Empty-nester trades four-bed family home for uber-cool 45sqm apartment gallery

This remodelled flat is just 45 square metres, but the space has been maximised by the introduction of a central ...
ROBERT FRITH

This remodelled flat is just 45 square metres, but the space has been maximised by the introduction of a central cabinetry unit that separates the living and sleeping quarters.

There come's a time in many empty-nesters' lives when they find themselves rambling around a big old family home that, quite frankly, seems long past its use-by date.

Even if the house has been well maintained, in all likelihood the upkeep is tremendous.

The elderly owner of this tiny 45 square-metre inner-city flat came from a huge four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the suburbs, complete with swimming pool.

Minimising the colour and material palettes to white, timber and black enhances a sense of tranquility.
ROBERT FRITH

Minimising the colour and material palettes to white, timber and black enhances a sense of tranquility.

She took the concept of downsizing to heart, moving into the flat in Krantz and Sheldon's Causeway Gardens complex in Perth, following a complete interior redesign by architecture firm vittinoAshe.

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The elderly owner downsized from a four-bedroom house, but bought several items with her, including the grandfather ...
ROBERT FRITH

The elderly owner downsized from a four-bedroom house, but bought several items with her, including the grandfather clock, which now sits on the enclosed balcony.

The architects say the project was a design exercise in "quality over quantity" – refurbishing rather than building anew. "The project seeks to engage in a conversation about ways of ageing gracefully in place."

Central to the design is the custom cabinetry that separates yet connects the living and sleeping areas, tying together the "complex geometry".

"The cabinetry is the main cost component of the project and houses the essentials for living," the architects say. "It is something that was not specifically called for in the brief, but manifests as the accordant and discordant object within the original architecture.

The kitchen is positioned on the right side of the central cabinetry. The use of timber veneer on this unit maintains a ...
ROBERT FRITH

The kitchen is positioned on the right side of the central cabinetry. The use of timber veneer on this unit maintains a sense of visual separation from the shell of the unit.

"The cabinetwork also responds at a more intimate scale to our client, with the provision of a handrail, continuous light source and curved surfaces, so that the apartment can be comfortably navigated along its shortest possible route."

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Timber veneer was used to differentiate the cabinetry from the solid load-bearing structure and shell of the apartment. A matching cork floor helps to anchor the look.

"All other "cranky" surfaces, and in particular the outer shell, are left intact and simply painted. The client's treasures were listed, drawn and curated, and further furniture pieces sourced and restored to purposely fit this small space."

A mirrored splashback reflects the light and helps to make the space look larger.
ROBERT FRITH

A mirrored splashback reflects the light and helps to make the space look larger.

The architects say other elements, such as the softness of cork flooring, the shower bench with hand shower, and the widths of openings were design considerations that will allow the client to live here for many years to come.

A niche around the cabinetry serves as a handrail guide so the owner can navigate easily around the flat.
ROBERT FRITH

A niche around the cabinetry serves as a handrail guide so the owner can navigate easily around the flat.

The bedroom and bathroom are around the left side of the central cabinetry.
ROBERT FRITH

The bedroom and bathroom are around the left side of the central cabinetry.

Before the renovation (left), the unit featured separate rooms.
ROBERT FRITH

Before the renovation (left), the unit featured separate rooms.

The bathroom tucks into the far corner of the unit. It can be closed off from the bedroom.
ROBERT FRITH

The bathroom tucks into the far corner of the unit. It can be closed off from the bedroom.

 - Homed

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