Interior design

Rough and ready— Potanga


At this beach house holiday rental outside Sydney, all the furniture and equipment is for sale at the owners’ interior design company and they haven’t been afraid to leave a few rough edges. It’s a small house and a small business.

Koskela, Russel Koskela, Sasha Titchkosky

“It’s only an hour and a quarter from Sydney, but you feel like you’re a million miles away.” It has the air of a phoney, tourism slogan, but these are the honest words of Sasha Titchkosky, co-founder – along with her husband, Russel Koskela – of interior-design firm Koskela. She’s talking about the 1930s weatherboard cottage in the Central Coast fishing village of Patonga that, five years ago, the two of them turned into the ultimate bolthole beach house.

“We were tired of renting places that had three knives and six cups,” says Titchkosky. “So…

The firm: Koskela

Russel Koskela and Sasha Titchkosky met 10 years ago, and founded Koskela a few months later. Russel is from an interior design background while Sasha worked in law and accounting. Tired of the corporate life, they decided to combine their skills and go it alone. With an “over-arching Scandinavian aesthetic”, the company caters for residential and commercial clients and works with indigenous communities on art projects. Next year the firm will move to a new, larger complex, featuring a retail studio, restaurant and garden.

  • Warm, wooden interiors

    All the timber is recycled and sourced in Australia. The wide floorboards are bleached to get a Scandinavian feel. The bathroom walls are Oregon wood and the floors are yellow cedar.

  • Craft feel

    Koskela designed furniture pieces for the house, including the dining table and beds. The two hand-made wicker-woven lights that look like traditional fishing baskets set the scene over the dining table.

  • Natural living

    There are orange, fig, lemon and mango trees and an extensive herb garden and an oyster farm a little way up the creek. In keeping with the back-to-nature vibe, there’s also no mobile phone reception.

  • Peaceful isolation

    Though very close to Sydney it feels like a world away. Surrounded by a national park, the house is at the end of the road – you can’t go any further – so there’s no passing traffic to disturb the peace.


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