What was previously two bedrooms is now a one-bedroom apartment, with far greater emphasis on the spaces that are regularly used.
Where walls have been removed, the raw edge of the brickwork has been left exposed, allowing areas to merge.
The kitchen is now considerably smaller, but still features a wide benchtop in mill-finished aluminium, which is also used in the large draws below.
“This finish will scratch and stain as though a Brillo steel wool soap pad had been dragged across it,” says Arnold, who contrasted the raw finish with a bronze mirror for the kitchen’s splashback. Other details in the apartment include exposed cabling in the dining and living areas.
Given the number of renovations to the Elizabeth Bay apartment over the decades, few, if any, period details are left.
“We were working with a relatively modest budget, so the less done, the better,” says van Haar, who knew that one of the ways the apartment could be transformed was through the use of colour.
‘People often make the mistake of thinking adventurous design is just the realm of the young, which certainly isn’t the case.’
Lymesmith director and artist Sonia van de Haar
Every space has at least two or three colours, including one with a deep marine blue extending from wall to ceiling.
However, there are still singular moments of colour, such as in the bathroom, which is painted in a soft shell-coloured pink to complement its terrazzo floors. The entry vestibule, painted in a dark teal green, is separated from the living area by a simple grey curtain.
As the apartment is for an older man, there are a few safety precautions, such as a grab rail in the bathroom that wraps around the space, instead of appearing clinical or institutional.
For both Arnold and van de Haar, getting older does not need to be boring. “The design captures the way Michael lives, and the spaces required for entertaining,” says van de Haar.
“People often make the mistake of thinking adventurous design is just the realm of the young, which certainly isn’t the case”, she says.
Van de Haar particularly enjoys how the colour in the apartment ties spaces together to create somewhat of a three-dimensional effect. “It’s not dissimilar to being in a landscape painting, but within a building, rather than outdoors,” she says.
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