The Loft Houses Transform Two Inner-Sydney Carparking Spaces Into Beautiful Efficient Housing
The Fisher & Paykel Series
Sydney, NSW, Australia

Words Rose Onans
Photography Katherine Lu

The Loft Houses by Brad Swartz occupy what were once two rear-lane residential parking spaces in inner Sydney.

Each at just 35m2, the project was born of the changes driven by technology – Airbnb creating a market for private short-stay accommodation, and car-sharing apps like Go-Get eliminating the need for traditional car ownership and the associated parking spaces.

Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Design & Residential Architecture Sydney, Nsw Image 8

The Loft Houses by Brad Swartz are built on the site of a rear-lane residential parking space and are just 35m2 each. Photo by Katherine Lu.

Brad explains that two enterprising neighbours saw potential in capitalising on their location in the heart of Sydney, collaborating to build the adjoining houses. In this way, they were able to transform unused laneway parking spaces into small, beautifully designed, second residences that could be rented out as accommodation or used by travelling family and friends.

Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Residential Architecture And Bespoke Design Sydney, Nsw Image 18

‘The tightness of the available space translated into really efficient design’, says Brad. The design process involved drawing up a list of requirements and ‘jigsawing’ them into different arrangements until the perfect configuration was found. The end result is a highly intelligent, multi-purpose use of space.

Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Design & Residential Architecture Sydney, Nsw Image 9

The Loft Houses are a collaboration between two neighbours who saw the potential in the land behind their houses.

Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Interior Design & Contempoary Architecture Sydney, Nsw Image 11

Appliances by Fisher & Paykel in the crisp, monochromatic kitchen.

With the brief along the lines of a hotel room, the bathroom was reconfigured almost as a glass box, stacked in the same alignment as the kitchen and stairs below. The basin was removed from the bathroom entirely, moved to its position on a marble shelf that becomes either a vanity or desk as required.

Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Architecture & Interior Design Sydney, Nsw Image 5
Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Residential Architecture And Bespoke Design Sydney, Nsw Image 17

The basin is moved to the marble bench that doubles as a vanity and desk.

The kitchen was a similarly exercise in creative configuration. The appliances were crucial to the success of the kitchen design – Fisher & Paykel were the only appliance manufacturer whose in-built oven and DishDrawer could be stack one on top of the other, allowing more room for necessary storage and bench space. They also supplied the two-burner induction cooktop, the flat surface creating extra bench space when not in use. A bar fridge, meanwhile, hides at eye-level inside the cabinetry above the pantry – by elevating the fridge, it feels more like a standard full-height fridge while providing for important dry storage as well.

Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Residential Architecture And Bespoke Design Sydney, Nsw Image 16

The kitchen is cleverly configured to create maximum efficiency.

Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Design & Residential Architecture Sydney, Nsw Image 7

The DishDrawer and built-in oven by Fisher & Paykel stacked on top of each other was key to the kitchen design.

Brad says that the houses were designed as a retreat from the busy city directly outside the doorstep. ‘We saw it as an oasis in the middle of the city, quiet and removed’, he says. As the Loft Houses are designed to be accommodation, materials and finishes had to be hard-wearing and durable, yet with a sense of luxury. The pared-back material and colour palette are calming, and the white walls and joinery add a sense of spaciousness and light.

Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Architecture & Interior Design Sydney, Nsw Image 1
Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Interior Design & Contempoary Architecture Sydney, Nsw Image 13

Externally, the houses blend into the streetscape, the elevations reminiscent of an old stable.

From the outside, the houses are inconspicuous, set among the collection of buildings on the lane. It is only once one steps into the space that the full impact of the design is revealed. Brad explains that the focus was on creating an understated exterior, inspired by an old stable. Internally, exposed beams not only add ceiling height but also reference this stable inspiration. Steel was chosen to frame the windows and doors and for the balustrade because it has ‘a beautiful handmade quality to it’, Brad says. He explains that these elements add character to the minimalist design, ‘creating an extra layer of richness’.

Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Residential Architecture And Bespoke Design Sydney, Nsw Image 19
Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Interior Design & Contempoary Architecture Sydney, Nsw Image 12

Steel-framed windows and doors, exposed beams and steel balustrading adds texture and character to the minimalist interior.

Ultimately, Brad sees The Loft Houses as ‘replacing cars with people’, an indication of the changing face of our cities. The projects prove that with intelligent, efficient design, small living spaces have a role to play in responding to this change.

Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Design & Residential Architecture Sydney, Nsw Image 6
Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Architecture & Interior Design Sydney, Nsw Image 2
Gallery Of Loft Houses By Brad Swartz Local Australian Architecture & Interior Design Sydney, Nsw Image 3

Published: 23 October, 2018

Photography Credit:  Katherine Lu
Top