Can The Interior Design Of A Loft Apartment Be Child Friendly?
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Can The Interior Design Of A Loft Apartment Be Child Friendly?

A smart reno blends the hard industrial elements of a former factory space and the comfort of a family home.

By Lauren Joseph
Fri, Jan 14, 2022 11:26amGrey Clock 4 min

IN NEW YORK designer Lucy Harris’s experience, Manhattanites tend to ask for “refined and upscale” décor, a description that suggests the sort of formal, adults-only living room children must resentfully eye from a distance. The couple who came to her for help when renovating this West Village loft, however, wanted a refined, upscale home that they and their children, ages 5 and 8, would nevertheless find familial and cozy. Said Ms. Harris, who pulled together the interior design with a colleague, senior designer Kelley Roach, “They very much wanted a grown-up space, but they did not want it to be precious.”

Traces of the space’s former life as the floor of a factory building—wrapped beams, a concrete pillar, great, gridded windows—contribute a sophisticated hipness. To keep the aesthetic spare, Ms. Harris installed a tightly edited collection of contemporary furnishings in a limited, muted palette. To a basic scheme of black, white and gray, she added earthy tones of sandy brown and blush, and the occasional jolt of saturated colour for a note of childlike playfulness and adult artiness.

Instead of the “typical synthetic outdoor fabrics” most people use to childproof residences, the designers favoured natural materials. “There’s nothing to me more homemaking than wood and wool,” not to mention durable, said Ms. Harris. To coax “the warmth and sense of safety you get from nature” into the space, she drafted a slew of swishy houseplants and furnishings that curve and slope. Here, a tour of the loft’s elegant yet approachable rooms, and guidance on how to achieve the same visual balance yourself.

PHOTO: HULYA KOLABAS
Unify with colour

When an entryway isn’t clearly delineated, as in most converted lofts, grouping elements that share one colour can make an area around the front door feel “more defined,” said Ms. Harris. Here, she chose a bluish-grey, tying together Eskayel’s Nairutya wallpaper, the console’s leather fronts and the blobby ceramics by Los Angeles artist Pilar Wily. The wallcovering’s easygoing “hippie tie-dye” pattern lightens the effect of dressier details such as the agate-baubled Talisman sconce from Apparatus and the glamorous peach mirror. The owners wanted an “eye-catching introduction to the home,” Ms. Harris said, and a warm welcome. The shearling chair is particularly inviting—and aligns with her plan to dress the home, wherever possible, in natural fibres that age well and are somewhat stain and bacteria-resistant.

PHOTO: HULYA KOLABAS
Choose furnishings that hug like a human

The only overtly practical elements in the living room? The built-in storage and performance-fabric upholstery of the blocky sofa. Beyond that, family-friendliness comes via the chubby, swirly and rounded furniture. “Circles just feel very comforting,” explained Ms. Harris of the cushy stools and the custom coffee table. Curvilinear shapes—also seen in the Gestalt armchairs and the Fitzhugh Karol sculpture—add a “holding,” humanlike feel to the room along with grace. “They’re almost like a hip, or an arm, or a leg,” said Ms. Harris.

PHOTO: HULYA KOLABAS
Crayon the kitchen

An otherwise briskly modern kitchen got hits of homeyness with organic elements: blackened-elm cabinets from New York kitchen specialists Urban Homes, pale ash stool legs and a pleasing mishmash of plants, wicker and nobby dishware. Metal shelves jibe with industrial-chic vestiges of the once-commercial space, such as the structural pillar and metal pipes. Meanwhile the stools—with their Crayola-red appeal and cosseting curved backs—make primo seats for kids. The poppy chairs also connect to the couple’s psychedelic prints. That kind of chromatic synchronicity, said Ms. Harris, cuts down on visual clutter.

PHOTO: HULYA KOLABAS
Find your marbles

The dining room called for something a bit more elevated than the rest of the home, said Ms. Harris—hence the table of nero marquina marble and steel by Croft House to complement the lean black-stone fireplace. While the room, with that rigid linearity and relatively high-maintenance marble, is mostly for dinner parties, it still needed to connect with the otherwise child-friendly apartment. The set of 1960s Italian chairs, each with a low-slung, wide seat and inviting little lip of fabric that peeks over the top of the slick table, added “a soft element,” said Ms. Harris, as does the whimsical pendant light from Matter.

