Whereas other interior designers and architects are known for and characterised by a specific style – minimalistic, eclectic, rural – this is not entirely the case for Decus Interiors. The Australian agency would much rather present itself on the basis of its specific approach and way of working, which time and time again results in something unique and preferably also somewhat unexpected.
Ten years ago, after a short detour and first gaining experience with other designers and architects, Alexandra Donohoe Church started her own design office in Sydney, Australia. What started out as a one-woman business and discovery trip from behind her kitchen table is now a successful enterprise with ten employees. And Decus Interiors doesn’t have to get any bigger for Alexandra, whose company philosophy is ‘low volume, high quality’.
A sophisticated and unconventional beach house
Authentic materials, details-oriented, great involvement and a certain tension and balance between exquisite and provocative, whimsical and classic and austere and colourful. With this combination, Alexandra Donohoe Church creates original interiors that – in her own words – “significantly and positively impact our everyday lives.”
The design philosophy of Decus Interiors is founded on creating a certain ‘creative ten- sion’ in the spaces. These should not be too matchy-matchy with a strictly coordinat- ed – or rather: forced – colour palette. Not everything has to be on-trend and fit together like pieces of a puzzle, because then there is a good chance that you will repeat yourself. “We wholeheartedly love original design – we didn’t go into this business to copy and paste,” Alexandra explains. Killcare House
Killcare House is a project that sums up all these elements wonderfully well. This residence for a retired couple from Sydney is located in the beautiful Bouddi National Park and has a phenomenal view of both the beach and the park. Alexandra Donohoe Church says the following about the client’s requirements: “They wanted to create a sophisticated and unconventional beach house, whilst giving it a relaxed barefoot elegance.” The construction of the house had already started when Alexandra and her team were contacted for decoration advice. They therefore had to take into account the vision of the architect Dan Cliff of Square Design, who meticulously worked out the volumes of the rooms and made sure plenty of light could enter the house thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows and open spaces. In the course of the project, Decus Interiors was given more and more assignments and the team was ultimately also responsible for or involved in the kitchen design, all the joinery, the finishing of the bathrooms and even the speakeasy wine cellar.
Interiors with a positive impact on our everyday lives
Just like Alexandra, the couple enjoyed being inspired by their travels abroad and the farm houses and chateaus they had discovered in Europe. The Decus Interiors team thus contrasted the large, open spaces with a rich palette of colours and interesting textures and by decorating some cosy corners which were to become the hidden gems in the house. The vintage pieces of furniture that the owners have collected over the years also give the whole an extra layer of personality. For the colours, Alexandra was inspired by the Killcare House environment: white, blue, beige, brown, grey and green accents refer to nature, the trees, the beach... The choice of materials is also very varied with wood, black steel, leather, marble and even visible concrete and stone walls. It is certainly unconventional and yet the residents can absolutely unwind here on a location only one and a half hours driving from vibrant Sydney. The result is completely balanced-out and radiates an easy-going luxury that certainly has us charmed.
Killcare House inspires and challenges us. This is the kind of beach house we would love to see more often!
You can read the full article about Decus Interiors in Imagicasa Summer 2019. You can still order this issue via our webshop. And at the moment you even get it for free with the purchase of our most recent edition, Imagicasa Summer 2020. Architect & Builder: Square Design
Stylist: Alexandra Gordon
Photography: Anson Smart