One of a Kind: A Q&A with Maree O’Shea

Maree O’Shea is an interior designer who tweaks tradition

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What service does your company provide?

We are a small family building company specifically concentrating on making a difference to people’s lives. Our focus is on improving our communities by designing, building and decorating homes based on purpose and values and engaging contractors and suppliers who share our vision.

How and why did you get into the design/building industry?

Initially my interest in the building industry started long ago when my husband was a mere 19-year-old undertaking a carpentry apprenticeship. I was there helping with the college assignments and advanced studies. Back then women didn’t really pursue a career in the building industry. I had a successful career in government as I advanced from an administration officer right through to executive. Then out of the blue I had an “a-ha moment”. From there I attended retreats, undertook studies, met some incredible individuals and focused on creating a life where I could make a difference.

How does your business work now?

Now my husband and I work mostly for our son Nick. For O’Shea & Sons Builders, the interior design and decorator service is integral to the building process. I share the role with my colleague Ann Gillis, from Ann Gillis Design. Ann takes the lead in our renovations while I’m involved in all the new builds. Collaboration is key. Ann and I bounce ideas off each other, which results in enhanced outcomes for our clients.

What are some of your most popular designs and why?

The Hamptons style is very popular and I can totally relate to why it resonates with people. Interiors and exteriors are extremely elegant and are very close in style to our Queenslander. I personally prefer contemporary/modern design, mostly because it is more aligned to my values. I’m very committed to sustainability and that means making good choices when it comes to products and finishes that are good for the environment, and which make my life trouble free.

What precautions do you take to make your pieces environmentally friendly and sustainable?

We pride ourselves on affordability, sustainability and liveability. These ideas are now so ingrained in our work that I find it hard to think of them separately. When I refer to sustainability, it’s not just the physical aspects of the building but the personal and social ones too. We try to make homes liveable for everyone regardless of age, family needs or changes a person may experience during their lifetime.

What colours, textures and furniture pieces do you love the most?

A theme is a great way to create consistency and flow throughout a home or a room and it can be the difference between balance and chaos. Try to match styles with furniture and decor. The overall theme should reflect your lifestyle, personality and how you want the room to “feel” when people walk in. I try not to stray past about four colours internally and externally. Selecting the right colours brings together a complete look and theme with ease and can be really effective in decorating or restyling the home. I always ask clients what mood and feel they wish to evoke. Bright colours can add energy and fun, darker colours can be more sophisticated and trendy, and neutral colours can be homely and soft.

What are your design dreams and goals?

I’m proud to be able to stand here today and say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and that’s due to doing the work I love. I am living my calling.