Best of est | Australian Warehouse Conversions

We’re stepping inside six former industrial sites repurposed as characterful inner-city homes.

The concept of warehouse living is quick to conjure homes from major cities further abroad – be it London or Brooklyn, New York. But we’re turning our attention closer to home, to the many Australian warehouse conversions that have graced the pages of est. Fascinated by their unique history, we’re celebrating the imperfect edges and bright, lofty and unpretentious spaces of these industrial conversions. In honour of preserving the past and reworking for the future, we’ve collated our six favourite examples of Australian warehouse living.

Crown St Apartment by Brooke Aitken

Sydney-based designer Brooke Aitken was asked to transform a ground floor apartment in a former four-storey warehouse in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Approached by a couple entering their retirement, they requested a minimalist’s retreat, inspired by a Japanese aesthetic.

The two-bedroom abode lacked natural light, located at the rear of the building, with windows looking out onto two small internal courtyards that provided no street aspect or views. In collaboration with the builder, who happened to be the clients’ son, Brooke Aitken opened up the home to natural light, while creating ample storage opportunities. The collaborative design team ensured the retirees can enjoy their next chapter in a tailored home with a unique history while relishing in the perks of inner-city living.

Surry Hills Apartment by Josephine Hurley Architecture

Behind the historic Edwards & Co facade in Surry Hills, Sydney, you’ll find this rooftop home designed by Josephine Hurley Architecture. Once a tea factory in the 1920s, the warehouse has known both homes and businesses alike. In this instance, Josephine Hurley Architecture were enlisted to gently convert the top two levels of the building from a former advertising agency office into a private residence.

The preserved exterior and internal bones lay the aesthetic foundation for a characterful rooftop home. The design team drew on the heritage fabric while introducing fixtures and materials rooted in timelessness and simplicity. Focusing on comfort, practicality and respect for the original building, Josephine Hurley Architecture have captured a down-to-earth, yet refined warehouse conversion.

Perfect Storm by Matt Woods

Designer Matt Woods took a Brutalist approach to the redesign of an inner-city warehouse in Camperdown, Sydney. Paying homage to its local industrial heritage, the aesthetic of the concrete-like-bunker was driven by the owners who wanted a home that was free from stuff and stripped back to basics.

The concrete-look walls are rendered using Porter’s Paint French wash, offering a striking – yet intimate – interior. Matt Woods also ensured all of the materials that characterise this warehouse re-do are environmentally conscious, such as VOC-free finishes, FSC timbers, with a minimal waste approach to construction. The Perfect Storm may stray from what a warehouse conversion typically looks like, but hosts a prevailing awareness of its context and history.

Warehouse Living in Melbourne by Ha Architects

Not only did Melbourne firm Ha Architects face the constraints of transforming a warehouse, but the unique challenges of multi-storey buildings enclosing all three sides of the facade.

Turning their attention inside, Ha Architects introduced an inverted, traditional floor plan of a two-storey home to the North Melbourne warehouse. The kitchen, living and outdoor entertaining areas are located upstairs to soak up the city rooftop views, while the bedrooms and bathrooms have been placed on the ground floor.

The upstairs spaces are bathed in natural light with the addition of north facing clerestory windows, while the downstairs areas are softened by filtered light. To soften the industrial edge, Ha Architects introduced built-in garden beds that line the exterior rendered walls, also covered in green creepers. A far from typical warehouse aesthetic, Ha Architects’ project is testament to timeless design.

Cleveland & Co. Pied-a-Terre by Infinite Design Studio

Sydney interior designers Infinite Design Studio transformed a space in the former Demco machinery company building on Cleveland street in Sydney, into a steely cool Pied-a-Terre. The Demco building is a fusion of two structures – a Victorian era warehouse and modern interwar functionalist building added in 1938. The Cleveland & Co. Pied-e-terre is located in the latter half, so Infinite Design studio set out to accentuate its industrial allure– but also it’s art deco history.

While the grid windows firmly ground the Pied-e-Terre in its warehouse origins, Calacatta Viola marble and Serge Mouille lighting exude a European atmosphere. Reflecting warehouse conversions from across the sea, Infinite Design Studio have captured the industrial atmosphere with warmth, texture and sophistication.

Moor Street Apartment by Clare Cousins

Enjoying a hip and happening locale, this Moor Street Apartment in Fitzroy, Melbourne combines a home and creative studio space under its former warehouse roof. Entrusted with the task of creating an inviting space, but maintaining a sense of the original warehouse, Clare Cousins Architects combined a warm palette with industrial elements.

A six-metre long concrete kitchen island bench, exposed brick and blackened steel framework denote the warehouse aesthetic. A focus on cost-effective, sustainable materials drove the selection of what was introduced, including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved timber flooring, sustainable plywood ceilings, environmentally friendly wool carpets and low VOC paints and coatings with energy-efficient LED lighting. It’s a refreshed warehouse space that embraces its history, while being both functional and eco-friendly.

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