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Red brick walls, steel framing and corrugated iron ceilings retain the integrity of this former chocolate factory
Story by: Colleen Hawkes Photography by: Andrew Ashton
View of open-plan living and dining areas with architecture, ceiling, floor, flooring, interior design, living room, lobby, loft, white
View of open-plan living and dining areas with dark-stained timber flooring, corrugated iron ceiling, glass topped dining table, chairs, sofas.

For many years, the sweet aroma of melted chocolate wafted from this solid brick factory building. And while it no longer produces such tempting delights, evidence of the building's former life remains in this remodelled apartment.

From the huge circular chimney where the chocolate was melted, to the secret room where recipes were stored, the apartment retains its original character and integrity.

Owner-designer Raphaela Foxx says the factory had already been converted when she bought her apartment, but the interior lacked warmth.

"It was rather austere and cold it needed to be dressed up a little," she says. "But I soon discovered what would and would not work. The solid red brick wall and the giant chimney dominate the space, so it was essential to choose colours and materials that wouldn't compete with this. For example, natural wood simply didn't work but the dark-stained timber flooring was fine."

Foxx says she warmed up the floor visually by adding a Red Tulip chocolate logo a reference to the building's former production line.

"Limiting the palette to varying shades of white and steel was the best way to balance the visual weight of the brick," Foxx says.


View of bedroom with light-stained timber flooring, corrugated bed frame, bedroom, ceiling, floor, home, interior design, property, real estate, room, suite, wall, window, gray, black
View of bedroom with light-stained timber flooring, corrugated iron ceiling, bed with white linen, shelving.

All the non-brick walls are painted white, as are the structural steel supports and beams, and the corrugated iron ceiling, including two new barrel forms above the dining area.

"The ceiling in this area was rather rough with harsh lines," says Foxx. "The curves help to soften the look and again, warm the space visually."

Furniture with fine and delicate lines was chosen to counter the stronger visual elements. The sofas, for example, have narrow steel legs and are not too bulky.

The steel-leg dining table and chairs, and the kitchen design were also influenced by the need to lighten the interior. Foxx replaced a pantry with a tall, open mobile shelving unit made from steel.

"The height and weight of the shelving are appropriate for the volume of the space and make it much more interesting. As well as being decorative, the unit is practical items can be reached easily."

Steel legs also feature on the kitchen island, bar stools, and on a low console that separates the main living and dining areas.

View of kitchen area with dark-stained timber flooring, floor, flooring, interior design, kitchen, loft, wood flooring, white, brown
View of kitchen area with dark-stained timber flooring, corrugated iron ceiling, kitchen island with white benchtop, bar stools, cabinetry and appliances.

A perspex desk lightens the study area, which is tucked behind the chimney in a space that was once a secure room for secret recipe storage.

The monochromatic colour palette of the furnishings in the living area extends to the artworks, which include framed black-and-white photographs and paintings by the designer.

"I found that naive-style figurative art worked best," she says. "These paintings have an energy that matches the feel of the apartment."

Similar works can be seen in the bedroom. Here, all the surfaces, including the exposed pipework and a new resin floor, are painted white.

"I replaced an existing banana-yellow carpet with the polished resin floor, which has a shiny finish," says Foxx. "The sheen of the floor contrasts the rough texture of the brick walls, giving the room a more romantic look it was important to introduce a touch of romance to the interior."

The softening touch is also evident in the window treatments linen curtains and sheer blinds in the bedroom, and white wood blinds in the living area.

Jul 21, 2009

Credit list

Window coverings
Wood blinds; sheer and linen curtains
Ceiling
Corrugated iron
Flooring
Dark- and light-stained timber; epoxy resin in bedroom
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