A city-fringe penthouse apartment has been transformed into a luxurious dwelling with dual functions – a sanctuary from the city and a place to entertain guests.
The apartment is located in a building perched on a steep rise in Auckland’s Parnell. It has an expansive terrace that fronts the city view, but the apartment was previously configured in a hodge-podge manner, with the kitchen placed at the rear of the space, facing a wall instead of the view.
The client, a busy businesswoman who lives alone but often has family and friends to stay, enlisted Alex McLeod from Huset to redesign the interior.
“It needed to be cosy for her and big enough to have family and friends to stay,” says McLeod. “We realised a need to bring the city view in, to make it a feature of the apartment. The aim was to create a New York loft-style apartment with high-end finishes – a luxury pad to entertain in.”
McLeod worked with architect Natasha Markham from MAUD to reconfigure the structural components of the refurbishment, which involved moving the kitchen forward into the space. To ensure the open-plan living space didn’t feel too expansive and unfriendly, Decortech panels were installed in the ceiling above the lounge, dining and living areas.
“These are fitted with a negative detail housing an LED light strip,” says McLeod. “With the expanse of the view, the room could have felt too huge, whereas we wanted it to feel cosy and personal. These ceiling panels make the ceiling lower and work in a similar way to a floor rug, to demarcate the zones of the room.”
Effort has been placed into bringing as much light into the kitchen as possible. A skylight helps with this, as well as the use of black glass on the splashback and servery island, which reflects both the light and the view. The servery island also provides a place where guests can lean and chat, with a hidden drinks fridge below.
In terms of materials and colours, it was established early on that brass would be a key ingredient. “This is a new start for the client,” says McLeod. “She has moved out of the suburbs and into the city and wanted a step above what she had before. We had several bespoke features designed to create this high-end aesthetic and follow her inclination towards brass.”
The Halo lights above the dining table were designed by McLeod and manufactured by Powersurge, who also made the brass-framed mirror above the fireplace. The Baker bar stools from IMO were custom-made with brass footrests.
Smoky European Oak flooring is laid longways to lead the eye towards the view and is softened by lush rugs, including a custom, hand-knotted, 100 per cent art silk rug in the living space. A fusion marble bench top from SCE Stone & Design ties the grey from the kitchen cabinetry with the warm metallics used throughout the apartment.
Furnishing is predominantly dark to anchor the space and counteract the pale walls and curtains. Turquoise joins the palette in the form of a large artwork and blankets in the living room. This combination of tones carries through into the bedrooms and the study, which has a large feature wall and cabinets in turquoise blue.
“We created four big double bedrooms, each with ensuite. They have been treated like boutique hotel experiences, a special place where guests can come and have their own space,” says McLeod.
The master bedroom has a luxe, padded gold headboard, which is offset by the soft grey walls and carpet and more brass elements, such as the Tom Dixon lamp. As McLeod says, “the client runs a big business. This is a space to share with her family, but it is also her sanctuary.”