Before and After: Renovated Fresnaye Apartment

WORDS Amelia Brown

Architect Bryce Henderson of TAG Design sensitively modernised this 1930s two-bedroom art deco apartment, turning it into a comfortable home while preserving its heritage.

Bryce’s client was drawn to the apartment’s high ceilings, vast rooms, glimpses of the sea and original parquet floors. “The brief was for an open-plan easy-flow apartment for entertaining large numbers of guests around the dinner table,” says Bryce.

The art deco layout’s generous passageways led to a maze of separate rooms. To create space and flow, Bryce removed key walls and replaced them with I-beams to gain the passage space.

“In order to avoid the I-beams still ‘defining’ the spaces, we dropped the ceiling to just under the beams and instead used varying ceiling heights to delineate the new spaces. The dining room now caters for 10 people with a large, social kitchen island,” explains Bryce. “In opening up the walls and removing the pre-defined barriers, the kitchen tucked away in the back corner now becomes a light-filled, connected space with a surprise sea view when standing behind the hob.”

In the master bedroom, Bryce moved the en-suite, which had been retrofitted into the enclosed balcony causing the bedroom to be dark and disconnected from the sea view, to the back of the bedroom. A custom oak screen by Barq features louvres that allow light in while maintaining privacy. The bedroom now enjoys sea views and a lot more natural light.

“When it came to furnishing the space, the client requested a clean yet warm and accommodating space,” says Bryce. “I chose to keep the furniture palette neutral and bring out colours in artworks and decor elements. The statement piece in the dining room by artist Hugh Byrne creates a dramatic backdrop to the blackened oak dining table by Boston Woods and the server by Jacobs Collection. Two statement rugs by Mae Artisan Rugs ground the spaces while still allowing the restored herringbone parquet to catch the eye.” Throws by Krafthaus and velvet scatters by Asvati and Woven Green add a textural layer to the neutral furniture.

“The transformation of the lounge, which now leads onto the balcony through 4 m stacking doors, brings the outside inside during summer and makes the space feel even bigger,” says Bryce. “The client was from out of town and visited the house irregularly. The biggest triumph was undoubtedly the moment they walked in and all the walls had been opened up and the previously single door onto the balcony was a large stacking door expanding the sea vistas.”

For more amazing before and afters, click here