To transform the one-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment into a chic and broody penthouse that was ultimately versatile, enabling the solo owner who travels frequently to host intimate dinner parties through to large gatherings, and accommodate visiting friends on occasion.
Coastal market conventions were completely flipped by not treating the walls with white paint (customarily drawing the gaze towards the harbour) and by refraining from designing the layout of the apartment to solely face the water. The interior experience is as equally rich and layered as the outside view. Dark hues including indigo walls are paired with decadent materials (including a rust and ochre-toned splashback and feature backdrop to the kitchen, plus plum-hued blinds over the windows). A majority of the existing concrete surfaces remain in their original state; others are painted pale grey or navy blue, whilst slate-coloured terrazzo covers the master bathroom.
Services were all located in the wrong positions relative to the view and the flow between spaces did not work, plus openings to the terrace outside were poorly placed and too narrow. The kitchen was re-located to the opposite side of the apartment. Unable to core drill into the existing slab, its floor was raised with new terrazzo tiles laid upon it. With access to the balcony positioned directly off the kitchen’s new location, a custom sculptural island bench-top was designed to sit at an angle, allowing for a clear egress path around it. In turn, it transforms the typically functional element into a decorative piece. Its 80-millimetre thick marble ‘apron’ is set on two cylindrical legs; the thicker drum contains the sink’s plumbing.
At the entry, existing plumbing stacks required to feed all levels of the building were originally concealed behind a bulky piece of joinery. Realising that it was from this vantage point that one could first appreciate glimpses to the harbour beyond, the three vertical service elements were left exposed, with one being meticulously dressed from top to bottom in dark brown leather boot lace and casually tied off at the hip. Within this area, a fully serviced laundry is disguised behind sliding doors, whilst a custom off-form terrazzo ledge (supported by an existing structural concrete column) provides a ledge to place keys and mail upon arrival.
With space at a premium, maximising the storage capacity and multi-functionality of every element in the apartment was essential. Form and function were inseparable from the outset of the design process. Almost very element of the apartment is custom (including furniture). All that was purchased was a coffee table, the sofa and bedding. Everything else is bespoke. The living area doubles up as a guest bedroom. The decorative grey-stained panel with ochre linear pulls framed by a fullheight storage unit integrated into the rear wall is both a backdrop to watch a movie upon (a projector screen is concealed within the timber clad ceiling) and bed base. Pull on its handle and the beautifully detailed door reveals a mattress for sleepovers. For guests staying the night, privacy is provided by a slatted timber screen which can be drawn across for privacy.
A custom horizontal pendant lamp suspended over the dining table made from stripy vintage ticking material evokes an exotic Bedouin tent ambience in tandem with scattered tribal embellishments and dark stone within the apartment. It can be raised on a pulley to enable an uninterrupted view of the painting hung directly behind it and to clear standing space during social gatherings. For intimate dining experiences, it can be lowered. The custom table itself modernises and celebrates an Australian/Asian dining favourite: ‘The Lazy Susan.’ The rotating disc sits upon a 1.8m glass surface revealing a black timber base.