This bachelor pad makeover ticks all the boxes, thanks to the owner’s interior designer friend.
Who lives here: Steven Reid, a creative director.
Style of home: A modern two-bedroom apartment in Manly, Sydney.
Timeline: The renovation took nine months.
Budget: The cost of a new kitchen and deck, joinery, furniture and appliances came to $75k.
After renting in Manly for years, first-time homeowner Steven Reid couldn’t wait to put down roots. He had spent more than two years scouring Sydney’s Northern Beaches market before finding a run-down two-bedroom apartment in Queenscliff.
Despite its shortcomings, Steven saw potential in the light-filled living area and spacious ivy-covered deck. He instantly knew it could be something special.
After coming out on top at auction, Steven knew he needed a strong style vision, which brought him to enlist the services of interior designer and friend Jillian Dinkel.
Steven, why did you engage an interior designer? I had ideas about how I wanted the space to feel, but wasn’t able to translate that into reality on my own. I especially needed help maximising the space and the storage potential in the apartment. I wanted a dramatic transformation of what was a badly executed and planned unit into something special that I could be proud of. I’m drawn to natural materials, such as leather, stone and wood, so incorporating these elements in the apartment was a non-negotiable.
Entry A Middle Of Nowhere mirror above a rustic bench from Stone Pony reflects the kitchen in Steven’s updated home.
Jillian: With only 70 square metres of internal space, the unit was small with almost no storage – and the storage that did exist was impractical and unattractive. My priority was to make smart choices to maximise the function of the space with the budget we had.
Dining area The vintage dining setting of leather-and-chrome chairs with a military-style table is softened by a pair of sheepskin throws from Sourceress The Store. Reclaimed timber shelves fit neatly into the wall nook, allowing Steven to curate vignettes with artworks. Simple yet shapely wall sconces by Cedar & Moss highlight the art of display demonstrated by Steven below, which gives the space instant character. Artwork: The Sicilian by Harold Lane, and Untitled by Sarah Wright.
Jillian, in Steven’s words the kitchen was “so ugly!” What was your game plan for addressing the space? I wanted a minimal yet bold look. The kitchen is the first thing you see when you walk in the door – it had to make a good first impression. The result is a ‘tuxedo kitchen’ with dark lower cabinetry and bright white wall cabinets. We concealed the washing machine and faux-integrated the dishwasher with a face panel to give the space clean lines.
Entry Interior designer Jillian Dinkel steps into a welcoming space, highlighted by a rug from Tigmi Trading. An ABBA: The Movie poster and a Richard Bailey print on the floor showcase the retro sophistication of this home.
Steven: Before the renovation, with all the appliances on display, it was a terrible first look. But I wanted something unique. I needed the kitchen to be a showcase element.
Living area A mix of textures creates interest with a MCM House sofa, a table from Asian Tide and a rug from Love Moroccan Rugs where regular visitor Bruce the French bulldog sits. A Ficus tree brings nature indoors. Photograph by Steven Reid.
Steven, how do you feel about the result? Does the size of the cooking zone feel limiting at all? The kitchen is my favourite room! I’m so glad I spent a little extra money to make it right. It’s as small as a kitchen can be, but I don’t go in there and think, ‘small space, I’m stressed out’. Everything is set out nicely and there’s enough space to work around the cooktop. It’s perfect.
Deck A ponytail palm in a Pop & Scott pot from The Plant Room ties the white-painted deck with the lattice fence.
Jillian: For a small kitchen, there is a lot of storage. Everything can be put away and kept off the benchtop, which is absolutely key for maximising limited workspace!
Entry As soon as you open the front door, this vignette greets you. “The entry table was topped with spare kitchen benchtop material, Quantum Quartz surface in Statuario Quartz,” says interior designer Jillian. The cabinet also features MadeMeasure leather pulls. Photograph by Benny Horne for Vogue Australia.
Steven, storage space is a vital theme with this remodel. What led you to choose an open, exposed wardrobe? The idea of an open closet really appealed to me. I like everything to have its place. At this point in my life, I’ve whittled my belongings down to just the essentials. Minimalism really suits me.
Kitchen Joiner Iain Archer crafted cabinets finished in Dulux Klavier for this cooking zone while the wall cabinets were updated with Anthropologie handles. A window frame painted in black by Steven allows the view to pop.
Jillian: Exposing your wardrobe can be a challenge, so as a safeguard, I included lots of shelf space concealed behind doors, as well as a column of drawers to avoid a cluttered look. All the storage was meticulously planned to accommodate everything Steven has and the way he uses the spaces.
Master bedroom A bed dressed in In Bed linen and topped with a Pony Rider throw brings a hit of colour and comfy texture. The clean lines of the Universo Positivo bedside from GlobeWest tie in neatly with the custom-made wardrobe.
Jillian, the apartment has a killer deck. How important was it to get this space right? The deck had such untapped potential. The existing garden was overgrown and limited the light that could filter through into the apartment, and the seating area was oddly shaped. We did a complete overhaul, and now it is just waiting for Steven to host a housewarming party!
Wardrobe Featuring a mix of closed and open storage, this bespoke solution also features a study nook. Sustainably sourced finger coral from Sourceress the Store.
Lessons learned “Looking back, I wish i’d engaged a landscaper to assess my options,” says Steven. “As the ivy vine was warping and splitting the fence, we had to transplant the roots. Though great care was taken by our joiner, the ivy didn’t survive. It was devastating, as this was one of the first things I fell in love with on the property.”
Deck Cowhide cushions from St. Agni and a side table from West Elm lend luxe style to this stepped deck space, crafted by Sam Ford of SCF Handyman Services. Custom bench cushions in weather-proof Sunbrella ‘Canvas Granite’ fabric provide a soft landing.
Source: Homes To Love