The 10 Most Memorable Apartments We Visited In 2023

It’s no secret that we love apartments here at TDF. We’re always inspired by how clever owners make the most of their (more often than not) compact spaces, and we love to hear the many reasons why apartment living is just so good.

Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most memorable apartments we saw in 2023 (including a Drag Queen’s Sydney abode, the 100-year-old Temple Court apartments, and the Fitzroy chocolate factory!)

Lucy Feagins

Lovelight curtains. Globewest Felix Pebble Modular Sofa. SBW Halo Chair. Olivia Bossy Trading Lounge Armchair. Vintage table and monstera from Tom’s grandfather. Wall shelf unit from Smith Street Bazaar. Lightly rug. Curio Practice blanket. Quarez Saint Denis 98 print from Letitia Morris. Photo – Tom Ross

Globewest Felix Pebble Modular Sofa. SBW Halo Chair. Vintage table and monstera from Tom’s grandfather. Wall shelf unit from Smith Street Bazaar. Lightly rug. Photo – Tom Ross

Lamp No. 0122 by Olivia Bossy. Steel-painted Dulux Apricot Fizz. Photo – Tom Ross

Photographer Tom Ross’ Peachy Melbourne Family Apartment

Tom Ross previously lived in a Cairo apartment (one of Melbourne’s outstanding examples of medium-density small housing, designed in the 1930s) so he knows how good design can optimise a compact space.

The photographer and his wife Emily Shields purchased this 1960s apartment in Kew as their future young family home.

Subsequent renovations designed by Architecture Architecture value the same ‘quality over quantity’ approach as Cairo. Two load bearing walls were removed, in favour of an open (peach-coloured) steel frame, allowing light to stream into the living space and kitchen via eight-metres of north-facing glass.

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Getting the 1950s Vittorio Dassi sideboard into the apartment required cutting it in half! Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Eve Wilson

Doria light. Cheetah artwork by Reginald Baxter. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Eve Wilson

Stephen Ormandy painting. Lucite pedestal bought from Ferretti e Guerrini Antichita’ Srl in Rome. Dinosaur Designs vase. Walls painted Porter’s Paints Kuchinashi and Majolica Half. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Eve Wilson

An Early 2000s Melbourne Apartment Turned ‘Piccolo Palazzo’

Eryca Green says buying her Carlton apartment was ‘never a case of love at first sight.’ With its all-white walls and grey carpet, the circa 2001 apartment was a far cry from the established and eclectic homes she’d previously lived in, but the price was right, and Eryca had a vision.

Almost two years later, the apartment is unrecognisable. Working with Julia Cox of jcHQ, Eryca has designed a home that feels rich in history featuring vintage furniture, coloured walls, and beloved art.

Eryca has created ‘a room of one’s own’ — an always warm, light-filled, and decorative sanctuary away from the busy world outside.

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Her open plan lounge looks out onto the balcony. Photography – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Alischa Ross’ apartment in Temple Court. Artworks left to right: Alischa Ross, Rupa Paul, Andrew Bartosz, Stephen McCarthy, Andrzej Janczewski, Peter Walsh and Christophe Stibio. Mid-century G Pan table circa 1950’s. Late 1800’s French dresser. Photography – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The kitchen! Bar stools by Thonet. ‘The blue tap is the most commented-on feature of the house, but it’s actually just a Bunnings tap I had powder-coated blue,’ says Dean. Photography – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Inside Matt and Dean’s apartment. Couch and blanket from Jardan. Artworks by Joshua Smith, Meg Walter, Olivia York and Eddie Perfect. Walls painted in Dulux Warm White. Photography – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Inside A 100-Year-Old Apartment Building, In The Heart Of Melbourne’s CBD

If you look around the streets of Paris, New York, Barcelona, or Rome, you’ll find apartment buildings rich with history on every second corner. It’s more of a rarity in Australia, but residents of the heritage Temple Court apartments think they’ve found something just as special right here in Melbourne.

The elegant 1920s building is located on the iconic Collins Street strip, amongst some of the city’s best restaurants, shops and oldest buildings. It’s lived many lives across its 100-year-old history, serving as one of the earliest office complexes, before being converted into apartments in 2001.

We visited two of the building’s recently renovated apartments to hear what it’s like living in the heart of the city!

