majority of photo credits to bedroom Spencer Parks maekerstudio.com
This small project was a delight. Photos show parts of a cottage which, over a 3 year period we set about remodelling, including dealing with various trades and builders and gaining approvals including a retrospective reinstatement. The remodelling included bedrooms, laundry, new garage, new paint exterior, kitchen, bathroom, new floors, repair to heritage weatherboards, dealing with lath and plaster walls, installing solid timber bookshelves, reinstating a fire place. The old girl got a full new lease of life. I worked from start to finish in a variety of roles, on an ad hoc basis as needed.
The project started out with an urgent need for more bedrooms - so the remodelling of an upstairs zone came first. A 'jewel in the crown' - two delightfully composed and finished kids bedrooms. Essential to creating a treasure in a small space is quality craftsmanship and detailing.
A medium-sized single upstairs open space, with stair void was to be separated into two childrens bedrooms. The clients and I pored over one concept plan after another, and enjoyed the laughs and the process with wine. The rooms were too small no matter which way we looked. The breakthrough came when we looked at the stair void in section and included the volume at a raised height (to allow head clearance to stair below) as a bunk bed. The fitout had to be quirky to follow suit. It had to be custom made, due to the unconventional height and structure. One of my trusty carpenters Louis came and built me some stud walls and a bed frame, put down some bamboo flooring and a handrail to the stair - and lined the soffit to the stairwell in oiled, recycled wandoo (a native Western Australian timber), which the client cleverly offset with a funky dangling oversized globe. We also chose to line the face of the three quarter wall beneath the bunk with oiled, recycled wandoo. In the other bedroom a daybed was built in to the level beneath another more conventional custom made bunk bed to provide both storage and sitting space or extra bed for friends. Again, the client herself cleverly styled the daybed with some custom flat futon cushions. It helps that she is a stylist. The entire project was pushed to a very cool finish with her input and eye.
The reinterpreted-stair-void-cantilevered-bed was crafted to suit the room in ply, three quarters high with a stunning minimalist desk below. This gave more floor space. Spencer Parks from Maeker Studio did a spectacular job with the ply throughout this project which also included in this room a set of classic modern drawers with perfect modernist circular pull holes and a matching tallboy. To the other room, for a girl teen, he built a stylish long desk and shelving combination, and two sweet hanging rails with elegant wall divider to a miniature walk-in-robe.
You must select your craftsman with utter care. Spencer has a capacity to think on the spot, to draw, to communicate, to deliver. To fine-finish well and to know products inside-out, to have a gallery of pictures and physical examples of workmanship. He was able to discuss colour, quality, softness, sheen, edges, joins, cuts, backs, fronts and sides of one piece of material, and to be able to enjoy listening to what I wanted in the space and play with delivering that for the client. He produced a finished product that is practical and exquisite at the same time. The two rooms are a showcase of ply butt joints and mitred joints, faces and cuts, stripy, smooth. A favourite detail in this project is the window surround – a simple fin of ply surrounding the entire rectangle to create a sill and reveal some depth all round – the existing cheap aluminium window had no gravitas - or shading to soften north light. I accentuated modern thinness with a craftsman materiality in timber like a full stop on a sentence. The clients installed white Luxaflex plantation blinds just inside the ply reveal. The contrast between sunny intense white, and stripy ply cut edge is great.