646-Square-Foot Australian Art Deco Apartment Leave a comment

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Names: Jesse Roebuck and husband, Alastair Emmett, and Ferdinand the 9-year-old Manx cat
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Size: 646 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years lived in: 3 years, owned
Photographic styling: Hayley Jenkin of Wholehearted Studio styled the shoot, curating their objects with what they already had.

We found our apartment online. We had lived in our (then) current home for a few years and wanted to start to see what was out there. We were eager to move back into the city but didn’t think it would happen for a few more months. This apartment popped up on our morning commute and what felt like hours later — we had made an offer! We loved the bones of the apartment, the beautiful old Art Deco building, and the ‘feel’ that it had. We immediately felt at home on that first inspection. It helped that the person living in it had a very similar style to us — and when we moved in — she become one of our best friends! The building was very social and we made lifelong friends. We regularly have drinks, go out for meals, even weekend away together!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We are definitely “more is more” kind of people! We like an eclectic mix of antiques, vintage furniture, and more modern art. We like a neutral backdrop (white paint forever!) and then create layers of interest with our collected pieces and lots of plants (seriously — a lot of plants)! 

Inspiration: We are lucky enough to travel a lot and this informs a lot of our style. Our home is full of things we have found around the world in flea markets and stores. It helps to create a home with all of the talking points, but does hurt our wallet in excess baggage fees!

Favorite Element: Renovating the kitchen and bathroom was a dream. We were able to create spaces that looked like they had been part of the structure for its whole history. By using vintage hero pieces (like the porcelain sink in the bathroom) we were able to make the rooms feel anchored and not too modern. Another favorite element is the architectural details (picture rails, decorative architrave) and the big old windows that flood the rooms with the most beautiful light!

Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge was space. Our apartment, while big for a one-bedroom, is a relatively small space. So we needed to ensure that anything we put added extra value. By putting a library wall into the living area we were able to create a great aesthetic while also putting in a large amount of storage.

Proudest DIY: The addition of two small skylights into the central living area created a huge change! The living area is a central room and all the beautiful light in the outer rooms barely penetrated. When we put the skylights in we couldn’t believe the massive change it made to the whole apartment. The whole flow improved when all the rooms were bathed in light! That and the renovation of the bathroom and kitchen (which look completely different to when we purchased!).

Biggest Indulgence: I would say the things that we put inside our home. I believe that if you buy well you only need to buy once, so we try to source the best quality homewares we can in our budget. Sometimes you get a bargain by searching markets, but I also don’t mind splurging on a great antique as they hold their value and will never go out of style. An antique cupboard looks as good in a modern home with an abstract painting as it does in a period home — so the pieces can travel with you if your tastes should evolve over time! If you love a small plate and it’s $500, who cares?! I promise you that you quickly forget the price when it brings you joy everyday (just divide the cost in half when you tell your spouse!). That, and renovations are never cheap!

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Our home has a very unique layout and features for an apartment — more like a home from the turn of the century. We are lucky to have a really functional layout that you usually find in larger homes. This helps to make our apartment feel spacious and comfortable — even though she’s not that big!

What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Our biggest tip we use in a smaller space is to keep the back drop (walls, large sofas, and bedding) block colors — in our case white or soft grey. I think this helps make the space look larger and draws your eyes to objects rather than the dimensions of the room! Your eye travels from say — the antique light to the painting to the objects on the coffee table — which creates a flow and makes the room seem larger.  We also don’t stick to the design rules — if it feels good and makes you happy — do it! Who cares if the colors don’t go or the periods don’t “mix;” it’s your space and you have to be comfortable in it.

Thanks Jesse and Alastair!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

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