This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

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!

This Week

Studio Visit

Shannon Garson's Exquisite Hand Painted Porcelain

A studio visit with celebrated Sunshine Coast ceramicist, Shannon Garson.
Jo Hoban

Modernist Australia

A Secret Modernist Stunner For Sale On Sydney's North Shore

After cherishing this unbelievable home for over 45 years, the current owners are ready to hand over the keys to a considerate new custodian...
Patricia Callan

Homes

The Rainbow Rental

Kitiya Palaskas shares her Pascoe Vale rental, filled with art, plants, textiles and life!

Join The Conversation On Designing A Sustainable Future

Lucy hosts a dynamic panel discussion with three local leaders (and ladies!) in sustainable design – Join us!
Miriam McGarry

Art

Flock To The New Exhibition From ‘Bird Nerd’ Leila Jeffreys!

The photographer shares her upcoming show ‘High Society’ opening October 16th at the Olsen Gallery, Woollahra.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

The Perfect Red Hill Retreat

Templeton Architecture connect a collection of buildings on a rural site into a contemporary country dream home.
Miriam McGarry

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Seasonal Flavours: Strawberries

Strawberries are back in season, and Julia shows us how to make the most of them, baked in a strawberry galette!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

News

Billie Justice Thomson Presents Human-Sized Paintings in ‘Big Show’

A show of epic proportions (literally) by Billie Justice Thomson at Modern Times!
Amelia Barnes

News

Your Chance To Step Inside Tasmania’s Most Iconic Buildings + Homes!

Over 70 buildings in and around Hobart will be open to the public across November 9th-10th!
Sponsored

Interiors

A New Standard In Architectural And Interior Hardware

Linear Standard is a sleek new range of door handles and hardware, designed in Melbourne.
Miriam McGarry

Art

Muted, Geometric Paintings by Bec Smith

An exhibition of subdued and stunning paintings by Melbourne artist Bec Smith opens tonight at Saint Cloche gallery in Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

News

Australia’s Largest Celebration Of Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Art

The Tarnanthi Festival returns in 2019 at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
Sponsored

Photography

Celebrating 10 Years Of Photography With Broadsheet Editions

A new collection of framed photographic prints, from Broadsheet's stable of stellar local photographers.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Anna Schwartz, Gallerist

Passions for art, food and culture intertwine, in the daily routine of this inimitable Melbourne icon. 

Interiors

These Are Officially The BEST Rooms In Australia!

Australian House and Garden's celebrate their Top 50 Rooms for 2019.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

An Art Deco Nest In Inner Sydney

Retallack Thompson create a new feeling of space in a small-footprint apartment in Potts Point, above Challis Avenue restaurants.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Sydney Renovation With Serious WOW Factor

A grand Mediterranean villa in Bellevue Hill, reimagined by Luigi Rosselli Architects.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Home Designed For Introverts

Breathe Architecture create a 'restorative fortress' home for two introverts in Surry Hills, Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

This Week

Homes

The Rainbow Rental

Kitiya Palaskas shares her Pascoe Vale rental, filled with art, plants, textiles and life!

News

Your Chance To Step Inside Tasmania’s Most Iconic Buildings + Homes!

Over 70 buildings in and around Hobart will be open to the public across November 9th-10th!
Sponsored

Join The Conversation On Designing A Sustainable Future

Lucy hosts a dynamic panel discussion with three local leaders (and ladies!) in sustainable design – Join us!
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

The Perfect Red Hill Retreat

Templeton Architecture connect a collection of buildings on a rural site into a contemporary country dream home.
Miriam McGarry

Modernist Australia

A Secret Modernist Stunner For Sale On Sydney's North Shore

After cherishing this unbelievable home for over 45 years, the current owners are ready to hand over the keys to a considerate new custodian...
Patricia Callan

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Anna Schwartz, Gallerist

Passions for art, food and culture intertwine, in the daily routine of this inimitable Melbourne icon. 

Art

Flock To The New Exhibition From ‘Bird Nerd’ Leila Jeffreys!

The photographer shares her upcoming show ‘High Society’ opening October 16th at the Olsen Gallery, Woollahra.
Miriam McGarry

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Seasonal Flavours: Strawberries

Strawberries are back in season, and Julia shows us how to make the most of them, baked in a strawberry galette!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Photography

Celebrating 10 Years Of Photography With Broadsheet Editions

A new collection of framed photographic prints, from Broadsheet's stable of stellar local photographers.

Studio Visit

Shannon Garson's Exquisite Hand Painted Porcelain

A studio visit with celebrated Sunshine Coast ceramicist, Shannon Garson.
Jo Hoban

Art

Muted, Geometric Paintings by Bec Smith

An exhibition of subdued and stunning paintings by Melbourne artist Bec Smith opens tonight at Saint Cloche gallery in Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

Interiors

A New Standard In Architectural And Interior Hardware

Linear Standard is a sleek new range of door handles and hardware, designed in Melbourne.
Miriam McGarry

Interiors

These Are Officially The BEST Rooms In Australia!

Australian House and Garden's celebrate their Top 50 Rooms for 2019.

News

Australia’s Largest Celebration Of Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Art

The Tarnanthi Festival returns in 2019 at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
Sponsored

News

Billie Justice Thomson Presents Human-Sized Paintings in ‘Big Show’

A show of epic proportions (literally) by Billie Justice Thomson at Modern Times!
Amelia Barnes

Similar Stories

Architecture

An Art Deco Nest In Inner Sydney

Retallack Thompson create a new feeling of space in a small-footprint apartment in Potts Point.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Sydney Renovation With Serious WOW Factor

A grand Mediterranean villa in Bellevue Hill, reimagined by Luigi Rosselli Architects.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Home Designed For Introverts

Breathe Architecture create a 'restorative fortress' home for two introverts in Surry Hills, Sydney.
Miriam McGarry