Prior to its recent transformation, this 1960s apartment in a mid-century Glebe, Sydney building featured a ‘tired example of a cheap 90s renovation.’
‘The existing kitchen offered minimal bench space, little connection to the surrounding living spaces, and really restricted the apartment’s liveability, access to views, natural light and ventilation,’ says Ben Selke, co-director of Studio Barbara, who designed the renovation.
Studio Barbara’s aim was to remove these unsympathetic features by drawing inspiration from the original building. ‘The block is a great example of modernist architecture in Sydney, expressing 1960s blonde brick external walls, cantilevering balconies, exposed solid concrete slab structure, and fine steel balustrades,’ Ben says.
In renovating the kitchen, peeling blonde timber laminate joinery and floral splashback tiles were removed in favour of black and white checkerboard lino flooring, textured oak cabinetry, white laminate benchtops with exposed ply edges, and sliding mustard yellow glass doors on the overhead joinery.
‘We were able to lean into the modernist aesthetic and recreate frameless, sliding, glass cabinetry doors which were common in the modernist world,’ explains Ben. ‘We used routed circle finger pulls for each door, and were able to fully conceal the integrated rangehood within the floating joinery, making the kitchen feel more along the lines of a custom furniture piece as opposed to a working space.’
Structurally, internal non-load bearing walls were demolished to open up the previously enclosed kitchen and create an open-plan space.
Throughout the remainder of the apartment, walls were repainted from beige to white, flooring was replaced, and new linen curtains were installed.
Studio Barbara also sourced mid-century furniture to complement the renovation and the client’s existing objects. ‘We were able to take this love further and introduce modernist pieces including the yellow coffee machine, and were able to source mid-century ceramic styling objects and pieces that perch perfectly on the open shelving and above the sliding cabinetry unit,’ says Ben.
Post-renovation, the kitchen sits proudly at the centre of the apartment and serves as an equally vibrant and practical space. Ben says, ‘Through materiality, detailing, textures and form, we have been able to allow the kitchen to sing and really express the client’s personality and taste.’