Sarah Wolfendale's Kew Apartment Set Inside a Former Lunatic Asylum | Yellowtrace

Sarah Wolfendale's Kew Apartment Set Inside a Former Lunatic Asylum | Yellowtrace

Sarah Wolfendale's Kew Apartment Set Inside a Former Lunatic Asylum | Yellowtrace

 

It was love at first sight when Melbourne designer and her husband, Tommy, laid eyes on their future 90-square-metre apartment. They were looking for a reasonably priced, centrally located home so they could commute to work on a bike. “We prefer to live centrally in a smaller space than further out in a larger house,” says Sarah.

While the former Kew Lunatic Asylum might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Sarah and Tommy were instantly drawn to the building’s potential. “A lot of local people have negative views of the asylum as the inmates were not treated well. But my husband Tommy is English, and I grew up in Adelaide, so we just saw the space for what it is now and its potential.” I can’t really blame them, because who wouldn’t feel the same way about those 4-metre-high ceilings, arched windows, chevron timber floors and abundant heritage features of the nineteenth-century building?

 

Sarah Wolfendale's Kew Apartment Set Inside a Former Lunatic Asylum | Yellowtrace

Sarah Wolfendale's Kew Apartment Set Inside a Former Lunatic Asylum | Yellowtrace

Sarah Wolfendale's Kew Apartment Set Inside a Former Lunatic Asylum | Yellowtrace

 

The couple lived in the apartment for over a year before embarking on the renovation. Although they loved the original bones, the layout needed some serious work. Initially constructed between 1864 and 1872, the building was converted into apartments in 1993 when the bathroom and laundry were placed in front of the arched windows. I know what you’re thinking – #facepalm. Sarah flipped the layout so the kitchen and living area now benefit from all the natural light, while also creating a sense of arrival. Tick. She relocated the bathroom closer to the bedrooms and added an ensuite with a mezzanine above, which serves as a guest room, study and storage. Tick, tick.

The design of the living space, kitchen and bathrooms takes advantage of the apartment’s heritage character while ensuring efficiency is maximised every step of the way. “As this is a 90sqm 2 bedroom apartment and we have two kids, I was determined to make small space work for a young family”, says Sarah. “As we don’t have any off-site storage, I made sure to utilise every millimetre of space. I measured every pot and pan, mascara bottle and deodorant can and then designed shelf heights and drawers around them.” Impressive, no?

 

Sarah Wolfendale's Kew Apartment Set Inside a Former Lunatic Asylum | Yellowtrace

Sarah Wolfendale's Kew Apartment Set Inside a Former Lunatic Asylum | Yellowtrace

 

The 4.5-metre-long stone kitchen benchtop provides ample space for cooking, preparation and plating-up when guests are over. The Fisher & Paykel , and Built-in are centred in the joinery, with drawers distributed evenly to either side for a proportioned aesthetic. The sits between the oven and sink, and the boxed out range hood matches the joinery and wall colour, so the eye is drawn to the artworks and objects on the shelves.

Tall cupboards extend 3 meters along the wall and accommodate fridge, laundry and storage. An Integrated is next to the kitchen bench, and a and are stacked to allow space for a sink, drawers and drying rail. A custom sliding ladder moves between all the joinery and provides access to hard-to-reach cupboards sitting on top.

 

Sarah Wolfendale's Kew Apartment Set Inside a Former Lunatic Asylum | Yellowtrace

Sarah Wolfendale's Kew Apartment Set Inside a Former Lunatic Asylum | Yellowtrace

 

Apart from her love of heritage spaces, Sarah’s design aesthetic is influenced by Scandinavian, French and Belgium design. Over the years she has collected original and modern pieces of mid-century Danish furniture, including the extendable 1960s teak dining table – one of her personal favourites as it can accommodate up to eight people when entertaining guests.

It’s no small feat fitting a family of four into an apartment of this size and doing it so beautifully at that. But Sarah knew all along it could easily be done. “I believe if a space is designed well, and with plenty of storage, then you can make a family home out of a 90sqm apartment,” she says. “And the other is that there is a lot less cleaning to do!” Amen to that.

 

 


[Images courtesy of . Styling by . Photography by .]

 

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

5 Responses

Leave a Reply