Established in 2006 Sanctuary Design is a boutique interior decorating and garden design consultancy specialising in quality residential, boutique development and small commercial projects. Based on Sydney's North Shore, Sanctuary Design services the Sydney area and projects further afield by appointment.

Sanctuary Design creates quality individually designed interior and garden spaces that reflect the personal style and accommodate the practical needs of the people that live in them.


Established in 2006, Sanctuary Design is exclusively operated by principal Melissa James. An award-winning graduate of the International School of Colour and Design and Associate Member of the Design Institute of Australia. Melissa has a true love of interior and garden design. She enjoys working with clients to achieve a truly individual and stylish outcome. Melissa works closely with reputable suppliers and trades people personally selected for their professionalism and quality product.

Melissa has renovated several properties of her own allowing her a true appreciation of the client’s perspective when designing for a private residence.

Prior to pursuing a career in interior design Melissa previously worked in fine jewellery in Australia and the UK.

The Sanctuary Design Philosophy

In order to achieve the best result for our clients we promise to

  • really listen, communicate and be accessible
  • appreciate and understand individual style, preferences and tastes and incorporate these into the design concept
  • work to the promised schedule and to the agreed budget
  • be professional and always offer honest, practical and stylish design expertise
  • To work as closely or independently as the client desires
  • To smooth and simplify the design process
  • To always offer the highest quality of service and product available.


  • "â€ĶI would love for you to come and see how well your colour scheme has worked! Your ideas and fortunately those of original architect have weathered criminals, lawyers, collapse, excavation and replanning a thousand times over to give us a great result now at the end!!"

    — Client, Lane Cove
  • "We are very happy with what you've put together and looking forward to finalising the choices within the spaces."

    — Client, Lane Cove
  • "I am so EXCITED, the colours look amazing! Thank you soooo much."

    — Client, Naremburn