A Midcentury Apartment Finds Its Modern Soul in Brisbane

In the heart of Brisbane, a mid-century apartment in the iconic Torbreck building has undergone a transformative renovation, thanks to the collaboration between homeowners Steph Cooper and Mat Williams, KIN Architects, and William McMahon Cabinetmaker

Steph and Mat, a marine scientist and an engineer respectively, initially planned a DIY renovation for their 1960s apartment, which they had purchased in 2009 and expanded upon later. However, they soon realized the value of professional expertise and turned to KIN Architects. Architect Leah’s initial concept sketches were a revelation, prompting the couple to entrust the entire project to the architects.

The brief started simply, focusing on a new island bench, but it rapidly expanded to encompass the entire apartment. The goal was to create a ‘Jetsons-inspired’ kitchen and more functional living spaces. Leah’s design approach was transformative, removing several walls, relocating the kitchen to the center of the living area, gutting the bathroom, and converting a two-bedroom layout into a spacious single-bedroom residence.

The original brickwork and warm timber of the heritage building were complemented by a balanced material palette, featuring blue tones from the façade and warm colors in timber and brass details. 

This harmonious blend of old and new is seen throughout the apartment, from the custom timber flooring in the kitchen and dining area to the brass accents in the cabinetry and lighting fixtures. A notable feature is the marble benchtops repurposed from the old kitchen, now enhancing the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry areas.

The renovation also focused on maximizing the expansive views over Brisbane. The layout was planned to create multifunctional pockets within the larger living room volume, each offering a connection to the cityscape. 

Concealed storage in the living room allows for easy transformation between dining, entertaining, and study modes. This level of detail and functionality is the result of the collaborative effort between the design team, the craftsman, and the clients.

Photos by Christopher Frederick Jones