When an interior designer takes the reins of her own renovation, it’s surprising little treasures like a vintage Fender guitar clock that set the tempo for a timeless design.
Publicist and interior designer Lynn Malone spent years in the midst of Sydney’s Potts Point before being drawn to the sun, sand and surf of Queensland’s Glitter Strip.
She was drawn to The Inlet on Main Beach, a high-rise completed in 1991, buying 7A/24 Breaker Street in 2017.
“When I move into a new neighbourhood I am always on the lookout for those properties with a reputation as one of the best,” Ms Malone told The Sunday-Mail.
“It’s a 33-level high-rise apartment building completed in the early 1990s where the developer spared no expense in its build. There are only three apartments per level, and each apartment is over 210sq m which is gigantic compared to my apartment in Sydney’s Potts Point.”
She and wife Donna Eiby — founder of online training portal Future Work Skills Academy — picked a north-facing one that had floor-to-ceiling glass walls, high ceilings and an open plan.
It was “topped by 180-degree postcard ocean, sunrise and sunset views as a gift with purchase”, Ms Malone said.
“The apartment was due for a complete makeover, and that’s what I did. Given the generously proportioned and open plan living areas, the kitchen was relatively small and was not conducive to entertaining and cooking for friends and family. That’s what I love to do, so the kitchen was my first target.”
“My favourite is the gourmet island for a work top surface, pullout pantry drawers, and casual dining. Running in close competition, is the Billi water dispenser with hot, cold and sparkling water which is one step toward reducing the use of plastic.”
Her next target was the bathrooms which were “monopolised by large bathtubs which took up too much space for the value added”.
“Out with the bathtubs, tiny showers and bulky vanities to make way for double-size rain showers, toilets with concealed cisterns, and cantilevered vanities to optimise the space and its functionality.”
Third on her reno list was the floor. “There were seven different types of floor coverings throughout the apartment. To simplify, I chose a timber-style floorboard for most spaces transitioned by carpeted bedrooms and floor tiles in the bathrooms.”
Almost everything in the apartment was upgraded or replaced in the end, with new technology put in though the design was decidedly focused on being “timeless”.
“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right, as the saying goes. The renovation cost was approximately $200,000 in addition to my time and expertise as an interior designer and to co-ordinate the project,” she said.
It took six months to complete with the only extra cost coming in the form of “infrastructure preparation as opposed a budget blowout due to changes in the project scope”.
“As example, the concrete slab floors were unlevel, so this was rectified by pouring over two tonnes of concrete mix which ensured the timber floor planks were installed under optimal conditions.”
The couple’s contemporary art collection including that vintage Fender Guitar neon clock were the inspiration for a “neutral backdrop”.
“Neutral does not necessarily equate to dull,” Ms Malone said. “The aesthetics of most art galleries are purposed to showcase art — my design aesthetic is similarly influenced.”
The property is on the market with Queensland Sotheby’s International Realty agent Mashelle Jones for $1.25 million.
Ms Malone’s advice for anyone looking to renovate older units was to “look for those hidden gems and don’t be too quick to throw out the old”.
“One pleasant surprise was the top-quality products installed by the original developer,” Ms Malone said. “The polished chrome door levers installed on the interior doors — the quality was exceptional; however, after years of use the polished chrome finish was tarnished and pitted. I had the door levers restored for their second life which was a minimal expense compared to purchasing replacements.”
As well, she said, it was important to consider the acoustics of the apartment.
“Many older buildings initially had carpet floor coverings with an underlay. Given renovators these days favour timber and tile floors, most apartment buildings have set an acoustical standard intended to minimise the transfer of noise. Research and due diligence are imperative to select a hard surface floor not only for its visual attributes but for its acoustic properties as well.”
Ms Malone was very pleased with the finish: “The apartment is fabulous and exceeds all expectations — it’s a great place to call home with a superb location and lifestyle — within minutes you can be swimming in the ocean, beach walking or having breakfast at one of Main Beach’s cafes”.
Ms Malone said work was now calling both her and Donna overseas.
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