A Former Basement Transformed Into A Light-Filled One-Bedroom Suite

‘Bright’ and ‘airy’ are two words thrown around a lot in the interior design world, but Studio Barbara‘s transformation of this Sydney home’s dark lower level into a light-filled one-bedroom suite, offers both in spades.

The brief was to incorporate smart storage solutions throughout to avoid clutter and enable a sense of calm and quiet, with an open connection to the garden for the owners’ university-aged daughter – and well, mission accomplished! Take a closer look below.

Christina Karras

Aptly called the Garden Suite Project, this Studio Barbara renovation offers plenty of views into the tranquil backyard. Photo – Dimitri Tricolas. Styling – Studio Barbara

Even the kitchen window opens to the little oasis! Photo – Dimitri Tricolas. Styling – Studio Barbara

A neutral colour palette, tonal finishes and drawing in natural light all help to create the airy and calm sanctuary. Photo – Dimitri Tricolas. Styling – Studio Barbara

‘From the project’s inception, drawing from the Japanese aesthetic of minimalism and functionality was important in consideration of joinery detailing and the interior architecture,’ Studio Barbra co-director Ben Selke says. Photo – Dimitri Tricolas. Styling – Studio Barbara

‘Although minimalist by nature, the client wanted a space which could be the tonal backdrop for furniture and objects expressing her eccentric personality,’ Ben says. Photo – Dimitri Tricolas. Styling – Studio Barbara

A look at the clever internal window niche tucked between the living spaces, which allows for a peek into the next room. Photo – Dimitri Tricolas. Styling – Studio Barbara

Timber finishes bring a sense of warmth throughout. Photo – Dimitri Tricolas. Styling – Studio Barbara

Thoughtful design details. Photo – Dimitri Tricolas. Styling – Studio Barbara

Having spent some time in Japan, the client had a very minimal approach to living, leaning towards uncluttered surfaces and closed storage. Photo – Dimitri Tricolas. Styling – Studio Barbara

Christina Karras
29th of March 2022

Travels to Japan inspired the renovation of the lower-level of this Sydney pad into a beautiful one-bedroom suite. Having spent some time there, the owner fell in love with the minimalistic approach to living, and enlisted Studio Barbara to bring that vision to life.

The resulting redesign involved several internal adjustments to the existing lower level of a family home, transforming a rumpus room and an under-utilised study space, into a bright self-contained one-bedroom suite, for the owners’ university-aged daughter.

Studio Barbara co-director Ben Selke says that one key component of the brief was to ‘provide more separation and privacy, allowing the client’s daughter to study, rest, entertain and host friends away from the rest of the family’. The main objective here was to create a feeling of openness, eliminating the existing dark ‘basement feel’ in this space, and unearth its potential!

Guided by simple design principals and a neutral colour palette, the renewed spaces across this home reflect a subtle Japanese-inspired aesthetic.

Blonde oak timber floors from Nash Timbers replace what was once a dark porcelain tile, while the original dark timber veneer was substituted for a similar pale timber joinery. This soft palette also serves as the perfect tonal backdrop for the home’s curated collection of furniture, with pops of colour throughout.

Another highlight of the project is the double-sided, timber-lined internal window niche between the lounging areas, which incorporates lots of storage, seating as well as a compact study nook, serving both aesthetic and functional purposes.

‘It provides a spot to perch, read a book, work on a puzzle, display or store the eclectic mix of vintage and new objects or to frame glimpses of the garden’ Ben explains.

See more of Studio Barbara’s projects here.

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