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FLOAT 3-piece modular sofa in Avalon Piccolo Velvet by SARAH ELLISON. Boucle Cushions by Hommey. Curtains by DrapeCo. Piscina Coffee Table in Cosmos Marble by SARAH ELLISON. Candles by FAUM. TV unit by Bludot. Arch Leather Dining Chair in Gibson Tan by SARAH ELLISON. Mural by Kim Leutwyler. Table Lamp by Studio Henry Wilson. Photo – Jessie Prince

Custom-made banquette by Alpha ModernArch Leather Dining Chair in Gibson Tan by SARAH ELLISON. Hand-blown glass pendant and wall scones by ADesignStudio in collaboration with SARAH ELLISON. Small pink artwork by Rick Carlino. Artwork by Dylan Mooney. LO Seed Coaster Set in Brass by Dinosaur Designs.

Huggy Velvet Armchair in Malibu Dune, Earth Desk in Walnut and Arch Leather Dining Chair in Gibson Tan by SARAH ELLISON. Rug by Missa Mara. Photo – Jessie Prince

Inside Drag Queen Courtney Act’s ‘Periwinkle Palace’ In Sydney!

Courtney Act’s Sydney apartment is eclectic, colourful, and larger than life — much like Courtney herself!

Last year, the iconic drag queen and performer moved back to Australia and into her first home. At that time, the apartment was a simple series of empty white spaces, like ‘a mother of pearl box’, with a beautiful view of nearby Bondi Beach and headlands.

Now, after a fabulous revamp in collaboration with Sarah Ellison, Courtney describes the completed apartment as her own tongue-in-cheek take on the traditional ‘bachelor pad’. We can’t get enough of it!

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‘One of the reasons why we chose this apartment layout in particular was because it had this big island bench. We love being about to cook whilst looking out to the incredible view through the glass doors. It’s a great entertainers’ kitchen!’ Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Amelia Stanwix

Rug from Turkey. Togo Fireside Chair from Domo. Various ceramics on the shelves fro The Good Plate, Benna Co and Arcadia Scott. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Amelia Stanwix

Painting by Valda Rubio. Brass vase by legend Anna Varandorff / ACV Studio. Blue vase by Iittala. Soap Club on the sink. Two ceramic vessels by Simone Karras. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Amelia Stanwix

Inside Melbourne’s Unconventional ‘Evergreen’ Apartment Building

In a time where some new apartment builds are prioritising density over design, Nightingale Evergreen is challenging the status quo, with just 27 homes inside the sustainable and leafy complex.

The building was designed and developed by Clare Cousins Architects under the Nightingale Housing model, building socially, financially, and environmentally sustainable homes ‘for people, not for profit’.

True to that statement, Evergreen proves how sometimes less is more, with a minimalistic concrete structure and green accents, leafy balconies, rooftop gardens and shared spaces that have helped create a tight-knit community of residents embracing the best of apartment living, right in the heart of Melbourne’s inner north.

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The timber kitchen was designed by Andrew Simpson. Stools made from Australian blackbutt wood by Southwood Home. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Sarah Hendricks

The inside of the building doesn’t give away the scale of the homes inside! Amel’s apartment hides soaring ceilings and three bedrooms, spread across two levels. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Sarah Hendricks

Artwork from left: Portrait by Celeste Chandler. Portrait by Paula J Hunt. Leather couch from Schotts Emporium. Velvet arm chairs from Lounge Lovers. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Sarah Hendricks

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 Samsung. Photography – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

A Look Inside The Fitzroy Chocolate Factory Turned ‘Old-School’ Apartments!

The former MacRobertson confectionery factory in Fitzroy is one of Melbourne’s most famous — and coveted — historical apartment buildings.

The complex stems back to the 1880s, when the city’s own Willy Wonky-type entrepreneur, Sir Macpherson Robertson, created a village of warehouse buildings, once used to manufacture the first Cherry Ripes and Freddo Frogs, before his business was sold to Cadbury in 1967.

Most of the buildings are still standing today, having been converted into apartments in the late ’90s. Thankfully, the buildings have retained all their original industrial charm, with exposed bricks, timber beams and dreamy inner-city views.

We recently visited three of the very different homes inside this uniquely Melbourne apartment complex!

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Italian vintage mirror by Geoffrey Hatty. Vintage Hans Wegner sofa (Model GE 236/4) and Finnish armchair bought from Gibson’s Auctions, and reupholstered by Martel Upholstery in Kvadrat (‘I got fantastic advice from Martel in Richmond about sympathetic fabrics and chose a Kvadrat wool fabric in a deep turquoise [for the sofa] that has flicks of yellow and green, which is a wonderful calming colour to live with and it changes colour with the light,’ says Izzi). Vintage Hans Wegner coffee table (Model At15) from Angelucci. Vitra Akari Floor Lamp from In Good Company. Muuto Compile Shelving System. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

1970s Kartell Nesting Tables from eBay. Muuto Compile Shelving System. Swan sculptures (2011) by Heather B. Swann. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

Muuto Compile Shelving System. Thonet dining chairs from Leonard Joel. Vintage Danish dining table from AngelucciHAY Rice Paper Lantern. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Sarah Hendriks

A First Home Buyer’s Refined Brunswick ‘Terrace House’

When looking to buy her first property, art director Izzi McGrath was seeking her ‘forever home.’ To Izzi, this meant a well-designed and centrally-located property requiring minimal maintenance.

