The clients had requested a complete refresh of their three bedroom apartment in East Melbourne, to serve as their primary residence after downsizing from a house in the country. Two of the rooms were designated as separate study rooms that could be flexible guest bedrooms, leaving the open plan living and kitchen as wholly shared spaces.

Project Name: Lacquerwall
Studio Name: WHDA
Project size: 114 m2
Completion date: 2020
Location: East Melbourne, Australia
Photography: Daniel Walker
Year: 2020

Lacquerwall by WHDA - Sheet1
Kitchen ©Daniel Walker

Faced with a contradiction of a lack of natural light, and the desire for privacy from the offices located opposite the west-facing balcony; we replaced the existing plantation shutters with a simple sheer curtain. The conversation then steered towards embracing low light levels with a sombre material palette; a textured canvas for art and curios collected throughout their travels.

Lacquerwall by WHDA - Sheet2
Living Room ©Daniel Walker

A satin black stained veneer wall of scalloped timber planks unfurls from the entry hallway across the dining and living spaces like a lacquerware cabinet, three pivot doors concealing the laundry and storage cupboards and the threshold to the main bedroom (from dark to light a surprise).

Lacquerwall by WHDA - Sheet3
View of bedroom ©Daniel Walker

Coupled with the desire for as much concealed storage space as possible throughout the apartment, the clients also asked for a streamlined reorganization of the living space and kitchen to include an area for meals that could naturally shift between contemplative morning coffees and after dinner drinks with friends. The alcoves for shelves and the kitchen benchtop become a way to give depth to shadows as they wrap around a flower arrangement or book. A more surgical intervention was made to widen the entry hallway to accommodate an art wall and mitigate the ‘dance’ guests have to perform as they enter.


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