Surf's Up In This Manly Apartment!

Sleek apartment living and sandy beach feet aren’t necessarily a natural pairing. But this Manly apartment, renovated by McNally Architects and I+D Studio,  combines outstanding design with a space to hang a damp wetsuit! 

We chat with interior design director Caroline McNally about renovating within the limitations of an apartment, and turning challenges into design outcomes. 

Lucy Feagins
Supports The Design Files

Looking over glorious Manly beach from the balcony of this renovated apartment by McNally Architects and I+D Studio. Photo – Craig Wall.

Living and dining room details. Koskela dining table. Koksela bench seat. Koskela sling chair. Arturo Alvarez light. Photo – Craig Wall.

The colours and textures are informed by the Manly beaches. The furniture in these images in provided by Koskela. Arturo Alvarez lights. Wendy McDonald artwork. Photo – Craig Wall.

The architects have made the space feel open and light, even with the low apartment ceilings. The furniture in these images in provided by Koskela. Arturo Alvarez lights. Wendy McDonald artwork. Photo – Craig Wall.

A quiet and calm corner. Photo – Craig Wall.

An open plan kitchen space. Photo – Craig Wall.

Refined, yet beachy! Photo – Craig Wall.

Pops of colour in the fresh white bedroom. Artwork by Lisa Rodden. Photo – Craig Wall.

An inviting study nook! Photo – Craig Wall.

Double sink bathroom. Photo – Craig Wall.

The dark tiled bathroom also works as a wet room post surf. Photo – Craig Wall.

Lucy Feagins
14th of August 2019

The owners of this Manly apartment approached McNally Architects and I+D Studio with a brief to update the space. Interior designer Caroline McNally explains how she looked at the surrounding environment and the family’s shared love of surfing to inform the renovation. 

Caroline explains ‘we took our inspiration from the local area, the warm neutral soft tones of the beach and the deep green/blue from the ocean.’ The out-the-window influences bring the feel of a fresh ocean breeze into the home, and create connections with the local environment. 

In addition to aesthetic updates, the architecture and interior design firm cleverly worked within the limited footprint and low ceilings of the apartment to create a new floor plan. Caroline highlights that by ‘removing some internal walls, we were able to achieve a flow through connection to the beach outside.’ This redesign allowed for a new kitchen, study, bedroom joinery, two bathrooms, lounge area and lighting plan. 

Reconfiguring the apartment did present a few challenges though. Caroline highlights ‘often a problem can lead to a design solution that you might not have thought about’ – which was the outcome for a structural column in the kitchen. What could have been an imposing annoyance in the space was instead treated as a design element, through reshaping and tiling. Caroline describes how this gentle approach helped create ‘softer visual lines that carried through to the shape of the bench and desk’, and a sense of visual continuity in repeating the curve. 

Whilst this apartment primarily employs a bright and breezy colour and materials palette, inspired by the view from the apartment, there is one space here with a distinctly moodier vibe. The dark bathroom is designed as a wet room, perfect for a post-surf rinse off, and a place to hang up wetsuits. The best of both worlds!

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