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10 Unforgettable Apartments of 2022

Apartments

2022 was the year of incredible apartment tours here at TDF!

From Maxine Wylde’s brilliantly colourful abode, to Fitzroy’s iconic 1930s Cairo Flats, and Brisbane’s modernist Torbreck apartments, we got so many glimpses into just how fabulous apartment living can be!

Here are our top 10 favourite apartment tours from the past twelve months.

5th January, 2023

Caringal Flats was restored back to its original colour scheme by the Owner’s Corporation when it underwent restoration works with guidance from heritage architect, Nigel Lewis. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The Tower Building in Caringal flats consists of six identical apartments. There is only one apartment per floor, which means each space has views in every direction. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Gretel Stent’s apartment is glimpsed through the greenery surrounding the apartment. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Inside Toorak’s Amazing, Coral-Coloured Caringal Flats! 

This late-1940s apartment complex isn’t by the beach in Florida, or in Europe somewhere – it’s hidden away amongst the multimillion-dollar homes of Toorak.

Caringal Flats is an early modernist residential building designed by architect John William Rivett. The complex turns heads as one of Melbourne’s most notable apartment buildings, especially after being recently restored to its original coral colour scheme!

Inside, two young residents and architects – Ben Ellul of Ellul Architecture and Gretel Stent of Manna Architects – have each renovated their identical heritage flats, with two distinctly different outcomes. 

Read the full story here.

The famous staircase of Fitzroy’s Cairo Flats. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

LEFT: Anna Fullerton’s apartment. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. RIGHT: Jennifer Down’s apartment. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli.

A Rare Look Inside Fitzroy’s Iconic 1930s Cairo Flats

One of the city’s best known and most admired early apartment complexes is the 1930s Cairo Flats. Designed almost 90 years ago by architect Acheson Best Overend as 36 ‘bachelor’ apartments (26 studios and 10 with a separate bedroom), this apartment complex is beloved among Melbourne’s architecture community as a prime exemplar of well-designed, medium-density, minimal housing in Australia.

We spent the day capturing the complex and two of its current residents; author Jennifer Down and creative director Anna Fullerton. 

Read the full story here.

1960s Danish teak sideboard from Found Furniture. Paint colour: Dulux Whisper White. Custom reeded glass doors by All Kind Joinery. 1960s Queensland maple armchairs by Vuer Chairs and restored by Found Furniture. 1960s brass light pendant by Torsten Orrling and Hans Agne Jakobsson sourced from Found Furniture. Vintage Bitossi lamp. Samsung The Frame television. Artworks by artists and businesses including: Robyn Killen of Port Stephens Community Art Centre, Selina Kulija of Walkatjara Art, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Michael Matchitt. Hannah Murray, Jean Ballands, WoodCarving Northshore Hawaii, Rosina Peters of Walkatjara Art, Stuart Carrier, Rob Ryan, Valerie Brumby of Walkatjara Art, World Famous Crochet Museum, Marian Cox, Ryan Presley, and Doreen Shaw. Flooring by Cork Interiors. Photography – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Torbreck’s garden block outdoor tiling has recently been restored under heritage regulations. Photography – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Mat Williams purchased a smaller Torbreck apartment back in 2009 before recently upgrading to this larger place with his partner Steph Cooper. Photography – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Life In Torbreck: Brisbane’s Landmark Modernist Apartment Building 

Around 1.3 million Australians live in an apartment, and yet it’s rare to hear of a building with a genuinely close knit community of residents. 

When we asked Torbreck apartment owners Mat Williams and Steph Cooper (whose home we featured individually in May) if they knew any neighbours we could also visit for a story, we were delighted to learn of several residents with a shared appreciation of their landmark 1958-1960 building. ‘You’ll be spoilt for choice,’ Steph told us… They weren’t wrong!

We spent the day touring the significant mid-century building, including three apartments respectively owned by a group of friends known as the ‘Torbreck lovers.’ Each of the apartments has been sympathetically renovated over time, without detracting from the original vision of Torbreck architects Aubrey Job and Robert Froud.

