Working within on modernising property project

The renovated kitchen with its clever soft-touch doors is the room Stephen is most proud of.
The renovated kitchen with its clever soft-touch doors is the room Stephen is most proud of. Duane Heath

WITH sweeping views of the river and ocean, there was no need to improve the exceptional position that apartment-owner Stephen found with this address on the Sunshine Coast.

However, with a dated design, there was plenty that could be done to improve the space within.

Purchased as a weekender, the contemporary apartment sits on one of the higher floors in a building that dates back to the 80s.

And though he consulted with many people to trust with the job, when Stephen first met Phil Sanchez, owner of Betta Bathrooms Qld, the pair "just clicked."

Having been in the building industry since 1977, Phil is proud of the result that four months of hard work and negotiating has created.

Entirely re-piped, re-plumped and re-wired, the apartment itself was effectively gutted.

"It's probably one of the biggest jobs we've done on the Sunshine Coast apart from my own renovation projects," Phil said.

"It was back to the bare bones," Stephen recalls.

"You could even see the wall frame in the bedroom."

The first of many intelligent surprises throughout, a new mini-laundry is concealed behind invisible floor-to-ceiling soft-touch doors to the side of a new kitchen.

"Putting that new laundry in the kitchen meant I lost some of my storage," Stephen said.

"But Phil sorted that out by putting in a big pull out pantry and a roll-around storage door in the corner."

The corner cabinet in the kitchen is a new-found love of Stephen's.

As Phil explained, "it's usually so hard to get into the corner space next to the dishwasher and it often becomes a void. Cobwebs can gather, but with this revolving, pull-out system the space is made useful again. ."

A bistro-style tap system of Stephen's choice is a sophisticated touch, complementing a glass wine fridge and overhead cabinetry that features to the dining-side of the kitchen for easy access.

Soft-close drawers cannot be slammed shut. The microwave is hidden away by a soft-touch panel that slides away.

A secret soft-touch door now conceals the hot water system within the design, beside the fridge.

"It's the original system but we've hidden it away behind an invisible door, if you ever need access to it. But you would never know it's there," Phil said.

Once coming out on an angle, the kitchen bench has now been remodelled for a smoother, squarer look.

Original ceiling lights were replaced with an ingenious bulkhead system across all ceilings throughout.

These now accommodate down lights, with dimmer switches in all rooms.

They also conceal plumbing and cabling used throughout.

"The existing concrete ceilings were very limiting as to what we could do with lighting," Stephen said.

"I think it was only the second time we met Phil that he came up with the bulkhead idea which matches in with the existing concrete bulk head above all the external sliders.

"It has proved to be so invaluable, as well as cost effective when it came to running cabling through the rooms."

It's the kitchen itself that Stephen now loves most about the final product. sums up the quality throughout," he said.

"It's an example of the innovation that went into making everything fit in every room. The expertise required to re-pipe it all in order to include the new laundry, plus hide the water system and still make it all fit in the space, without compromising on storage, is phenomenal."

Consideration was given to the Coast's weather with only the best quality fixtures used in the bathrooms.
Consideration was given to the Coast's weather with only the best quality fixtures used in the bathrooms.

What was originally the sink and vanity in the main bathroom layout is now a modern bath-tub in tiled surrounds that sits square along the window with water views.

"We would have had an issue if we hadn't placed the new bath to fit square against the wall," Phil said.

"If we hadn't turned it straight, we would have had to downsize the bath in order to fit the angle."

The toilet was also removed and a vanity installed. Consideration for the climate and position of the apartment was also taken.

"It can get quite windy up here so we put magnetic door catches behind every door, while all the door furniture and hinges are stainless steel and all bathroom appliances are of the highest grade to resist the salty air," Phil said.

The original laundry has now been converted to a sleek powder room with a toilet.

"To create that we had to have access to the downstairs unit," Phil said.

"We negotiated that with the tenant and owner, since we had to open the ceiling downstairs in order to have access to install the toilet above."

An original void in the old laundry was transformed into a storage space, concealed by soft-touch doors.

The shower in the main bathroom was once on a tray but was erased for a cleaner look.

The shower recess in the master ensuite was also enlarged.

Massive rainforest showerheads were included in both showers for a gentle, waterfall effect and frameless shower screens set the mood.

Plantation louvres were added to an existing glass partition between the guest bedroom and entry for privacy.

Every room was wired and accommodated TV systems and sound, air-conditioning and dimmer switches.

New blinds were installed, some sun-block, some semi-block to still show water views and silhouettes of passing boats.

Peculiar dwarf walls were removed from all the bedrooms to add space, and new robe was added with mirrored doors and shelving in the main bedroom.

Timber stained doors with frosted glass were installed to all rooms yet giving you total privacy.

Polished stainless steel door handles and hinges were used.

Original skirting boards and old-fashioned bull-nose architraves in all rooms were removed and replaced with tiled skirtings to extend the oversized, muted-gloss tiles throughout.

Stephen sees the tiling as an example of the attention to detail that was employed throughout.


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Topics:  apartment decorating home interior design lifestyle property renovation

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