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Two Bedrooms Are Better Than Three, In This 1970s Sydney Apartment

Architecture

In a world where everyone is ‘renovating to sell’ and squeezing the maximum number of bedrooms and bathrooms into their homes, it’s refreshing to see a project that’s bucking the trend.

The Courtyard Apartment by Brcar Morony Architecture features a reimagined floor plan, with a new private courtyard entry, and a dining space replacing the previously ‘unusable’ third bedroom. From three bedrooms to two, with more privacy and room to breathe – brilliant!

7th August, 2019

The brief for this project was to transform a dark, ground floor apartment into an open and interconnected series of spaces extending to a private courtyard. Photo – Justin Alexander.

‘We opened all of the doors to 2700mm which brought in a whole lot of extra light,’ says the architect, Natalie Brcar. Photo – Justin Alexander.

The interior aesthetic showcases an understated elegance that doesn’t compete with the family’s impressive art collection or its Rushcutters Bay location. Photo – Justin Alexander.

The biggest challenge for the architects was working with load bearing apartment walls, but overcoming this was undoubtedly the project’s greatest success. Photo – Justin Alexander.

The new floor plan enables the family owners to directly enter their apartment via their private courtyard, therefore not needing to use the building’s common foyer. Photo – Justin Alexander.

The renovated home is far more practical for its young family occupants, with all spaces including the courtyard now on the one even plane. Photo – Justin Alexander.

The kitchen features a restrained use of Carrara marble. Photo – Justin Alexander.

The dining room also includes a study nook that further opens up the living spaces and brings in more light. Photo – Justin Alexander.

The existing popcorn walls were painstakingly sanded back in the bedrooms during renovations. Photo – Justin Alexander.

The new entryway allows the home to feel like a private oasis near the water. Photo – Justin Alexander.

The bathroom materials were kept beautifully simple, clean and light. Photo – Justin Alexander.

Amelia Barnes
Wednesday 7th August 2019

‘We wanted to keep the palette light, contemporary but warm. Whites and oaks with black accents, supplemented with colourful art.’ – Natalie Brcar 

It’s not often you hear of an apartment undergoing structural changes, particularly ones that are going to impact perimeter walls, but Brcar Morony Architecture (BMA) have made this a reality in their Courtyard Apartment. 

When engaged to renovate this 1970s home, BMA first gained approval from the building’s owners corporation and neighbours to change the structural layout. By doing so, they were able to eliminate an existing small third bedroom, and instead introduce a dining area inside the apartment for the first time. 

The biggest challenge for the architects was working with load bearing apartment walls, but overcoming this was undoubtedly the project’s greatest success. The new floor plan enables the clients (a family of three) to directly enter the apartment via their private courtyard, allowing them to bypass the building’s common foyer. 

Because most of the renovation budget was spent on new steel beams to support the floors above and on extending doorway heights, the clients determined key areas of the interiors they would give financial priority to. One of these priorities was the treatment of existing ‘popcorn’ walls, which were painstakingly sanded back in the bedrooms, and drywalled in the living area, resulting in a sleek, streamlined feel.

‘A hierarchy was established with the client from the outset, to spend money on ‘big ticket’ items such as black steel framed door, solid oak parquetry floors, American oak portal frames, but with simpler finishes for the kitchen joinery and bathroom finishes,’ says BMA director Natalie Brcar.  ‘We wanted to keep the palette light, contemporary but warm. Whites and oaks with black accents, supplemented with colourful art.’

The resulting interior aesthetic showcases an understated elegance that perfectly complements the family’s vibrant art collection, and echoes the refined, yet relaxed vibe of the home’s location in harbour-side Rushcutters Bay. It’s also now a far more practical home for its young family occupants, having been levelled out so all spaces including the courtyard are on one even plane. 

The clients now have the rare apartment luxury of a private entryway, along with enough outdoor space for children to play, while the parents watch over with a glass of rosé!

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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