Read the full story here

The footbridge above the famous pool at Beverley Hills in South Yarra. Photo – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Leigh Ellwood‘s Beverley Hills apartment. Photo – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The staircases balustrades surrounding the lightwell at the centre of the rear building. Photo – Armelle Habib

Inside South Yarra’s Magical 1930s Beverley Hills Apartments

We’ve long been fascinated by this Spanish Mission-style walkup in South Yarra, with its ornate balustrades, leadlight windows, generous communal spaces, and tropical landscaping set around a central pool.

The architecture by Howard R Lawson showcases influences of Hollywood in its glamour and mystery, and Sydney’s early apartment buildings in its format and landscape, but is grounded in its specific 1930s Melbourne context.

We joined three current Beverley Hills residents Heather Nette King, Leigh Ellwood, and Bailey Jones, for a tour of their homes and the complex’s magical grounds. 

Read the full story here.

Armchair from Tessa Furniture. Built-in sofa with custom-made sofa cushions. Custom plywood shelving by Like Butter. Coffee table made by homeowner Hannah McNeill. 1970s Yamaha audio equipment. Encel amplifier.  Black and white vase by Patrick Dagg. Cream ceramic building block set by Oh Hey Grace. The Frame TV by SamsungPhotography – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Hannah and Lauren had to enlist the help of removalists to get their tall ficus tree indoors. Photography – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Alessi kettle. Mauviel copper pot lids. Gewurzhaus spice jars, storage jars and butter dish. Assorted glassware from Riedel, Krosno, Fazeek, and Hay. Daisy mugs by Takeawei Ceramics. Marimekko tea towel and oven mitt. Photography – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

A Very ‘Melbourne’ Warehouse Renovation In Fitzroy’s Former Chocolate Factory

The former MacRobertson’s confectionery factory comprises some of Fitzroy’s most prominent historical residential architecture. The complex stems back to the 1880s, eventually occupying multiple buildings in the area, most of which are still standing today as converted warehouse apartments.

Lauren Bruce and Hannah McNeill bought one of these apartments in 2020 with hopes of renovating down the track, only a flood fast tracked their plans! In repairing the damage, they were able to open up the ground floor of the apartment for improved flow and natural light, while introducing warm materials that offset the industrial features of the building.

The result is full of colour and character — a perfect reflection of the couple and their dog Rosie!

Read the full story here.

‘As we began to experiment with colour we became more confident using it and that flowed into our interior as well! We’ve now fully embraced colour and treat our home as an art playground.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Matt Moss (left) and Josh Jessup (right) with their dog Louis. Vintage Artifort Cleopatra Chaise Lounge, reupholstered in Kvadrat Sprinkles fabric by Upholstery Direct. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Cappellini Cloud bookshelf. Ligne Roset Togo sofas in Goya Red Alcantara fabric. Sheepskin beanbags from Huxford Grove. Vintage Foscarini lamp purchased off Etsy. Lego Porsche 911. Various pieces of art from vintage stores, Nick ThommDrool, and created by Josh and Matt. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Josh & Matt’s TikTok Famous Melbourne Apartment

Josh Jessup and Matt Moss aka @joshandmattdesign move quickly. Since we first featured the TikTok-famous couple’s Melbourne home mid last year, they’ve moved into a larger apartment in the Eureka Tower, which we were lucky enough to capture before their biggest move yet (more on that below!)

With their wacky thrifted finds, statement vintage furniture pieces, and seemingly endless Facebook Marketplace discoveries, it’s not hard to see why Josh and Matt’s place is one of the most talked about on the internet. Every inch of their property features something new to be discovered, from a floor lamp made from a real tree, to a giant paintbrush, and their own art creations!

