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

The Tiny Beachside Apartment That Packs An Architectural Punch

Architecture

It’s hard to imagine that when architect James Garvan and his wife first moved into this 1960s apartment it was dark and cramped, with an inefficient floorplan that drove the couple crazy and hardly any access to those incredible ocean views!

The 62sqm space has been completed by the pair, creating a bright, serene space that maximises every last inch of space, framing the ocean as though it was a piece of art.

22nd October, 2019

The Clovelly Apartment by James Garvan. Limed Marine Plywood joinery. Engineered ‘Hekke’ oak floorboards by Tongue and Groove. Artedomus ‘Argenton’ 6mm porcelain benchtops. Ceramics by Mud. Stools by Thonet. Photo – Katherine Lu.

The Clovelly Apartment by James Garvan. Limed Marine Plywood joinery. Engineered ‘Hekke’ oak floorboards by Tongue and Groove. Artedomus ‘Argenton’ 6mm porcelain benchtops. Ceramics by Mud. Photo – Katherine Lu.

The Clovelly Apartment by James Garvan. Limed Marine Plywood joinery. Artedomus ‘Argenton’ 6mm porcelain benchtops. Ceramics by Mud. Photo – Katherine Lu. Photo – Katherine Lu.

The Clovelly Apartment by James Garvan. Limed Marine Plywood joinery. Engineered ‘Hekke’ oak floorboards by Tongue and Groove. Artedomus ‘Argenton’ 6mm porcelain benchtops. Ceramics by Mud. Dining chairs by Thonet. ‘Nook’ sofa by Jardan. Photo – Katherine Lu.

 

Dining chairs by Thonet. ‘Nook’ sofa by Jardan. Photo – Katherine Lu.

Photo – Katherine Lu.

Dining chairs by Thonet. ‘Nook’ sofa by Jardan. Photo – Katherine Lu. Photo – Katherine Lu.

Photo – Katherine Lu.

Photo – Katherine Lu.

Sally Tabart
Tuesday 22nd October 2019

‘Being your own client is HARD. Suddenly, all your decisiveness goes out of the window!’ – James Garvan.

After living in this 1960s single-bed apartment perched on the Clovelly cliff tops for a few years, architect James Garvan decided to take matters into his own hands. ‘We loved its intense connection to the ocean and landscape, but the internal configuration drove us mad’ he says! James and his partner had already embarked upon some major life milestones in their almost-dream home – they were married in the front yard – but just before the arrival of their first baby, James and his wife gave their seaside gem a complete overhaul, to ensure many more memories to come.

‘Being your own client is HARD’, admits James. ‘Suddenly, all your decisiveness goes out of the window and a simple exercise like choosing a loo-roll holder becomes agonising!’ Despite the challenges (the loo holder being the least of concerns, considering this extensive modification was made to a first-floor unit in a four-storey building!) James has created a serene space to nourish his growing family.

The inspiration and references for this project were born out of its cliff-top context, and the way that the couple like to live; ‘connected to the landscape, socially active and sometimes reclusive.’ In order to completely reconfigure the floorplan, ten of eleven load-bearing walls were removed and replaced with expressed steel beams. These beams are left exposed, a nod to the remnants of the previous floor plan.

A functional joinery wall with a series of ‘secret’ pivoting panels divides the private spaces from the public spaces, and anchors the kitchen/dining/living spaces against the ocean view backdrop. While the bedrooms and bathrooms are immediately adjacent to the living spaces, these panels cleverly conceal any clues of what lies behind – a genius solution for clear zone delineation on a small footprint!

The original 1965 floorplan was a classic reflection of its era – the kitchen was at the back of the house, rooms were small and compartmentalised, and access to the ocean views was limited (can you imagine NOT making the most of these views!?). The new floorplan prioritises the living spaces and creates a strong connection to those spectacular vistas, as well as ample access to natural light.

Limited floorspace in the 62sqm apartment (and the fact that existing windows could not be modified) required some seriously efficient ideas to maximise every inch of space. James incorporated joinery units throughout the home, with every unit either displaying objects or concealing them. An additional layer of personality is brought to the project via the various object displays throughout the home. The central joinery display that nestles between the steel beams overhead not only provides an opportunity to showcase treasured pieces, but softly divides the dining and lounge spaces, without losing connectivity between them.

‘This project was an opportunity to strut my stuff, to create something that embodied my design principles and ambitions,’ tells James. ‘But ultimately, I just wanted a home that intuitively felt good’. And what a triumphant result!

This Week

Creative People

Seven Standout Emerging Creatives of 2021

Discovering talented new creatives is our favourite thing we do – here are the artists, designers and makers who got us talking in 2021.

Stays

The Most Dreamy Getaway Spots Of 2021

From beach shacks on Stradbroke Island to a Blue Mountains weekender that floats among the clouds, these are the hottest holiday spots of la...

Family

Artist Miranda Skoczek On Single Parenting, Smelling The Roses + Spontaneity

Artist Miranda Skoczek shares her multigenerational family life in the Dandenongs with son Harper and aunt Margaret.

Architecture

9 Outrageously Beautiful Australian Coastal Homes

From humble shacks, to architectural masterpieces, these are our favourite beachside homes of 2021!

Tiny Homes

The Most Inspiring Tiny Homes Of 2021

From converted shipping containers to prefabricated dwellings available for purchase, these were our favourite tiny houses of 2021.