PHOTO: HULYA KOLABAS
Admit a quilt

In the primary bedroom, Ms. Harris called on the soothingly restrained ticking pattern of Rebecca Atwood’s Dashes wallpaper to create a refuge. “It shrinks your world a little bit,” she said. Napped textiles—the cabinlike alpaca bouclé of the headboard, the velvet throw pillows and chair—add to the room’s coddling effect. The quilt, from Thompson Street Studio, might blend and disappear amid traditional décor. But in the context of a bare industrial window and the simple globe of a Noguchi lantern, the bedcover that Ms. Harris selected for its “handmade feel and earth tones” is both unexpected and inviting.

PHOTO: HULYA KOLABAS


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How Much House Can I Afford?

Expert tips for prospective buyers looking to purchase a home in 2024.

By Josh Bozin
Fri, Apr 12, 2024 3 min

For aspiring homeowners, be it a first-time buyer, downsizer, or investor, picturing your idea of homeownership bliss is the easy part. But before deliberating on furniture choices or scouting for that perfect neighbourhood coffee, understanding your purchasing power stands out as the most important step in ensuring your success in homeownership.

And with the Australian property market gaining momentum in 2024, there’s never been a better time to come to grips with your financial options.

In 2023, amid the changing financial landscape that saw rising interest rates and the cost of living skyrocket, among other factors, the total amount borrowed for property purchases across Australia was estimated at $300.9 billion, a 12.7 percent decrease from the previous year, according to PEXA’s latest Mortgage Insights Report.

Each mainland state also experienced a decline in new lending, according to the report, with Victoria and New South Wales seeing the biggest drops to $84.1 billion and $109.5 billion, respectively.

While this trend reflects the repercussions of such financial hardships on the everyday Australian, John Morello, director and auctioneer at Jellis Craig, said we’re seeing renewed confidence in the property market during the first quarter of 2024, particularly in Melbourne.

“Auction clearance rates have started the year strongly and consumer sentiment is rising. This lift is driven by cooling inflation and an improved outlook on interest rates. At Jellis Craig, as with the rest of the market, we are experiencing an increase in volume of property compared to the same period in March last year (up 28% in 2024),” Mr Morello said.

“Melbourne’s property market, in particular, is showing its ongoing evolution and resilience.”

PEXA’s report revealed that, while borrowing saw a decrease in 2023 in Australia, Australians still invested $613.0 billion in property purchases in 2023. In 2024, purchasing confidence is only going up, as prospective first home buyers, seasoned downsizers, and savvy investors look to capitalise on a flood of new property hitting the market, coupled with the lowering of interest rates across the board.

“With more certainty in the economic outlook, along with an increase in volume of property available, we are seeing these factors translate to early signs of a boost in confidence in both buyers and sellers,” said Mr Morello.

“Further encouraging data shows that whilst there is more property available to purchase, more people are inspecting property, again indicating that demand has increased broadly across our marketplace.”

If you’re in the market for a new property, the biggest question you must ask yourself is how much house can I afford?

A great starting place is to speak with your mortgage broker or financial professional, who can guide you on your lending options. This is critical, as you need to know what your future repayment options might look like, and ultimately, what you will typically be able to afford.

A useful tool for judging whether you can afford a specific property is to factor in the 28/36 rule — a rough guide that suggests you should not spend more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income on housing, and no more than 36 percent on all debts. Another useful tool is the idea of a debt-to-income ratio (DTI); a formula whereby an individual can divide all of their monthly debt payments by gross monthly income to arrive at a number that one can measure as a way of managing monthly mortgage payments.

Mr Morello emphasised the need to understand affordability and what’s feasible for each individual when looking to make a purchase, no matter the budget, on a property in 2024.

“It’s pivotal to work out what you can afford. Get your finances in order. Consider all associated costs with buying, and research what concessions and grants are available,” said Mr Morello.

“It’s easy for individuals to begin the process today. Start actively searching potential properties on a weekly basis, and research areas you are interested in. Check weekly sales results, attend inspections and auctions, to get a feel for the process. Just remember, it’s important to be really comfortable in understanding your living expenses, and what the ongoing expenses will be once you have bought a property.

“For example, mortgage repayments, council rates, water, power, owners corp fees, insurances, maintenance costs; if you are buying as an investment, the Land Tax payable on that property which is an ongoing tax. There’s many factors to consider.”

To see what’s possible for your specific circumstances, visit our Finance Portal for specific tools, guides and tips—as well as our own mortgage calculator—to assist you on your property journey.

 

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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