Cottesloe Flour Mill Penthouse

Athelstan Street, Cottesloe, Western Australia

How could we bring the effortless sophistication of Scandinavian apartment living to a tired WA penthouse, untouched since 1998?

The original fit-out of this penthouse was instated as part of the Cottesloe Flour Mill’s conversion to apartments around 1998. The ageing interior was in very poor condition and the new owners, the architect’s aunt and uncle, approached Chindarsi for a complete refit. Years spent in Copenhagen had given them a love of apartment living, and they wanted to recreate the sophisticated, cosmopolitan lifestyle they had enjoyed in Denmark. They were also looking to downsize, having just sold their suburban bungalow, so careful economy in the use of space and storage was important.

We began by stripping out the majority of the tired interior, leaving the heritage structure, floors, trusses and timber shutters to retain the character of the building. A softer colour scheme grounds the penthouse in the coastal location, with tones reminiscent of sand and sun. Against this lighter background, we installed a range of textured natural materials – American oak cabinetry, Blackbutt boards and limestone flooring – accented with the black industrial steel of the staircase and the original exposed girders. This gives the apartment a clean, peaceful feel reminiscent of classic Scandinavian style, but with an additional measure of comforting solidity and warmth.

The use of space was a chief concern for the owners, who enjoy sharing their home with family and guests. We completely remodelled the kitchen to give them room to entertain, with an open-plan dining/living space to create a relaxed ‘breakfast bar’ atmosphere. We also integrated the fridge and freezer into the cabinetry so that they disappear completely when not in use. The upstairs living area has likewise been opened up with bi-fold doors, and now features an integrated fireplace/display cabinet, to house the owners’ cherished collection of objects from time spent abroad. We also made the most of the unused space under the stairs with a bespoke rack for their impressive wine collection.