We first featured Dan Honey and Paul Fuog’s beautifully understated and extremely functional apartment in 2013, when they’d been living in it for just over a year. Now, nine years on, the couple and their daughter have decided the time is right to put their beloved, compact abode on the market in order to find a home that has a ‘bit more separation.’
‘We love the sense of connectedness the apartment provides,’ says Dan. ‘Living right in the middle of the city means we never feel isolated living here.’
Locals will likely know the iconic facade of this Flinders Lane apartment building; known as Bible House, built in 1898 during the city’s heyday, by architect and city planner Frank Stapely. In 1911 the building was purchased by the British and Foreign Bible Society to be used to distribute bibles from the shopfronts, hence the name, and in 1994 the building was converted into the 17 residential apartments still standing today.
Whilst the building still resembles its 1898 originals externally, internally, the apartments have been significantly upgraded to suit modern-day city living. Dan and Paul engaged renowned architect Clare Cousins to help them with their redesign, which involved completely gutting the interior to make way for a more modern, minimal and flexible space.
The new bedroom, for instance, is a ‘bed platform’ enclosed in simple joinery and plenty of in-built storage that separates it from their daughter’s bedroom. Three colourful, sliding screens allow this space to become part of the living room when open, and a totally private bedroom when closed.
‘Before the renovation the one bedroom was a terrible size, with only 50cm on either side of the bed,’ says Paul. ‘It was just big enough to make a mess in, but not big enough to really enjoy. Both bedrooms are like little hideaways now, serving no other function than relaxing and a place to sleep.’
They also extended the kitchen, overhauled the bathroom, had the floorboards sanded and the walls painted a crisp white. ‘The material palette was kept neutral and warm throughout,’ explains Dan. ‘It created fluidity and spaciousness.’
Soaring 3.8 metre ceilings and large, operable arched windows along the northern walls provide the ultimate sense of space.
Paul says, ‘Having all the windows open with the summer breeze coming through is pretty special, and not what you expect to experience living right in the city.’
Apart from the early Friday morning tram trips to Vic Market to pick up produce for the week ahead, and the ability to live and get everywhere without a car, what the couple will miss most about their iconic apartment is living in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the city.
‘Melbourne is a beautiful city, and it has been a delight being immersed in the grand architecture on a daily basis,’ says Dan. ‘It’s always uplifting.’