Catseye Bay designs multi-use furniture for Sydney studio flat

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Catseye Bay designs multi-use furniture for renovated Sydney studio flat

Bespoke joinery creates furniture, partitions and storage solutions for this Sydney studio apartment renovated by local design firm Catseye Bay (+ slideshow).

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

The 36-square-metre flat contained just three rooms – a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. Catseye Bay director Sarah Jamieson was charged with reworking these spaces, making room for living and dining areas.

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

Her first move was to design a series of wooden insertions that create informal space dividers, but that also take the place of space-hungry furniture items such as wardrobes and bookshelves.

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

"Understanding in detail how you live in and use a space is always important," explained Jamieson. "It becomes critical when designing a tiny space like this, where everything is happening on top of itself."

"It's important to work out how to separate functions where necessary, or layer them, and make the experience of being in the space more nuanced, and delightful," she added.

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

The largest of the additions is an approximately two-metre-high wooden structure that projects out diagonally from one of the bedroom walls.

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

On one side, it contains storage for the occupant's clothing and shoes, creating a small dressing area. But the other side integrates shelves, flanking a bed that is invisible when entering the room.

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

The bed is shorter than the wooden unit, leaving space in front for an upholstered seating bench that can be softened by the addition of cushions. In this way, the space can function as both lounge and bedroom.

Both the bed and the bench face the window, which integrates another new joinery element – an extended sill that creates a small desk.

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

Similarly, the kitchen features a new shelving unit and worktop that extends out to create a counter for dining on.

Both this element and the big partition structure are constructed from birch plywood, hand-finished to create a simple and well-crafted aesthetic.

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

They also integrate curves, intended to reference the Art Deco exterior of the building, which is sits among a series of 1930s blocks in Sydney's Darlinghurst suburb.

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

Many of the flat's original details are preserved and celebrated, including pine floorboards, cornices and lighting. Other additions include large plant pots and artworks.

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

"Avoiding the 'what you see at first is all there is' syndrome common to one-room apartments, this studio now functions as a one bedroom living space, revealing its delights and small moments slowly, over time," said Jamieson's team.

Apartment renovation by Catseye Bay

The apartment will be rented out to short-term visitors, using a similar service to Airbnb. This type of service is proving increasingly popular among property owners, and has resulted in several impressive renovations.

Other recent examples include a Melbourne apartment where guests are invited to buy the furniture, art and accessories when they leave, and a Budapest studio flat with a bed platform and pegboard walls.