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A free-flowing, open-plan aesthetic has optimised interior space in this penthouse apartment

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Views, location, building entrance and core features all recommend your new apartment – but what about that central services eyesore? Turning a construction negative into a positive may help fully realise your home's potential.

The interior of this newly built penthouse has been transformed by owner and interior designer Lynn Malone to suit her needs and tastes. The original two-bedroom interior had compartmentalised living spaces, bookended by terraces, says Malone.

"We wanted a fluid, open interior designed for relaxing and entertaining. I love cooking, so one important objective was a well-equipped kitchen with all the bells and whistles. This space includes a curved dining island and an integrated laundry. Terrace doors at the end of the living area open the width of the penthouse, allowing the north terrace to become part of the public spaces.

"I knocked down internal walls to achieve a single large master bedroom, with an ensuite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe. All that's left of the original apartment are the terrace doors and exterior marble floor tiles, and the stairwell, though that underwent major alterations."

Situated in the middle of the living area, the immovable stairwell surround presented as a big white box. This element had put other prospective buyers off the unit, but the designer saw the potential for its transformation.

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Malone asked the builder to reduce the size of the box as it was larger than required to accommodate the stairs. Dark-toned joinery was then designed to enclose the space above it, which has been put to practical use, housing appliances, storage and display niches.

With the layout now simplified and more spacious and the stairwell reinvented as feature formwork, the designer then imbued the entire interior with an harmonious aesthetic. Many aspects of the design contribute to this effect.

One of the most dramatic is an absence of interior door frames. Doors are full height and integrated into the joinery, resulting in a seamless transition from room to room. Bathrooms have integrated sliding door systems and hardware for the interior doors to the bedroom and stairway is concealed in the ceiling and floor.

Only minimal door furniture was employed on the joinery and interior doors. A polished chrome finish draws these pieces together.

"All interior walls are now lined with joinery or joinery-clad wall panels finished in white or dark brown-black," says Malone. "Using two gloss levels adds understated textural interest. The ceilings are all in a soft tea, and contrast the two-tone wall treatments."

Other unifying factors include a fine detail introduced in some joinery pieces, with a 3mm horizontal groove in doors and wall panels.

Rich timber floorboards run throughout except for the wet areas – marble floor tiles in similar tones feature in the bedroom ensuite and dark-veined marble tiles the two terraces.

The terraces add greatly to the enjoyment and functionality of the home. The north terrace not only expands the living spaces but provides an alfresco second kitchen and informal dining area. The southern terrace extends the domain of the master bedroom and extensive plantings will give it the look of a garden space.

Lastly, an ever-changing selection of work from Malone's art collection forms a dynamic counterpoint to the restrained decor.

First published date: 12 April 2012

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Credit List

Interior designer Lynn Malone (Potts Point, NSW)
Builder Tim Egan Builders
Kitchen designers Lynn Malone, Stuart Gibson
Kitchen manufacturer Muscat Custom Joinery
Landscape design Scott Williams, Bay Street Gardens (south terrace)
Doors Designed by Lynn Malone, manufactured by Muscat
Door hardware Oiled Bronze levers by Pittella; custom strikers by Dorma
Shutters Plantation shutters in Matt White, made and installed by Luxaflex
Television Loewe
Fire Simplicity from Real Flame
Lighting Superlight LED, halogen recessed ceiling lights
Floor ReadyFlor timber floors with acoustic underlay, supplied and installed by Fred Welsh Floorcoverings
Wall treatments Custom joinery; custom paint by Rachael Devine, Resene; joinery headboard wall inset with Pelle white aniline leather
Audiovisual equipment JFK Audio & Video; Control 4
Area rug Cadrys Rugs
Motorised roof system Vergola with Colorbond finish in Woodland Grey
Furniture Living room, B & B Italia Arnie sofa, B & B Italia Mart chairs from Space Furniture; 20th-century coffee table from Guevara Gallery, Argentina (living room); north terrace, Aero dining table, Stitch dining chairs, stainless steel cabinets; south terrace, Richard Schultz dining table and chairs from Space, upholstered bench from Jordan Cappella collection; bedroom, custom upholstered bed base
Cabinetry Asymmetrical range in polished chrome finish by Frost Design, Denmark, from Nover
Splashback Clear mirror from Frameless Glass and Showers
Kitchen island Custom stainless steel countertop with joinery base
Sink, cooktop, ventilation Smeg