The DIY Melbourne Apartment Renovation Of An Industrial and Graphic Designer

David Chapman, an industrial designer, and Jess Grunow, a graphic designer, purchased their two-bedroom apartment in Thornbury, being attracted to the area for its affordability and lifestyle aspects. The 1960s apartment provided a great base, with generous proportions, large glazing, and even city views.

David and Jess have always been spirited DIYers, often undertaking small projects, however Kemp Street offered them a larger scale to run away with their ideas and vision. Knowing they’ll do most of the work themselves, their apartment is an ongoing renovation project.

David and Jess focused on the living area, kitchen, dining and hallway initially. Working within a constrained budget, they brainstormed ideas on achieving their brief while being cost-effective. David looked at plywood and CNC, allowing him to precisely design and cut panels into pieces.

The living area features a continuous joinery element that wraps around three walls. Avoiding furniture clutter, the joinery provides ample cupboard storage, a window seat with open shelving to display their objects, and a TV entertainment unit. Meticulous attention was applied to the joinery, ensuring even unsightly cables would be hidden from view.

The kitchen utilises IKEA cabinetry as a base, with plywood fronts and custom handles to bring their own personality to the space. A green ceramic tile was used for the benchtop, adding another layer of uniqueness. What may be the most prized possession is the painted fridge, an ode to Jess’ favourite food, the tomato.

Jess would often misplace her keys, wallets and other things that we tend to dump out of our pockets. The renovation of the hallway cupboard was to ensure this would stop happening, and a cupboard with a sliding door allows coats to be hung out of view, and a mirrored nook provides David and Jess a place for their pocket things.

While David couldn’t address major sustainability aspects, such as insulation, glazing and orientation, he focused his attention on the smaller wins. CNC production meant that David could lay out the panels to minimise the waste at the end of the cutting. It also allowed David to see there would be space left over on panels where he could create secondary products, such as their coffee cable, side table, record stand, coasters, and more.

Website article with photographs and the floor plan;

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David Chapman

Jess Grunow

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