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'The Apartment' by Lynda Gardener

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Some people just have a gift for creating beautiful spaces, and one of those people is Melbourne based designer, decorator and creative entrepreneur Lynda Gardener.

The Apartment’, completed last year, is Lynda’s latest project –  a lovingly decorated one bedroom rental apartment in a grand old 1920s building in St Kilda. This serene space, which Lynda originally purchased more than 16 years ago, channels a distinctly European feel.

5th July, 2017

the living area
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The Apartment, interior designer/decorator Lynda Gardener’s Airbnb in St Kilda.  Above – the living area with couch by Bisque Interiors. Lynda has combined layers of fabrics, textures, cushions, collections and artwork with simple touches of greenery. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Hallway
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The beautiful hallway and front door of Lynda’s third floor apartment. ‘The wonderful thing about old apartments,’ tells Lynda, ‘is the high ceilings and spacious rooms – even the hallway is roomy!’ Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

reading corner
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A cosy reading corner in the lounge room. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Lynda Gardener
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Interior designer and decorator Lynda Gardener in The Apartment, her Airbnb in St Kilda. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

dining table
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The dining table, adorned with more simple collections, overlooking the communal gardens and tree tops. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

gardens
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The home includes communal gardens. ‘I feel so lucky to have the gardens, in the heart of St Kilda, as most large spaces in apartments have been used for parking’ Lynda explains. ‘It’s a totally private and peaceful place to relax away from the busy street’. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

kitchen
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In the kitchen, the amazing 1920s arched windows make a statement, as do the original walls. ‘It is quite original in character, with those walls and floor tiles,’ explains Lynda. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

cupboard
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Peeking into the kitchen from the living area. The cupboard (from HK Living) houses the things Lynda likes to hide, like the TV, and other essentials. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The bedroom
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The bedroom, featuring HK Living rope light. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Textures
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‘I painted the apartment pure white and layered it with simple natural timbers, textured throws and a layering of rugs, it’s very serene and almost has a summery feeling all year round,’ tells Lynda. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

art deco arches
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Symmetrical art deco arches lead to the staircases of the 1920s building. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 5th July 2017

‘I think this apartment was really influenced by my many travels to Amsterdam, and their great aesthetic’.

Having been in the design and styling industry for 35 years now (hard to believe I know!) Lynda Gardener has built a reputation as a supremely talented designer, stylist and creative businesswoman, with a very distinct aesthetic. Though she is ridiculously modest and down to earth, Lynda’s projects and properties are well known, having featured consistently in the media over the past 30 years, both locally and internationally.

We featured Lynda’s Fitzroy home a couple of years ago, but today we’re thrilled to document her latest project – ‘The Apartment’. This serene one bedroom apartment in St Kilda channels a distinctly European feel.

The apartment was, in fact, purchased by Lynda more than 16 years ago, and because she is one seriously savvy businesswoman (a more than a little nostalgic!) she has held onto it all this time.

Part of a charming old 1920s building, miraculously, Lynda’s apartment has needed very little renovation work over the years. ‘Thankfully, the apartment was in perfect original condition, so all my changes have been cosmetic’ Lynda outlines. These have included painting all floors, walls and ceilings in various shades of white (the original walls were all terracotta and the floorboards black).

Shutters were installed on the windows, and new cabinetry doors added to the old kitchen cupboards. Amazingly, the overall layout, sweet tiled flooring and aged walls in the kitchen are all original. ‘It was quite an easy renovation, when the bones are this good…!’ Lynda enthuses!

It was the architecture and style of the building that first attracted Lynda to the property. ‘It totally commands attention as soon as you drive up the street, it’s very striking with wonderful old circular staircases, and it is from a very beautiful era of apartment architecture which I have always adored’ the designer says. ‘The apartment itself is so spacious, with lots of room, which sadly you don’t come across more these days’. Indeed, one visit quickly makes you realise that they really don’t design apartments like they used to.

Of course, Lynda’s intuitive knack for styling has also been a big part of the transformation of this space. Her exquisite collections of old and new artworks, furnishings, cushions, layers of rugs, and beautiful linen lift this sweet abode to the next level. ‘I’m always inspired by Dutch and Nordic spaces that feel fresh, simple, open and not too cluttered’ Lynda muses. ‘I think this apartment was really influenced by my many travels to Amsterdam, and their great aesthetic’.

Having previously leased the home to lovely tenants for many years, Lynda has enjoyed having the opportunity to reclaim and re-energise the home, and transform it in her signature style. It is now part of her stable of boutique accommodation properties – along with  The White House in Daylesford, The Estate Trentham, The White Room in Fitzroy. Each of these properties is available for accommodation, events and photoshoots.

Find The Apartment on AirBnB here.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net