This renovation sought to increase the functionality and flexibility of the living spaces within an original-condition, two bedroom 60’s apartment in Brunswick. The project seeks to celebrate the quality and atmosphere of the original home, while adapting to meet the current needs of the owner.
The layout is typical of many apartments of this typology, with a clear division between living and private spaces and with frontage on two sides. Original large windows provide ample natural light and effective cross ventilation. The existing kitchen however, felt disconnected from the living room. The space was too confined to accommodate a dining table and lacked adequate natural light.
The apartment plan was reconfigured to increase the connection between the living room and the kitchen. The kitchen is adapted to function as a comfortable living space in it’s own right, rather than as a space of utility.
Dividing walls between the kitchen and living room were partially demolished. Inserted joinery elements reorder circulation paths in lieu of original walls, organising the relationship between the central entry, the reoriented kitchen and the living room.
The new layout takes the form of an L-plan, open to the living areas, and anchored by a custom-made table and fixed banquette seating. A bank of full height joinery divides the private areas of the apartment from the kitchen and accommodates utilities: new laundry/ fridge/ pantry/storage. Visible from the living room, a long working bench completes the ‘L’ of the kitchen plan, running parallel with the entry circulation.
The apartment is opened vertically through the insertion of a ceiling window. Thick glass roof tiles replace a section of clay tiles, allowing daylight to filter down into the dining area below. The void playfully reveals a glimpse of a previously hidden structural space, and frames the ever-changing view of the sky. The ceiling is insulated and the roof window is double-glazed to minimise additional heat gain and to retain winter warmth.
The design of the joinery references the original 60s-era kitchen, with visible framing around doors and drawers, and custom finger pulls. Sliding-pocket doors reveal a hidden appliance area in the pantry, for a toaster, and for tea and coffee making.
The material palette seeks to unify new and retained elements. The original bathroom is a key reference; terrazzo flooring and colourful finishes and fixtures show signs of age in a beautiful way, strengthening the character of the home. New materials celebrate these enduring qualities.
Salvaged from excess stock from a larger project, tiled terrazzo floors unify the spaces of the apartment and add depth. Introduced colours pick-up on the greens and pinks found in the new marble flooring. The cabinetry is a subtle warm-green 2pac. The working-bench, splashback and dining table is built of red marble. Original tapware is re-used.
Colour, material and form are brought together as a new layer, to continue the story of the original apartment, and to bring joy to the daily life of the occupants.