A group of friends take on the challenge to give a former Melbourne brewery a new lease on life.
Who lives here: Fitness trainer Brett Murray; his friend Stuart McKenzie, owner of cafe South Of Johnson; Stuart’s partner, interior designer Simon Carver; and Fergus, a blue Staffordshire bull terrier.
Style of house: An old brewery in Melbourne’s Collingwood, converted into a two-bedroom, four-level loft-style apartment.
Timeline: Stuart and Simon helped Brett on the apartment’s interior for four months.
Cost: The renovation cost around $150k and included creating two bedrooms, a powder room and a new kitchen.
HISTORY OF THE PROPERTY
The property has seen many incarnations. In 1998, after Brett’s parents purchased it, the building was leased out to ballet students of the VCA (Victorian College of the Arts) who set up spaces with sheets and plywood divisions. It has also operated as an industrial warehouse for local fashion label Dangerfield. In August 2013, the building was entrusted to Brett, who moved from Sydney to Melbourne to manage its renovation. With the help of his creative housemates Stuart and Simon (an interior designer), the trio finished the interior fit-out, moving in four months later.
DIFFICULTIES OF THE RENOVATION
Bringing in natural light was difficult, due to the barn-style double doors, but elements like the black-stained timber flooring and cabin-style vertical panelling were intentionally installed for their sophisticated dark tones. “Maybe it’s because there are three men and a dog who live here that we’re attracted to more moody spaces,” says Simon. “I think the house is more successful in winter than summer, but we do get a bit of natural light filtering through – especially from the rooftop light shaft.”
What you’d change if you could: “In hindsight, we should’ve put a laundry on the same level as the bedrooms,” says Stuart McKenzie, owner. “We also should’ve re-configured the powder room on the living room floor to create a walk-in pantry. And we definitely should’ve measured the couch so that it didn’t require five big men to hoist it up the side of the building with ropes!”
Stuart’s top 5 local haunts for art and homewares
1. Lightly for modern homewares. Cindy-Lee Davies is at the top of her game and is a great supporter of local talent and design.
3 Glasshouse Road, Collingwood
2. James Makin Gallery for a fine selection of art to suit all styles and budgets. 67 Cambridge Street, Collingwood
3. Porcelain Bear for modern and vintage-inspired lighting and sculpture. 23-25 Derby Street, Collingwood
4. Tarlo And Graham for an amazing selection of curios, art, furniture
and precious objects. 202 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
5. Empire Vintage for interior consultation, bespoke, vintage and one-off collections and great design advice. 63 Cardigan Place, Albert Park
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