Heart of the Home

Words by Sophie Sisko
Photography by Nicole England

“In this open plan world that we live in, the bathroom is the only room that has a lock on the door. It’s a place where we can be indulgent, where we can be for ourselves, where it’s just about us.”

Darren Genner, Minosa.

Minosa bathroom design – Crow’s Nest Residence.

Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most essential areas of the home, so it makes sense to design them with the utmost consideration. Husband and wife team, Darren Genner and Simona Castagna are the founding directors of Minosa and have poured their passion into creating these spaces for their clients.

Simona and Darren.

Let’s take it back to the beginning when Simona and Darren met with their heads in a kitchen cupboard. Darren, working as a kitchen designer was investigating the inner workings of this cupboard when Simona, working for Poliform at the time, poked her head into the cupboard beside him.

Minosa hidden kitchen design – Woolahara Residence.

Simona had always known she would work in a creative field and graduated from Interior Design at RMIT before working for several esteemed companies in the industry. Darren worked for many years in wood machining and kitchen manufacturing, eventually moving into kitchen design. Through these roles, both Darren and Simona gained expertise and insight in their industries before coming together to create Minosa in 2001. Back then, kitchens and bathrooms were not the highlights of the home as they are today, and Minosa has been a part of the journey that has seen kitchens and bathroom design truly evolve.

Minosa bathroom design – Dover Heights Residence.

Darren and Simona are family people. They have a young family, and make sure Sundays are always family day; this is usually time at the beach with the kids. Monday is the day that this dynamic duo spend time with just each other. This love for family translates directly into the love for their business because it really is an extension of their family.

The Minosa team.

Minosa is a family run business so the values align with those of family. “Honesty, passion, integrity, patience and over all fun” are the foundation for this closely connected team of nine that make up Minosa. This studio is all about people; people inspire their projects, form their networks and support their passion. When asked what is your biggest design influence, Darren undoubtedly answered “people.” This family run business revolves around building relationships with their clients to create the best solutions for their needs.

The most important part of this relationship building process is the listening phase. This is when Minosa will first meet with a client to discuss their project and best interpret its unique requirements. This is followed by a return brief from Minosa to the client to confirm their understanding and make sure everyone is on the same page. This level of communication is maintained throughout the project to ensure that the client plays a large role in the design of their new space.

Minosa team working with clients at their Alexandria (New South Wales) showroom.

Minosa’s unique approach is their focus on two areas of the home, the kitchen and bathroom. These areas are both very special in their own and somewhat contrasting ways. The kitchen, a place of social interaction, sharing and connection, is a place where people come together and celebrate one another. The bathroom however, is a place of privacy, self-care and wellness; a place where one can be alone.

Killara & Welsh Bay Residences designed by Minosa.

Minosa has developed an in-depth understanding of the client’s unique needs and lifestyle in these spaces. The use of layered lighting provides the client with flexibility to transform a room to suit its different purposes. Materials are thoughtfully considered for their application with both aesthetic and functionality in mind, and natural materials are specified whenever possible. To go hand in hand with their kitchen and bathroom designs, Simona and Darren have also developed a range of bath wares and basins under their retail label The Art of Bathing.

The accomplishments of Minosa are two-fold. The couple would both agree that their greatest success is “our family” which encompasses not only family, but the friends, colleagues and clients who have offered an unmeasurable amount of support and inspiration to the couple over the years.

Secondly, their accomplishments can also be noted by the extensive list of industry recognition they have received. For example, just this past year they have been awarded the TIDA Awards International Kitchen Design of the Year, HIA Australian Housing Awards Bathroom Design of the Year and KBDi Australian Design Space Award.

Whichever way you want to look at it, this ambitious small business has come a long way from where it started, and will continue to progress with the same wholesome approach in the kitchen and bathroom design industry.

All photography by Nicole England.