Inside the Minimalist Dream Home of Perfumier Raquel Bouris
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we head to the Sutherland shire, where Raquel Bouris of perfume brand Who Is Elijah has designed an exquisite, monochromatic family home.
When it comes to decorating a dream house, Raquel Bouris had something of a headstart on the rest of us. The woman behind Australian-made perfume brand Who Is Elijah is married to the director of a home design company – creating beautiful spaces is literally her husband's vocation. “He has a very clear vision of how a space should and can be designed,” Bouris says. “I leave most design choices up to him!”
The couple moved into this house, a new build in Sydney’s South Caringbah, in September with one goal in mind: to make a family home for George, their “very active” one-year-old son. Bouris was drawn to the “beautiful sun-drenched light” that floods the house at all hours of the day, as well as the big backyard for George to play in. Because the space was a brand new build, no renovations were required – the family moved straight in. “The only thing on our mind is adding a cubby house in the backyard,” she says.
When it comes to interior style, Bouris and her husband favour a simple and neutral look: white walls, pale wood, linen upholstery and fresh flowers everywhere. This idea is to turn your home into a sanctuary, a place for relaxation and recalibration. “Pick a vibe or style that you love that makes you happy and zen,” Bouris says. “Much needed after the long days in the office and warehouse.”
Of all the rooms in her house, though, her favourite is her home office. “It is so peaceful in there, and the natural light is phenomenal,” Bouris enthuses. (“Very good lighting for my Zoom calls!”) It’s here that Bouris works on Who Is Elijah, the Australian made perfume brand she founded in 2018 and which has just launched on Bed Threads. With a very specific, edited collection of scents inspired by far-flung destinations and long summer days, Bouris’ approach to crafting each unique blend is similar to the one she applies to styling her home, which prioritises listening to her instincts first and foremost. “I don’t tend to spend too much time ‘thinking’ about it,” she says. “I would never create a perfume I wouldn’t wear myself; I have that at front of mind when creating our scents.”
Hi Raquel! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I make perfumes! I am the founder and creative behind Who Is Elijah perfume. We celebrated our two year anniversary in October.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I wouldn’t say I was an overly creative person prior to starting Who Is Elijah, but determination has always been a strong trait of mine. My creative switch turned on the minute I had the light bulb moment to create a fragrance, and it has turned into a crazy passion of mine. I love making new perfumes and creating the story behind them.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
Honestly, no! I had never worked in the retail or the beauty industry. I come from a corporate background, my last role before Who Is Elijah was Executive Assistant to the CEO & CFO of a hotel company – very different! It was just a light bulb moment I had to create a fragrance after returning home from an overseas trip, and the rest is history.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?
Learn from others. Ask as many questions you can to the right people, preferably those who have many more years’ experience than you do. I recently brought on a business advisor, and it is the best decision I have made.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your career?
I think, like many, COVID affected our supply chain. We had never experienced issues with our inventory and stock levels before and being Australian made, we have the luxury of our products being produced locally. COVID had other plans for us this year and suddenly we experienced a long delay to get our next order which we had not prepared for. This is now something we have planned for, to ensure a BIG safety net.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
Launching into David Jones was a big achievement. But honestly every store, brand and direct customer that tells me they love and wear my perfumes, I still pinch myself in disbelief. It is a HUGE honour!
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
I would tell myself all the mistakes I had made to avoid them! But in saying that, the whole journey has led me to today, and I am very proud of what Who Is Elijah has achieved in such a short period of time. Thanks to my amazing team!
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
Not long! We moved into our new home in September 2020.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
The beautiful sun-drenched light we have all through the house is incredible. The location and style of our home suits our lifestyle, and we wanted a family home for our little one-year boy, George. He now has a backyard to play in!
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
We were lucky that our home was built brand new, the only thing on our mind is adding a cubby house in the backyard.
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
I have a current obsession with ceramic vases, black and white. The styling combinations are endless, and it breaks up a room quite easily.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I am manifesting artwork by Dina Broadhurst – I have loved her pieces for so long. I am also building my Bed Threads collection. A dream to sleep in!
Which is your favourite room in the house?
I think my home office. It is so peaceful in there, and the natural light is phenomenal. Very good lighting for my Zoom calls!
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
We are launching our fourth fragrance, MUSE in December. We are very excited to spread every spritz of MUSE with the world.
For more from Raquel Bouris, follow her at @raaaquelbouris.