Read the full story here

Inside Maxine’s dreamy apartment! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial Styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Christina Karras

Maxine had the purple velvet dining chairs custom designed by Dowel Jones. The striking dining table is also a custom design by Chair Boi. Rug by Fenton & Fenton. Vase from The Pot Project. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial Styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Christina Karras

 

The walls are lined with shelving for her extensive collection of shoes, bags, sunglasses and clothes. Curtains and wardrobe from Ikea. Emerald Green lamp/acrylic plinth by Studio Lixx. Mustard chair from Mood Objects. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial Styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Christina Karras

Influencer Maxine Wylde’s Playful Melbourne Apartment

So much has changed in the life of Melbourne content creator and influencer Maxine Wylde over the past three years. Since starting her fashion and style Instagram account in 2019, the 26-year-old has amassed 373,000 followers, with another 153,000 on TikTok, and she’s also bought her first home!

Maxine has spent countless hours sourcing distinctive furniture and decor for her new apartment, including many pieces made by up-and-coming local makers. Her colourful wardrobe is also proudly on display, serving as its own interior feature!

Read the full story here.

This Sunny, Yellow Building Is One Of Melbourne’s Most Revolutionary Apartments

If you’re a local to Melbourne’s north, you’ve probably spotted the bright, yellow features of the ParkLife apartments in Brunswick.

But the intrigue behind the Austin Maynard Architects-designed and developed building goes beyond its beautiful design. The complex is one of the recently completed buildings built under the Nightingale Housing model – a non-for-profit housing provider creating residential buildings under a model that prioritises sustainability, affordability, and community.

ParkLife is also one of Australia’s most sustainable apartment buildings, complete with shared vegetable gardens and an open-air rooftop that helps bring the community together. All the residents had to enter a ballot just to be offered the chance to buy their apartment – which is part of what makes living there so special.

Read the full story here. 

Large artwork ‘Untitled #3’ by Antonia Sellbach. Other artworks; ‘Untitled #18’ by Sean Bailey and ‘The Right Time’ by Newell Barrett. Custom sofa from Grazia & Co. Custom coffee table by Cameron Green. Tempo side table by Zanotta from Smith Street Bazaar. Ottoman from Grazia & Co. Walter Antonis SZ14 armchair from Modern Times. USM cabinet from Anibou. Rug from Halcyon Lake. Photo – Lillie Thompson

Large artwork ‘Untitled #3’ by Antonia Sellbach. Other artworks; ‘Untitled #18’ by Sean Bailey and ‘The Right Time’ by Newell Barrett. Custom sofa from Grazia & Co. Custom coffee table by Cameron Green. Tempo side table by Zanotta from Smith Street Bazaar. Ottoman from Grazia & Co. Walter Antonis SZ14 armchair from Modern Times. USM cabinet from Anibou. Rug from Halcyon Lake. Photo – Lillie Thompson

Rug from Halcyon Lake. Custom table. Photo – Lillie Thompson

An Art Director’s Effortless Apartment In A Former Spinning Mill

After initially being overwhelmed with the size of her former warehouse-turned apartment space, Marsha Golemac quickly came to the realisation that less is indeed more. Allowing the features of the apartment (enormous bay windows, textured walls and an abundance of natural light) to do most of the work, custom furniture and objects collected over the years simply add the final flourish!

Marsha’s light-filled abode is a lesson in how to fill a large space – or rather, how not to.

Read the full story here

Photograph by Natalie Karpushenko. Photography – Amelia Stanwix

How This First-Time Renovator Transformed Her Pint-Sized Melbourne Apartment

This 1970s Alphington, Melbourne apartment had great bones just brimming with potential… all it needed was a new owner to bring the space to life. 

That owner was academic Laura Schuijers — a first-time renovator who designed and project managed the apartment’s recent transformation, creating an enviable home with custom-made plywood cabinetry, a hand-built bath, and clever storage solutions.

Laura really thought of EVERYTHING in her apartment renovation, from a tailored lighting scheme down to hidden space to store her rock climbing gear (!) in the 34 square metre home. 

Read the full story here.

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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