In Conversation With | Interior Designer Sarah Davey

In Conversation With | Interior Designer Sarah Davey


Finding someone who has walked a straight and narrow career path is rare in our modern day. Pivots and detours are common, but seeing an individual leap into a long-held dream is always inspiring. Sarah Davey is a golden example of this. 

When the Burleigh Heads-based interior designer was young, fashion was her creative outlet. “I was into designing and making fashion, but that became a passion for interiors once I moved out of home and into my first rental. I loved to style it with my bits and pieces,” says Sarah, who works alongside her builder husband Jared in their business, Davey Constructions. The couple also runs a bustling household containing their three boys - 11-year-old twins Kade and Harry, and nine-year-old Beau- and a stocky British bulldog named Bruce. 


coastal cottage by Davey Constructions


Interior design remained a hobby for Sarah while she studied teaching at university in the early 2000s. After over a decade working as a primary school teacher, she set her sights on a more creative life and enrolled in a self-paced interior design diploma. The completion of her studies coincided with Jared establishing Davey Constructions, a building company specialising in custom build homes and high-end renovations across the Gold Coast. He asked her to come on board. 

“I said I think we’d end up divorced if I did that right now!” Sarah laughs. “We had three little kids and a new business, and it all sounded too much, but, lo and behold, I did start working on the business part-time.” She taught two days a week while juggling various aspects of the construction business, including developing its in-house interior design services. “My real passion was interior design, so I decided to dive into that world and resign from teaching. I made the jump and haven’t looked back.”  


entryway with woven round wall hangings and bench seat + console with woven baskets


Relishing the creative, hands-on aspect of designing beautiful homes, Sarah has her process down pat. She works closely with each client to devise colour and material palettes, design custom joinery, perfect the floorplans, and bring the vision of a dream home to life. “Some clients come to us with a very organised Pinterest board, but I often find they will have many different ideas from many different design worlds,” she shares. “My job is to pull it together and funnel it into a cohesive design.” 


Navy blue kitchen at coastal cottage with woven baskets & trays designed by Sarah Davey


While she keeps updated on the latest design directions and product releases, Sarah recognises that blindly adopting trends will not result in soulful, comfortable, and enduring spaces. “My design philosophy is to focus on what the client really loves and to draw on those elements to create something truly unique. We can easily get wrapped up in trends, but it’s important to put a twist on it, so it's authentically you and not just what everyone else is doing.” 

Sarah’s home in Burleigh Heads is a circa 1930s worker’s cottage that she and Jared renovated and extended in 2020. “It’s not your typical white beach house. I do love a coastal feel, but this home is coastal with a twist,” says the designer, who was keen to honour the cottage’s heritage in its refurbishment. “Cottages this age are rare diamonds in the area, so I didn’t want to knock it down. A big part of our brief focused on sustainability, working with the existing materials, and maintaining the bones to keep it true to its period.”


living areas featuring brick arch and fireplace, traditional cottage elements and woven baskets


Timber panelling was reused, as were windows, bricks and timber frames. The original brick fireplace and archway have become a focal point in the main living space. They also inspired the pizza oven's exposed brick finish in the all-new alfresco entertaining area that flows off the kitchen. Modern features such as motorised skylights, solar panels, rainwater tanks and eco-friendly appliances add to the home's green appeal. 


modern bathroom with handwoven baskets in home by Davey Constructions


Even with three busy, growing boys at home, the updated cottage evokes a serene feeling, owning to the organic material palette and Sarah’s considered storage solutions. “Beautiful storage is critical- I can’t get enough of it,” she says. The sense of ordered calm begins in the front entryway, where custom joinery corrals school bags, jackets and shoes, and The Dharma Door Large Jute Baskets tuck neatly into the lower pigeon holes.  “I actually designed the space to fit those exact baskets!” Sarah shares. “I am really drawn to the natural fibres used in The Dharma Door products. They complement our home beautifully because we've got that mixture of natural textures and warmth and the relaxed feel of a coastal home.” 


Mudroom with white cabinetry and jute baskets and open shelving with baskets on open shelving


True experts at what they do, the Davey’s executed the considerable revamp of the coastal cottage in a swift, stress-free six months. ”We had everything selected and planned before we started, so it was pretty smooth sailing!” says Sarah. As for her career path, she has no regrets about changing direction all those years ago. “Diving into that world with my husband back then was very new to me, but I’ve learnt so much in the last nine years. Not just about interior design, but also in running a business,” she shares.   


laundry with farmhouse sink, navy blue cabinetry and woven jute baskets

1. Pata Tray - Large  |  2. Puspa Wall Hanging - Small  |  3. Short Square Jute Basket  |  4. Dhali Baskets - Small, Medium & Large  |  5. Puspa Wall Hanging -  Large  |  6. Large Jute Basket - Natural   |  7. Jumbo Hemp String Bag - Natural  |  8. Lahari Jute Runner - Charcoal  |  9. Mira Basket - Large  |  10. Soha Basket - Charcoal  | 11. Jala Basket 


To find out more: and follow @daveyconstructions

Story written by Jessica Bellef
Images by Jessie Prince of The Quarter Acre and Brock Beazley

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