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‘No Sailing Boats Or Nautical Stripes’: A Classy Makeover Of A Classic Beachside Home

By Rachel Wallace

An enviable mix of beachy hues and gorgeous views, Corner House in Sydney’s Tamarama has been reimagined twice by designer Alexandra Donohoe Church.

“My first experience was six years ago with its original owners, and I was excited to reimagine it a second time with Porebski Architects,”  says Donohoe Church,  founder and managing director at Decus Interiors. “It’s fun to have another crack over time. You discover new things that didn’t exist the first time around. It’s like trying on a new outfit.”

With no structural alterations to be made to the multi-level home, she looked for a new story to tell. Despite its stunning coastal vistas, Donohoe Church avoided a beachy aesthetic and allowed the owner’s lifestyle to inform its style.

“There isn’t a sailing boat or nautical stripe in sight!” she laughs. “Designing a home for a retired couple with a large family requires casual and dressed-up spaces that coexist harmoniously. There are spaces just for them and others for grandchildren and big family gatherings.”

With no structural alterations to be made to the multi-level home, the designer looked for a new story to tell. Photo: Anson Smart

White concrete, sandstone and glazing wrap around curved walls on the outside, while soothing white floors and walls make up its internal spaces. The main living areas are housed on the upper floor, with the kitchen at its heart – a melee of finishes from dark-stained timber veneer to New York marble and brushed granite. Luxurious and robust, it accommodates the owner’s love of entertaining and the cooking classes she runs from home.

Christopher Boot’s iconic Phasmida 7 Arm light hovers above an oblong Ondene dining table. The open, airy space shares vast glass doors and windows with the adjoining living area to reveal wide-spanning ocean views.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and is a melee of finishes from dark-stained timber veneer to New York marble and brushed granite. Photo: Anson Smart

Hovering above a sleek black granite fireplace is an artwork by Tim Storrier. Its intricate palette informs the space’s colour scheme, including a sumptuous silk rug in pomegranate that holds a pair of modular sofas and a collection of side tables crafted in copper, marble and navy ceramic. Other furnishings, from scatter cushions and coffee tables to sofas and a floor rug, were specially commissioned for the project by Decus Interiors.

“Art is a wonderful way to inspire spaces,” Donohoe Church says. “We were lucky to be working with the client’s existing collection that includes artists like Ildiko Kovacs. The right piece can add an intriguing extra layer to a space.”

The home’s younger spaces are bright and happy. Photo: Anson Smart

The home’s younger spaces are bright and happy, drawing their joie de vivre from artwork by Matthew Johnson and an image of nearby Tamarama Beach by Aquabumps.

A powder room imagined in New York stone and black mosaics acts like jewellery for the home.

A powder room imagined in New York stone and black mosaics acts like jewellery for the home. Photo: Anson Smart

“It’s a great conversation starter,” Donohoe Church says. “We include a beautiful powder room in almost every project we do. Some people are nervous about doing anything too rock’n’roll, but it’s a small and concealed space and great opportunity to have some fun.”

Bold and soft, strong and delicate, Corner House is a home of contrasts. “You can throw a cocktail party here or pad around comfortably,” she says. “It’s barefoot living at its best, both beautiful and effortless to live in.”

Get the look

Light
Christopher Boot’s iconic Phasmida 7 Arm light hovers above an oblong Ondene dining table. Photo: Anson Smart

Crafted from brass and bronze, the Phasmida 7 light pendant designed by Christopher Boots resembles an elegant insect or branching tree.

Armchair
The cocooning Tosca armchair by Flexform. Photo: Anson Smart

Framed in solid wood and woven rush fibre, the Tosca armchair by Flexform is as cocooning as it is beautiful.

Side table
The perfectly practical Nau Nest table. Photo: Anson Smart

Nau’s Nest Tables can be stacked to create a totemic shape or positioned to cantilever over a sofa.

Source: domain.com.au

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