Home is where the heart is for many people, but for Construction Engineer David Plowman, years spent travelling and living abroad as an expat meant that home was wherever the next project lay. Living in the Middle East for five years was both inspirational and frustrating – on the one hand he was blessed with stays in some of the world’s best hotels and constantly exposed to different cultures and a luxe level of lifestyle that anyone could envy. Yet on the flip side, as many expats will attest, home is always calling and pulling at the heartstrings.
So when David finally came home to settle in Brisbane, Australia, he quickly set about renovating the pad he had purchased back in 2005 (and subsequently left after only several months) – an attractive two bedroom plus studio apartment designed by award winning architect, Donovan Hill and located in the renovated Woolstore in trendy Teneriffe. It was already a fabulous space, but all those years of travelling had left an indelible mark on David’s personal style … and if he had to stay put for a while here then he was sure going to bring the world to his new place.
The owner sourced every aspect of the design from colours and specific bolts to secure balustrade. David’s main inspiration of ‘New York Chic’ replays in many parts of the design. The demolition of existing walls of the kitchen transformed the space into a minimalist and open canvas for his high impact artworks and decor, with a little bit “street grunge” and a whole lot passion injected into the entire re-design.
The art is embedded in the walls, while hand painted street-style murals by local artisans ‘Graffiti Murals’ are lit up with flashing neon lights. And we love the bikes on the walls – there’s no mistaking you’re in an inner city apartment here! The grungy, industrial street feel is remarkably softened by the selection of finishes, lighting and placement of David’s collected personal keepsakes and treasures from his travels. So although there’s a real sense of living art here, it’s also very much a personal retreat.
David went with the strong colour scheme to reflect his love of the outdoors, with acid hues and strategically placed lighting effects that interpret the most saturated aspects of nature. The faux-grass feature wall on the terrace is a clever interpretation of the green wall trend, a perfect backdrop to the NY-style ‘Central Park’ bench softened by the earthy colours of orange and sand.
This attention to detail extends to the places few home decorators even consider, like the amazing skirting boards where expired hotel key cards collected from around the world have been carefully affixed to the wall offering an extremely practical solution to a simple problem of protecting the painted walls.
It’s colourful and clean, practical, and represents the fashion forward lifestyle of the Teneriffe genre. But this apartment is also testament to the owner’s design savvy ideas and a seriously cool style. It’s hip, it’s modern and undeniably brave.
As featured in the Spring 2013/14 issue of Queensland Homes magazine.
Photography: Michael Saunders (detail shots by Ally Plowman)