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We speak with the duo behind interior design studio GOLDEN – Alicia McKimm and Kylie Buhagiar – and hear how they are enamoured with design and its influence.

Alicia McKimm and Kylie Buhagiar each bring a unique approach to their projects, as a creative partnership this results in holistic spaces that leave an impact. We chat with them to find out their design philosophy and what comes together to make a GOLDEN project… golden.

Brighton Residence. Photo by Sharyn Cairns.


What drew you to pursue a career in design?

Kylie Buhagiar: I originally studied visual arts and that then led me down the path of interior design. While studying, I worked at a large well-known interiors firm, which really cemented my training and love for design. I then went on to work there for the next 5 years.

Alicia McKimm: I studied interior design straight after school and always knew I wanted to pursue a career in design, as I was drawn to the balance between the creative and functional.

Brighton Residence. Photo by Sharyn Cairns.


What defines the GOLDEN philosophy?

KB: GOLDEN is all about a feeling. We want to create contemporary, timeless, functional spaces that are deeply felt and build a business focused on great work and great client relationships.

At GOLDEN, we design spaces that are harmonious, resolved and make you feel good. It functions well, it’s aesthetically beautiful, and it’s not over-designed. We aim to create projects that reflect the refinement of our shared belief in spaces that go beyond the aesthetic – timeless interiors, high quality, holistic, functional and beautifully detailed.

It’s always about delivering a high-quality project with longevity and with a unique approach for each client. We really want people to walk into the space and it just feels right.

Seen Skin. Photo by Sharyn Cairns.


What do you think are important considerations when designing a home?

AM: We always talk about how spaces shouldn’t feel over-designed and how crucial it is for the end-user to be able to walk into a space and not be hit with multiple design elements.

Instead, everything should feel perfectly balanced and seamless in its expression and it’s imperative that any elements that aren’t adding value to a space be removed. Yes, we believe in beauty and understand a fit-out must look good, but if something doesn’t have a greater purpose then it has no reason to be there. Everything we do is first and foremost embedded in function.

Astrus House. Photo by Lillie Thompson.

To avoid a space feeling over-designed or over-the-top, we adopt a reductionist approach to designing interiors and begin our projects with what we’ve coined the ‘big idea’. From there we then work our way down to the details, as opposed to doing it the other way around.

We want the end-user to enjoy their experience from the moment they step foot into a GOLDEN interior. Elements that contribute to this are sensory, the lighting, textures, special planning, smell and sound. We believe a well-designed space is one that is not “overdesigned” yet feels harmonious, well balanced and considered.

Lakeview Penthouse. Photo by Sharyn Cairns.


What does living in design mean to you?

AM: Good design contributes to a better way of life. Architects and designers are charged with ensuring an interior respects both function and aesthetic. To live in design is to respect the process and aesthetic of a carefully constructed space that evokes connection.

Good design contributes to a better way of life. – Alicia McKimm

Lakeview Penthouse. Photo by Sharyn Cairns.


As a partnership, how do you both complement each other?

KB: We have a likeminded aesthetic; however, we approach design in different ways, which creates a balanced process. I have a background in visual arts, and my broadened thinking weaves in an artisan approach to spatial design. Alicia is likewise very creative but grounded in function and pragmatics.

We also both had 10 years of experience prior to stepping out on our own. Our team complements one another through individual differences and our shared creative passions. Coming together through collaboration, we are able to produce a richer quality of work.


Photography courtesy GOLDEN 

Brighton Residence. Photo by Sharyn Cairns.

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