An old, cramped apartment in Tasmania is updated with skylights, plenty of clever space-saving concepts, and a touch of hidden glamor.
From ultra-contemporary transformer apartments to hotel-home hybrids, we're seeing a lot of small space design innovation from Australia and New Zealand. Now, architects Alex Nielsen and Liz Walsh of workbylizandalex have recently redesigned a jewel of a micro-apartment in Tasmania that prioritizes light, a minimalist palette of materials, and efficient but elegant functionality. Watch the tour of this award-winning apartment, nicknamed #TheBaeTAS, via Never Too Small:Originally an outdated 1970s apartment in Sandy Bay, Tasmania that came with lots of partitions, carpeting and a low ceiling, the architects managed to knock down the existing partitions, in order to rearrange the layout so that the bathroom and kitchen were pushed to the rear, in addition to raising the ceiling. By doing this, the main living space opens up the ocean vista beyond, visually connecting the 26-square-metre (279 square feet) interior to the balcony, and beyond.
It's the skylight here that makes the biggest difference, as the opening above not only brings in more light to expand the interior, but it has been done in a way so that it also presents a number of visually interesting, carved angles in the ceiling. As Walsh tells The Local Project:
Light from the skylights tracks across the apartment throughout the day, and the raised points of the ceiling create zones. The birch plywood paneling also creates a sense of volume, and the walls and ceiling flow into each other, wrapping the space.
The wood-lined walls hide a lot of storage options, including a fold-down bed.
The kitchen has been hidden behind a set of accordion-style panels, and purposely set back a few inches to create the feeling of a cozy niche for cooking. Here, the architects also experimented with barestone, a locally produced, fibre cement sheeting that is usually utilized as exterior cladding. Instead, it now gives the kitchen an intriguing suede-like but durable character.
The drawers are nevertheless deep enough to store utensils and cookware, in addition to a compact dishwasher and an integrated fridge-freezer. The stove is of the induction type, and the small oven is still large enough to cook larger items. A mirrored backsplash has been installed to give the illusion of a larger space.
While the main living space and kitchen feel pared-down and modern, it's the bathroom that gets a bit glam, perhaps approaching disco-esque. Found behind a thick door edged in gold, the bathroom is tiled in a deep burgundy colour, and features brass fixtures and one perfect skylight gazing heavenward.
Despite its tiny size at the outset, this project is a skillful redo that transforms a once-cramped apartment into an immensely flexible and more functional living space, in addition to the 'bigger picture' implications of reviving existing housing stock for a more sustainable future.