On The Market

The Perfect Mid-Century, NSW South Coast Beach House Is For Sale

This mid-century Mollymook Beach house is perfect in its proportions, feel and water views... and it's on the market!
Amelia Barnes
  15 hours ago

News

Ring In The New Year With A Massive DOMO Sale!

DOMO are bringing in the new year with up to 50% off major international brands.
Sponsored

News

Save Soho Rose Farm!

Donate to help save Victoria’s most beautiful field-grown roses, after a devastating hail storm. 

Creative People

Creating Original, Ever-Changing Gardens With Kep Horticulture’s Andy Kepitis

Kep Horticulture founder Andy Kepitis talks how to create dynamic gardens, and his aversion to 'certain' plant palettes!

Studio Visit

The Graduate Designer Pushing The Limits Of Traditional Furniture Design

Brigitte Owers-Buccianti is the designer behind Real Non-Real, an exciting new practice making multi-functional furniture pieces.

Gardens

Heide Museum’s Enchanting New Healing Garden

Heide Museum of Modern Art opens a new healing garden – a therapeutic space to benefit the mind, soul, and body.

Homes

Designer Anna Spiro’s Heavenly Island Home

The celebrated interior designer shares her relaxed yet luxurious Minjerribah/North Stradbroke holiday house.

Homes

The Top Five Apartments Of 2021!

From a tree-top art deco flat filled to an interior designer’s personalised Bondi pad, these are our favourite apartments of the year!

Food

The Tastiest Recipes Of 2021

From savoury galettes to triple tiered vanilla sponges with craem and lemon curd, these are our five most popular recipes of last year.

Food

Julia's Herby Prawn Mayo Sandwiches

Julia Busuttil Nishimura serves up the ultimate summer sanga. YUM!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

Enhancing The Past In Studley Park

Kennedy Nolan gently restore this exceptional 1950s home by Russian-born Australian architect Anatol Kagan.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

Surf's Up In This Manly Apartment!

A home re-configured for beachside living, by McNally Architects & I+D Studio.

Architecture

A New Life For This Dream Deco Apartment

Molecule Studio elegantly renovates a heritage apartment in the 1930s Otway block in Hawthorn.
Miriam McGarry

This Week

Studio Visit

The Graduate Designer Pushing The Limits Of Traditional Furniture Design

Brigitte Owers-Buccianti is the designer behind Real Non-Real, an exciting new practice making multi-functional furniture pieces.

On The Market

The Perfect Mid-Century, NSW South Coast Beach House Is For Sale

This mid-century Mollymook Beach house is perfect in its proportions, feel and water views... and it's on the market!
Amelia Barnes
  15 hours ago

Tiny Homes

The Most Inspiring Tiny Homes Of 2021

From converted shipping containers to prefabricated dwellings available for purchase, these were our favourite tiny houses of 2021.

Stays

The Most Dreamy Getaway Spots Of 2021

From beach shacks on Stradbroke Island to a Blue Mountains weekender that floats among the clouds, these are the hottest holiday spots of la...

Creative People

Seven Standout Emerging Creatives of 2021

Discovering talented new creatives is our favourite thing we do – here are the artists, designers and makers who got us talking in 2021.

News

Ring In The New Year With A Massive DOMO Sale!

DOMO are bringing in the new year with up to 50% off major international brands.
Sponsored

News

Save Soho Rose Farm!

Donate to help save Victoria’s most beautiful field-grown roses, after a devastating hail storm. 

Homes

Designer Anna Spiro’s Heavenly Island Home

The celebrated interior designer shares her relaxed yet luxurious Minjerribah/North Stradbroke holiday house.

Food

Julia's Herby Prawn Mayo Sandwiches

Julia Busuttil Nishimura serves up the ultimate summer sanga. YUM!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Homes

The Top Five Apartments Of 2021!

From a tree-top art deco flat filled to an interior designer’s personalised Bondi pad, these are our favourite apartments of the year!

Architecture

9 Outrageously Beautiful Australian Coastal Homes

From humble shacks, to architectural masterpieces, these are our favourite beachside homes of 2021!

Gardens

Heide Museum’s Enchanting New Healing Garden

Heide Museum of Modern Art opens a new healing garden – a therapeutic space to benefit the mind, soul, and body.

Food

The Tastiest Recipes Of 2021

From savoury galettes to triple tiered vanilla sponges with craem and lemon curd, these are our five most popular recipes of last year.

Creative People

Creating Original, Ever-Changing Gardens With Kep Horticulture’s Andy Kepitis

Kep Horticulture founder Andy Kepitis talks how to create dynamic gardens, and his aversion to 'certain' plant palettes!

Family

Artist Miranda Skoczek On Single Parenting, Smelling The Roses + Spontaneity

Artist Miranda Skoczek shares her multigenerational family life in the Dandenongs with son Harper and aunt Margaret.

Similar Stories

Architecture

Enhancing The Past In Studley Park

Kennedy Nolan gently restore an exceptional 1950s home by Anatol Kagan.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

Surf's Up In This Manly Apartment!

A home re-configured for beachside living, by McNally Architects & I+D Studio.

Architecture

A New Life For This Dream Deco Apartment

Molecule Studio elegantly renovates a heritage apartment in the 1930s Otway block in Hawthorn.
Miriam McGarry

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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.