydney.
Completed in 2016, this Tamarama home has wowed the world ever since. It boasts clean yet curvaceous lines and a barefoot, beachy vibe. And most important for its owners, it resists succumbing to that typical coastal pastiche we have grown to expect from seaside properties (you know the ones: sometimes they blend into one another for their lack of character, other times they stand out for all the wrong reasons).
As well as her candid openness, Alexandra’s highly customised approach to creating spaces for her clients cemented this interview as one of my favourites of 2018. Rather than solely crafting homes for people based on their likes, dislikes and needs, Alexandra also tailors Decus Interiors’ designs to her clients’ personalities, and the reason why is illuminating:
“If you look at hospitality, retail and other commercial projects, there are multiple end users and they don’t necessarily have a genuinely personal connection to the space; whereas with our clients they live there 24/7, so it’s important that they love it. And when they wake up or when they come home from work at the end of the day, [it’s important] that they feel it is really ‘them’,” Alexandra explains. “That’s crucial for the happiness of the client.”
But glance at the images of this home and you’ll be struck by its sophisticated, sensuous sweep which combines casual, coastal ambience with sleek city style. It has curves in all the right places, inside and out, from big structural gestures to smaller details like the rounded Gubi ‘Cobra’ sconce lights in the master bedroom and these voluptuous Minotti Capri armchairs, which wait like a pair of outcupped hands.
Since designing this Tamarama home, Decus Interiors has made splash after splash in Australia’s residential interior architecture scene. I first rubbed shoulders with Alexandra when we met in 2003: back then she was an obvious talent to watch, so it’s heartening to see that the rest of the design world has become enamoured with her creations as well. And with spaces like these, it’s no surprise.
For the full scoop and all the breathtakingly beautiful images, click on the link below and head to the story on Houzz.