HOME is the latest e-zine from The Dharma Door, created to help you design, style and renovate your space. Featuring equal parts inspiration and practical advice from the experts, it is exclusive to The Dharma Door subscribers as our way of thanks for joining our community. Be sure to take a look!
In the meantime, here’s a quick introduction to the talented boutique accommodation providers, serial renovators and interior designers who feature in the pages.
Learn the story behind the gorgeous retreats that two of them have created - one on the tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula and the other bordering Noosa National Park on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. Glean practical advice from four serial renovators on how to work well with your builder. And read how some of Australia's leading interior designers use baskets for storage and decoration when working with their clients.
Brad Sorensen, Casa Margaux Baja
Perched high on a hilltop, Casa Margaux overlooks one of the popular local surf beaches of San Jose del Cabo, a laid-back Mexican town situated on the tip of the Baja California Peninsula. Surrounded by strong, white concrete walls, the building’s modernist form shrouds four generous bedrooms, spaces for relaxing and a large central courtyard containing a pool the colour of turquoise. Together with open ‘sky showers’ that celebrate the blue beyond, these elements form an Airbnb that is open to guests year-round and the new permanent home of former California native, Brad Sorensen.
Born in Chicago, music has always been his #1 passion. After studying at law school he moved to LA to become a music attorney but never ended up practising. Instead, he became involved with intellectual property in the entertainment industry and developed a passion for renovating and selling properties in up and coming areas during his spare time. He also developed the local passion for surfing, which is how he came to settle on the special property he now calls home.
‘My advice to those who are more patient than I am is to move into a space first and design the interiors as the ideas flow organically from using and living in it.’
Debbie Wong, Noa by the Beach
A relative newcomer to the world of building and renovating, Debbie Wong certainly holds her own. Familiar with the stunning beachside town of Noosa – a jewel in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast – she and her husband Wes purchased a run-down 70s shack with the idea of creating a space that various generations of their family could enjoy together, but also ‘retreat’ as needed.
Because their respective careers in law and finance had led them to Singapore, this project was completed from afar. We talked to Debbie about the tactics she employed to pull off such a feat and how she and team of local creatives created such a stunning place to stay.
'The redesign of the house ensured that our guests would immediately be drawn to the stunning vista of the Noosa National Park from the moment they stepped through the door.'
Shelley Craft, The Block
The bright, effortless smile of Shelley Craft is unmistakable. Australian TV viewers have enjoyed her on our screens for decades now, most recently thanks to long-standing stints on home and decorating shows like Domestic Blitz, The Block, Reno Rumble and Your Domain. In addition to sometimes hectic travel and production schedules, Shelley is a proud renovator herself who has just added the finishing touches to her new family home in Byron Bay.
‘First and foremost interview a few builders. Don’t be afraid to show them your plans and share your ideas. Select the builder that you feel you communicate most easily with.’
Taliah Lowry, Byron Beach Abodes
Taliah Lowry is an exceptional talent who began renovating with her husband Sein in the early nineties. Both familiar with the workings of property thanks to their respective family histories, the couple began with their own home project before segueing into the creation of some of Byron Bay’s most unforgettable accommodation retreats.
‘Be super clear about your vision and expectations from the outset and make sure your builder understands and embraces them as strongly as you do.’
Lauren Charge, Salt at Shoal Bay & Onsite Collective
A graphic designer by trade, Lauren has an enviable ability to determine a winning colour palette, always softened with textural elements and layers of textiles. For her, building is in the blood, as she has successfully worked with her builder brother on all of these projects. The fruits of their labour first came to prominence when she created the luxury holiday retreat, Salt at Shoal Bay. Lauren and her husband Michael recently added the finishing touches to an art deco family home in Newcastle before moving onto a more permanent home for them and their three girls.
‘Encourage everyone to be solution-focussed from the start, but remember to have patience and understanding - we’re all human.’
Simone Mathews, The Pause & Soul Home
Simone Mathews’ name came to prominence when she and her builder husband Ben opened the doors to Soul of Gerringong, an original farmhouse they converted into luxury accommodation situated on the coast two hours drive south of Sydney. Not part of the couple’s original real-estate plan, Simone discovered she had a flair for creating memorable getaways and has since gone on to creating The Pause, another must-stay that has become particularly popular with wedding parties and family groups.
‘The best way for any issues to be resolved is to put your heads together and work out the ideal way forward. Forget the blame game and deal with the issue at hand with some smart thinking and communication.’
Catherine Heraghty, The Stables
As the owner and Creative Director of a boutique interior styling company based in Sydney, Catherine works with individuals and businesses to create simple, timeless and unique design solutions that are both beautiful and functional. With over ten years of experience in property and interior styling, she likes to create spaces that have a sense of light and warmth, placing importance on creating interiors that will last.
‘Small baskets are ideal for use in bathrooms for storage of toiletries, for shoe storage in entryways and mudrooms and to create scale, variation, storage and texture for styling open shelving.’
Kara Demmrich and her husband Kyal began their first renovation while Kara was studying and Kyal completed a building apprenticeship. By the time they competed on The Block, the couple had a few significant projects under their belt and won a significant following from that point on thanks to their can-do approach and ability to keep their cool under pressure. These same qualities have buffered the couple as they continued redeveloping properties on NSW’s central coast.
‘Natural jute baskets provide a warmth and character that only comes from natural fibres and the big bonus is that they’re also functional!’
Georgie Shepherd, Georgie Shepherd Interior Design
Georgie Shepherd is an Adelaide-based interior designer. Straddling both commercial and residential properties, she has an obvious talent for honouring the individuality of each client, all the while pushing their imagination to create unique, nourishing spaces that are both creative and functional. Georgie believes that spaces should reflect their inhabitants and delight their occupants every day.
‘The relaxed, handmade quality of baskets can transform a space from feeling rigid to inviting and comfortable.’
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