Debra Cronin

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
6th of April 2011

The Woollahra home of interior decorator Debra Cronin

Incredible eclectic details in the front room

Dining room – this room also hosts Debra’s brilliant Bite Club dinners!

Debra Cronin is one clever cookie.  After years working overseas, she found herself back in Sydney, uninspired by her previous career path and ready for a change.  She had a vision.  She wanted to find a huge derelict Victorian house, do it up in her unique decorative style, and treat the space as a home as well as a business.  She planned to use the home as a showcase for her eclectic decorating skills, and to rent it out for photo shoots and events.  It all sounds a bit far-fetched really, especially as Debra wasn’t in the market to BUY this house.  She needed to find one to rent.

But you know what?  She did it!  She found this house through sheer determination.  She trailed her favourite neighbourhoods looking for a crumbling Victorian mansion.  She found one, but it wasn’t available.  She asked around, and found out that many of the run-down homes in this particular area were investment properties owned by a medical foundation.  She tracked down the company, and somehow convinced them to let her rent this home, giving her free reign to renovate it however she chose!  She negotiated a generously long lease – and the rest is history.

Debra then set about the renovation process – it was HUGE.  The floors (in lounge and hall) and the ceilings (in lounge & office) need replacing, the whole house was re-wired, a new kitchen and bathroom were put in.  A new front door was needed, and windows for upstairs which was previously simply boarded up.  Debra trawled auction houses for obscure, oversized antique furniture for each room in the house.  She invested all her savings and more!  Her friends thought she was crazy, her builders thought she was crazy… but Debra had a vision and she stuck to it!  Within four month Debra had realised her dream –  the home was returned to its former glory.  Two years on, she is happily living in this incredible home and earning a living from it too!  It is an AMAZING story of determination and calculated creative madness!

Somewhere along the line, during the renovation process, Debra also hatched a brilliant plan to showcase her incredible new home in a very unique way.  She joined forces with a friend who just happened to be a brilliant chef, and together this creative pair launched Bite Club – a unique underground dining experience.  Bite Club runs hugely popular singles dinners and also private events and parties.  Another INSPIRED idea from Debra Cronin!  What will she think of next!?

Debra’s deepest passion, though, is interior decorating.  Her company, Debra Cronin Design, is run from this building too. She loves a challenge, no matter how big or small, and nothing pleases her more than the thrill of hunting out that perfect piece of furniture or paint hue or cornice detail.  ‘I go to just about every Auction or market I can find’ she says!  Debra truly lives, breathes, sleeps her passion – and it shows!

When asked for her favourite aspect of the home… Debra can’t decide.  ‘I love the size, madness and location of the house, but most of all how it has become such a sociable little hub of all sorts going on’ she says!  It really is incredible that in creating this home, Debra has also found many ways to share her unique space with others – guests, clients, and Bite Club patrons!  What an incredible achievement.  I am seriously impressed.  Hat’s off to Debra!

If you love Debra’s home you should most certainly visit her website!

Dining room details

Industrial kitchen

Upstairs hallway detail

Debra Cronin Design HQ!

Master bedroom

Bathroom details


Sunroom details

Sunroom with view to the garden

Garden details – lots of herbs for Bite Club dinners!

Entrance hallway

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