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A top-floor warehouse apartment gets a clever renovation

A clever architect takes her converted warehouse apartment back to the drawing board for a stunning revamp that maximises space without sacrificing style

Meet and greet

Kate Beilby (architect and owner of Milieu: Architecture + Design) and a friend who went in on the purchase.

Where is the home?

Mt Eden, Auckland.

What did you want to achieve out of your reno?

The apartment was sold as a two-bedroom property, but the second bedroom was really just the size of a walk-in wardrobe, so the main aim was to turn it into a proper two-bedroom apartment.

The existing apartment had the kitchen, living and bathroom on the lower level with the sleeping areas in the mezzanine. The layout was very awkward and space was used inefficiently – for example, there were no wardrobes and very limited storage which you really need for apartment living. After working on various options for the design, it became clear that the only way to get two bedrooms in upstairs would be to lower the mezzanine floor and relocate the stair and kitchen – this added 10 percent extra floor area to the apartment.

What were the biggest hurdles?

As with all renovations, there were some surprises during demolition. For instance, there was a steel truss running through one of the walls, meaning the mezzanine couldn’t be lowered as originally designed. Luckily, this was resolved by having a step down into the bedrooms. I think this is actually an improvement on the original design, particularly in the new bedroom, as it divides the L-shaped room into two areas – the desk and wardrobe are on the higher level, which then steps down to the cosy snug for the bed.

Renovating on the top floor of an old building with no lift also had its challenges, which I’m sure the builders can attest to. They did countless runs up and down the stairs and I’m still amazed that they managed to carry up the heavy plywood staircase in one piece.

Words by: Kristina Rapley. Photography by: Wendy Fenwick.

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