There are two distinct design approaches to an historic makeover one is to celebrate period elements and sweep the rest aside; the other is to emphasise the integrity of the entire building.
This renovation, in what was once the second floor of a Brisbane woolshed, frees up the good bones of the original structure built in 1934. Builder Kris Johnson says the owners wanted the reworked apartment to have the semi-industrial character of a New York loft. However, the interior clutter of an earlier renovation first had to be swept aside.
"This space has had several lives it was a car park for a time, and in 1994 it was fitted out as a unit, with carpeted floors, white walls and a standard kitchen. Our work began by stripping the space back to the studs, retaining the original spotted gum beams and joists. We kept the existing windows, too, and sandblasted the brickwork to restore its bright hue.
"We then introduced distressed wood floors as a character feature that would also call to mind the building's origins. This was a major undertaking. For its role as a car park, concrete floors had been introduced throughout. We fixed battens to this surface and laid the French oak planks over that. To achieve the semi-industrial look, the wood was scraped by hand, stained and finally waxed."
With partition walls removed and the rustic floor installed, the apartment achieves the airy, loft-like aesthetic required. The owners also wanted an industrial-level kitchen as part of the open-plan space. Johnson specified a splashback and benchtop in stainless steel, and cabinetry in charcoal lacquer with a matt finish.