Manly apartment renovation

This couple might have been looking to downsize from their family home to an apartment but they were keen to upsize their lifestyle in Manly.

They had owned the whole-floor apartment within a small ’90s block close to the harbourside end of Manly for some time. As it was previously tenanted, much of it was still in original condition.

“The owners loved the location but not the dark, unfriendly spaces,” says architect Annabelle Chapman, who was tasked with redesigning the space.

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Positioned on the ground floor, the apartment was in desperate need of an upgrade and the owners wanted mod cons such as airconditioning and home automation.

But with a ceiling fixed to the concrete above and no room to thread through the vents for electrical cabling, some clever design solutions were required.

“We dropped the ceiling in the hallway to make some room and then lit that space with uplights to make that ceiling look higher,” Annabelle says. “In the bedrooms the air ducts shot out the tops of the cupboards.”

The entire apartment was then gutted and new limestone floors laid throughout, except for the carpeted bedrooms.

Marble was chosen for the kitchen and bathroom and the extensive use of limed oak joinery allowed for clever storage solutions throughout the apartment. The floorplan originally included three bedrooms but a south-facing bedroom with no views was transformed into a dressing room for the couple. The living room was also greatly transformed, bringing two rooms together.

In another part of the apartment, a sunroom with a step down from the main living room was levelled to create a bigger living room. The apartment also features a wine cellar, study, alfresco area and media room.

“The media room is quite unusual for an apartment and the study is a proper room with windows. Even without the third bedroom there is plenty of space if they have family from interstate.”

There are three bathrooms, including an ensuite for the master suite, with Annabelle and the builder collaborating on the lighting design for those spaces.

“I love the bathroom lights. We couldn’t find what we wanted so, between us, we came up with these,” she says. “The couple love their new home and were involved throughout the design and renovation. They were wonderful to work with.”

Pictures: The Palm Co


A couple who were downsizing


Annabelle Chapman,

The brief

Brighten up the darker spaces and introduce a coastal style

The site

A large two-bedroom ground-floor apartment in Manly

Design solution

To gut the entire apartment and start again using modern materials in light colours for a fresh, beachside look

How long did it take

10 months

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