A Furniture Designer's New York-Style Loft Apartment

Sometimes you meet someone, and you can instantly tell what their home will look like. Well, we can anyway! In the case of Melbourne furniture designer Nick McDonald, a sleek, exacting design approach gives an incredibly accurate insight into the aesthetic of the rest of his life!

The Made By Morgen designer and maker takes us on a tour of his precise, light-filled West Melbourne loft apartment. If you squint at the view out the window, and imagine a few more skyscrapers, this could be a Brooklyn film set!

Lucy Feagins
Supported by Dulux

Inside Nick McDonald’s New York-style loft apartment…in West Melbourne! Worn Store leather chair. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The living area. Rock formation drawings by Børge Bredenbekk. AOS-T marble side table. Kristina Dam vase. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Living room details. MBM oak shelving unit. Kerryn Levy ceramics from Still Studio. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The living room. Rock formation drawings by Børge Bredenbekk. AOS-T marble side table. Worn Store leather chair. Cenzo chair in background. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The dining room. Made by Morgen AOD-T table in black stained oak and AOB bench seat with custom upholstery. Menu ‘Afteroom’ chairs. Coco Flip pendant. Tom Blachford print. Vintage leather boxing bag. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Nick and Roscoe the dog! Rock formation drawing by Børge BredenbekkPhoto – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The open-plan kitchen featuring Made by Morgan island bench, Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Made by Morgen AOD-T table in black stained oak. Black Creek MT butcher’s block from Still Studio. Nicolette Johnson ceramics. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The perfect city window nook. Made by Morgen AOS-T marble side table. Hanging garlic from Georgie’s Harvest at South Melbourne Market. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The bedroom, featuring a dream hanging closet situation. Hand-Eye supply tool bag. Commissioned artwork by James Cody-Davis. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Made by Morgen LIL bedside table. Menu Carrie Lamp. IN BED Store linen. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

There is a cinematic quality to Nick McDonald’s house. The fall of the light through the loft-style windows, the precision of the object placement, and the consistency of the style feels almost curated. Not in an artificial way, but rather, it reflects the exactness of Nick’s (aka Made By Morgen) distinctive aesthetic.

Nick moved into this apartment in 2011, and immediately set about incorporating a second bedroom into the space. He explains ‘my budget was pretty limited at the time, so I was lucky to be able to do it all myself.’ Nick put his construction skills to task, renovated the kitchen using form ply, and ‘wrangled some plaster to complete the bedroom.’ He also painted over the exposed timber beams in a fresh white, and also re-did all of the floors.

The West Melbourne apartment is located in the former T.B Guest & Co building, built in 1856. The factory was the home of the original teddy bear biscuits and butternut snaps (who knew West Melbourne was responsible for such important cultural history!) The site was converted into apartments in the late 1980s.

Nick stumbled across the property after eighteen months of trawling through real estate websites and papers, and enthuses ‘when I found this place I knew straight away that I had to have it.’ He acknowledges ‘I was lucky to have a bit of help from the folks.’

The home is (unsurprisingly) filled with Nick’s own pieces, including the island bench, which is one of the first pieces he ever created. The genesis of Made By Morgen can be traced back to this moment, as he describes ‘it was at this time that it kind of dawned on me that I could be practical and creative at the same time.’ As a result, Nick quit his job in construction and launched his own (now highly successful) furniture business.

Nick cites the uninterrupted westerly views and sweeping backdrop of sunsets and storms as the key feature of this home. The New York apartment loft-vibes are palpable, with the double-height windows, and we can’t help dreaming about an alternative Brooklyn life while looking at these pictures!

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