With thoughtfully allocated spaces, scaling down can be an ideal chance to improve your lifestyle

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floor plan of the apartment

Downsizing your home doesn't mean you need to scale back your lifestyle. A smaller home, with well-arranged spaces, can provide you with enhanced living and entertainment options.

When interior designer Mary Wilson, from Nielsen-Wilson Design, bought this long and narrow home, the interior was poorly organised. However, as it was always destined for remodelling, what was appealing was that the only load-bearing walls were those of the exterior. This gave a large amount of freedom when it came to reallocating the interior spaces.

"The house was bought with the knowledge that the interior was going to be transformed. With a long footprint, and because it is a centre unit, natural light only penetrates from the front and back," she says.

At its widest, the home measures just seven metres, which tapers back to barely three metres at its narrowest point.

"Because of its size, there were plenty of challenges. We looked at the space by the centimetre, rather than by the metre.

"We intended to take advantage of the latest home automation technology, so we were always going to have to break into the walls to install the necessary wiring."

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view of the soaking tub with overflow channel, glass shower enclosure, stainless faucets

In total, eight kilometres of low voltage wiring were installed in the walls. A Lutron/Crestron automation system allows remote control programming of almost all electronic functions from lighting and heating to audiovisual equipment, and even turning on the oven.

Upstairs, a vaulted ceiling includes a skylight to introduce natural light. Elsewhere, the mix of natural and artificial light can be exactly controlled with a system of automated blinds and lighting.

The house comprises three levels an office, full bathroom, laundry and guest bedroom are downstairs; living and dining rooms, the kitchen, and an outdoor courtyard are on the ground floor; and the master suite, study, and storage spaces are located upstairs.

"The entrance and living areas are quite open, while the dining room is defined by four columns. We wanted to give this space more of a library feel. Furniture groupings are arranged so they can be easily expanded or modified. There are divisions between spaces, but you don't necessarily need walls to define the space."

Instead of walls, the furniture groupings indicate the different areas, many of which perform more than one function. The dining room, surrounded by shelving with built-in display lighting, is not just for formal dining, but also a place for sitting and reading. Trimless detail application is aided by the use of engineered timber in the walls, which provides clean levels and plumb lines.

For visual interest in the kitchen, Wilson specified a benchtop of Kodiak granite, imported from Brazil. This material also forms the fireplace surround in the adjacent sitting room. The long, galley-style kitchen features extensive storage. Manufactured by Bulthaup, the cabinetry is German cherry, which has a finish that is more brown than the typical red of cherry.

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view of the bedroom featuring carpet flooring, french doors, gas fireplace

A colour scheme with natural hues and textures links the living spaces together.

"The palette is influenced by the mature trees and well-maintained gardens of the surrounding streets. The interior colour variations are all inspired by nature."

Furnishings in the home reflect this philosophy, with neutral walls forming a backdrop to an abundance of brown, green, and tan tones.

"All the furniture and colours flow together, so nothing surprises, but there are subtle differences. For instance, the powder room floor features golden onyx with sandblasted gold leaf glass tile inserts. It's how we use materials to do things we haven't done before that is interesting, and how we use colour and texture to create sophistication," says Wilson

An outdoor patio flows on from the ground-level living areas. To enable use all year round, Wilson installed heating under the tiled surface.

Overhead heaters provide additional warmth, as does the fire pit. An in-ground spa, a waterfall feature and built-in speaker system contribute to an enjoyable outdoor experience.

Credit list

Darren Vesel, Single Source
Custom woodwork
Reinhardt Studios
Special carpentry
Gregg Fournier, Fournier Remodeling
Automation system
Lutron; Crestron
Mike Floyd, Kane Creek Construction
Lighting co-ordination
186 Lighting Design Group
Floor refinishing
Synergy Floor covering
Kitchen cabinets

Story by: Trendsideas

23 Nov, 2007

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