‘Terrace House’—a multi-residential building developed and designed by Austin Maynard Architects—ticked all these boxes and more. Izzi joined the waiting list for the development, becoming one of 20 purchasers to live in the innovative Brunswick apartment building.

Izzi’s personal styling builds on the enduring architecture of her apartment, with a considered, playful, and ever evolving collection of furniture and collectables showcasing both Japanese and Scandi influences.

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Vintage Ingmar Relling chair. Art left to right: Framed print of Athens by Markobe. Watercolour print by Elliot Beaumont. Small print by Aldus. Blowfly Dreaming by Tracey Ramsey. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Table from Facebook Marketplace. Vintage chairs. Luminous Moon print from Great Frames. Landscape painting by Bob Dodds. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

‘Lemon Punch’ Bloc PUR kitchen flooring from Polyflor. Birch plywood timber cabinetry with figured eucalyptus veneer from Plyco. Hardwax oil timber finish from Wittle Wax. ‘Cloud’ Decoply Benchtop from Plyco. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

A Creative Family Home In A 1960s Northcote Apartment Building

The family home of lighting designer Dimitrios Tsiokaras, his partner Gemma, and their daughter Iris is a light-filled, well-built 1960s apartment in Melbourne’s inner north.

Dimitrios and Gemma purchased the apartment in 2017, and have since built on its solid bones with an owner-designed renovation introducing colour, light and nature.

The compact home provides everything the family requires and more, among a close knit inner-city community!

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Koala sofa. DesignByThem coffee table. Hay lamp and outdoor table. Ikea balcony chair. Custom bookshelf. Artwork: (left) NYC by Kris Andrew Small; (middle) by Jordy van den Nieuwendijk; and (right) by Kris Andrew Small. Nathalie Du Pasquier x HAY cushion. Marimekko cushion. Kris Andrew Small x Adidas shoes. Space Available coasters. Editorial styling – Tess Thyregod. Photo – Alisha Gore


Custom ply cabinets. Artworks: (middle) Ken Done screen print; (top right) Zak Tilley; (middle right) Kris Andrew Small; (bottom right) Kris Andrew Small; (back wall, top right) Nadia Hernandes paper collage; (back wall, bottom right) Flower painting by Micke Lindebergh; (back wall, left); Sebastian Curi screen print. Editorial styling – Tess Thyregod. Photo – Alisha Gore


Kitchen cabinetry painted Dulux Lucea. So Watt plywood handles. Hay toaster. Bubble pots from MoMA Design Store. Flower painting by Micke Lindebergh. Le Creuset bowl. Editorial styling – Tess Thyregod. Photo – Alisha Gore


An Artists’ DIY-Renovated, Scandi-Inspired Sydney Apartment

On the day they moved into their Surry Hills apartment, artists Micke Lindebergh and Kris Andrew Small painted the kitchen cabinets a creamy shade of vibrant blue, setting the tone for the renovations to come.

They’ve been updating the Sydney apartment ever since, inviting more colour into the home through their artwork, furniture, and sneaker collection.

The home combines elements of the couple’s previous homes across Europe, and holidays to Byron Bay!

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Alice Gascoyne and Will Evans live on the fifth floor of Leftfield. Studio HAOS armchair. Nicole Lawrence Studio shelf. Photo – Tom Ross

Ronan Reid and Elissa McMillan’s apartment. Photo – Tom Ross

Materials and features include terrazzo, brass, cork, timber, coloured joinery, and deep kitchen benches. Photo – Tom Ross

Photo – Tom Ross

Life In Leftfield: The New Melbourne Building Raising The Bar Of Apartment Living

Since 2016, Nightingale Housing has been changing the way Australians live and think about property, with a focus on creating well designed, sustainable and community-centred apartment buildings, for those historically locked out of home ownership.

15 buildings across the country have now been completed under the Nightingale model, including Leftfield, designed by acclaimed architects Kennedy Nolan. Leftfield is one of six individually-designed neighbouring buildings located in The Village in Brunswick, Melbourne.

True to Kennedy Nolan’s reputation, Leftfield is a gorgeously-appointed terracotta and red brick building with warmly-detailed interiors.

We joined two young families for a virtual tour of their new Leftfield homes and community.

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