Decus Interiors House On The Bay Margaret River Multigenerational Home Photo Dave Wheeler Yellowtrace 01

“My favourite thing about this project is the seamless indoor-outdoor connection. Margaret River has such a varied landscape, and this property straddles the vast bushland and coastline. The sky has this crystal blue magical quality. I swear it’s totally different in the West! Sunsets are dreamlike and sunrises are even better.” — Alexandra Donohoe Church

 

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“When you are given the opportunity to design the interiors of a home in such a magical part of the world, it’s important that the home and its context sit harmoniously together, whilst singing separately too. In many areas of the home the landscape becomes an extension of the built environment to really embrace an indoor/outdoor lifestyle.” — Alexandra Donohoe Church

 

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The hardy bushland and coastline inspired Decus’ eclectic and textural approach to materials, paired with their client’s enthusiasm for colour. “We worked with multiple varieties of natural stone, local timber, and hand-glazed tiles in eucalypt and clay tones, each a nod to the landscape with informality and ease,” says Aledandra.

 

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“The master ensuite pendant—Sempre Mia by Mario Nanni for Viabizzuno—is a personal favourite.” — Alexandra Donohoe Church

 

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When Alexandra Donohoe Church, Founder & Managing Director of Decus Interiors, first set foot on the site that gave rise to this mighty residence in Margaret River, there was nothing but a vacant block of bush and sand to be seen. Aside from the spectacular natural setting, what sealed the deal was the fundamentally aligned values shared by the Sydney-based designer and her client.

“Once we began getting to know one another, we discovered [they] were as family-focused as are we—my son was only ten months old when he accompanied us on our first site visit,” explains Alexandra. “They fell in love with our approach, which they said gave them confidence the outcome would be uniquely ‘them’.”

The brief called for a home that could accommodate three generations of family without feeling crowded. A house that could expand and retract to suit its occupancy, while allowing independence and autonomy for all. Any typical references of ‘coastal living’ were to be avoided — “no whitewash, salvaged coral or sailboat motifs in sight”, says Alexandra. “The clients loved how we worked with the richness of colour and texture, allowing us to inject a little fun.”

 

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“I’m extremely proud of the outcome and how my team, our clients and our collaborators managed the COVID-related travel restrictions and Western Australia’s lengthy border closure. From a design perspective, I’m most proud of my team’s ability to seamlessly design what is essentially three separate homes for three generations under one roof. Each ‘zone’ was reflective of its primary user: the mature couple, the young family, and the young professional couple.” — Alexandra Donohoe Church

 

Aside from their client’s enthusiasm for colour, robust bushland and coastline setting were the key drivers for Decus’ textural approach to the interiors. Divided into distinct zones—essentially three separate homes under one roof—materials and finishes vary from one space to another.

“Each ‘zone’ was reflective of its primary user: the mature couple, the young family, and the young professional couple,” elaborates Alexandra. “For example, we opted for more robust and playful materials in the spaces occupied by children, and a more sophisticated palette for the adult spaces—differing ideas and personalities dovetailing to achieve the end result.”

The main house addresses the needs of the permanent residents, with centralised communal spaces for everyone to come together, with a quiet master retreat located on the upper level. Along the western edge is a private wing with a comfortable apartment-like space for one of the clients’ adult children. A compact secondary home sits to the east—a playful and family-friendly dwelling for a young family of five.

 

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The house is divided into three internal zones to afford privacy between multiple generations. This private wing is located along the western edge of the main residence, providing a comfortable apartment-like space for one of the clients’ adult children.

 

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Sourcing furniture and lighting from local suppliers and artisans was another priority of the project. Key pieces include the solid bronze front door handle by Melbourne maker Christopher Boots, whose striking Abacus pendant also floats above the dining area. Numerous Australian made furniture pieces by Nau, Adam Goodrum, Nathan Day, Made by Morgan, Jardan, plus several custom rugs by Whitecliffe and Spence & Lyda bring warmth and authenticity.

Alexandra further elaborates: “The master ensuite pendant—Sempre Mia by Mario Nanni for Viabizzuno—is a personal favourite, as is the ‘ASMR’ textural wallpaper by Bien Fait in the kids’ room – that’s Automatic Sensory Meridian Response for the uninitiated. And let’s not forget the stunning vinyl wallpaper by Elitis Taroko in the rumpus. Artwork ‘Fleeting 2021’ by Tamara Dean in the cinema room is another highlight.”

 

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A compact secondary home sits to the east of the main house. This playful, family-friendly dwelling is designed to accommodate a young family of five, with individual bedrooms and an uplifting play space for the grandchildren.

 

Decus Interiors House On The Bay Margaret River Multigenerational Home Photo Dave Wheeler Yellowtrace 55The vinyl wallpaper by Elitis Taroko in the rumpus room is one of Alexandra’s personal favourites.

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More robust and playful materials can be seen in the spaces occupied by children. Alexandra lists ‘ASMR’ textural wallpaper by Bien Fait in the kid’s bedroom as another one of her favourites.

 

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Decus Interiors House On The Bay Margaret River Multigenerational Home Photo Dave Wheeler Yellowtrace 65When asked if she would’ve done anything differently on this project, the answer from Alexandra is a resounding no. Except, she adds—“Perhaps next time we could just avoid doing it in the middle of a global pandemic?” Yep, that sounds like a top plan.

 

The list of custom pieces is significant in this project too. Alongside their upholsterer, Decus produced a ‘snake-like’ lounge in the cinema room that took a fair bit of testing in Sydney before perfecting the outcome. Jonathan West, who Alexandra describes as a “true hero”, custom made over fifteen pieces found throughout the home.

From grandparents to grandchildren, this home addresses varying aesthetic sensibilities and complex functional needs. Not only delivering democratic access to light, views and landscape, the house allows the family to connect with ease while giving everyone adequate levels of privacy—the gold standard in multigenerational holidaying.

 

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