beâCHâlet, Sydney

Bronte Beach, 10 kilometres south of Sydney is a 250sqm patch of sand and home to some of the most exclusive addresses in the world. Homes, and the land they sit on can reach astronomical prices, the median house price is AUD5.5 Million, even a small footprint home is a significant investment, and worth turning into a tranquil, luxurious sanctuary. This is precisely what Matt Reynolds from MattR Studio, the designer of beâCHâlet, aimed to achieve with this project.

Drawing inspiration from Japanese and Scandinavian architecture and interiors, as well as the super efficient use of space found within yachts and caravans, (popular inspiration with NTS Designers as seen here, here and here) Matt set out to transform a run-down apartment into a sleek and functional living space.

He started by building a shed in the carport, creating a workspace to craft all the bespoke furniture that would be needed for the renovation.

When the time came to tackle the floorplan, Matt demolished the wall that separated the entry from the kitchen and pulled out the shower bath to make room for an internal laundry. The remaining spaces were then transformed through the use of custom made (in the carport shed) multi-functional joinery elements that seamlessly blend style and functionality.

One of the most striking changes made to the apartment is the introduction of a Japanese ‘genkan’ space at the front door. This allows visitors to sit down and remove their shoes, while the seat itself folds forward to reveal a hidden storage compartment. The open-plan living-dining space has a multi-functional design that includes plenty of display spaces, including a floating bookcase that wraps around all the walls of the apartment, acting as a device that ties the whole space together.

The living room features a 2-piece couch that can be reconfigured to become a bench seat that faces the 8-seater dining table or can be aligned side-by-side to become a queen size or just 2 single beds. The pegboard wall is a sliding panel that opens to reveal the TV and more display shelves, and can also slide to the end of the apartment to create a separate space.

The home gymnasium is concealed behind block-out curtains that can be reconfigured to enclose the living room, turning it into a stand-alone bedroom space. The dining table has an end dedicated to operating as a Work From Home space, with abundant power and USB charging outlets.

The kitchen, is generous for the space, with a large prep area and full-size appliances. Overhead cupboards opposite the breakfast bench are finished in a gloss black perspex to match the draws and doors below the bench, and the overhead cupboards on the window side are enclosed with clear perspex sliding screens to allow daylight into the kitchen through the glassware, a beautiful and creative use of the available light. Cork floor tiles, which are more forgiving underfoot and on dropped dishes, have been finished with Black Japan stain, another example where Matt has thought creatively beyond the most obvious solution.

beâCHâlet’s two bedrooms, the larger of which serves as the main bedroom has a bed that sits on a raised platform housing hidden long-term storage as well as easily accessible drawers underneath. A wall of joinery provides a wardrobe, drawers, and cupboard space for clothing, while the mirrors on the wardrobe and at each end of the bedroom bounce light around the room, creating a sense of more space. The second bedroom serves as a guest room/alternative work space, and storage space for all of Matt’s sporting equipment, including a unique bike storage wall, fold-out desk, and wardrobes for sports gear.

Images by Guy Wilkinson Photography