“In our increasingly consumer culture, there’s something serene and comforting about a lack of excessive stuff,” says Clare Cousins of Melbourne-based Clare Cousins Architects. Cousins’ recent Flinders Lane Apartment remodel took a Melbourne couple’s 75 square-meter flat and reconfigured it to provide space for their first child. The design creatively organized the space in order to prioritize family over consumption and unnecessary stuff.
The couple had a strong aesthetic idea when they first approached Cousins. Their ideas ranged from Atelier Bow Wow’s Mountain House to other unconventional small spaces by Japanese architects. This encouraged the architects to push the boundaries of design and replace the existing bedroom with a timber box made from hoop-pine plywood – a local Australian timber. This box became a jigsaw puzzle of built-in spaces and functions. Two smaller bedrooms (each the length of a bed), a mezzanine sleeping space, a step that doubles as a seat, storage walls, bookshelves, and built-in workstations were all created as part of this modern box.
The palette of materials that the team used helped to enhance the warmth and comfort of the home while reducing costs. Plywood is very affordable and can be constructed by a carpenter. The bathroom was remodeled with low cost tiles arranged in different patterns and gold-electroplated fixtures that help to bring a sense of luxury to the white interior. All-in-all, this remodel helps to show that inner-city living and family-friendly homes can go hand in hand.
Photos via Lisbeth Grosmann