Stainless-Steel Furniture: Kitchen Sink
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN you fall in love with your friend’s place? You hope that one day they will sell, and you’ll be in a position to buy it. This was the case with Luanne Toms and Jonny Rowe, who were instantly attracted to the inner-city loft that their friend bought six years ago. Back then the 76 sq m space in a former textile factory was a bare shell. It had an awkward old staircase that double-backed on itself, no storage and not a single light fitting. “The only thing in it was the bathroom and the industrial stainless-steel kitchen sink,” Luanne recalls. “But even then I loved its views and position.”
Fortunately for Luanne, the friend made the critical changes. She had the staircase swung around to run the entire length of the wall, floating it on a plinth at its base. A ceiling was installed on the underside of the mezzanine level to accommodate downlights in the kitchen. And a long row of cupboards was run along the edge of the mezzanine area, which was perfect for both storage and a display unit, and for creating privacy from downstairs.
Sell the Apartment
Then, three years ago, when the friend decided to sell the apartment, Luanne jumped at the opportunity and snapped it up immediately. It was perfect. It could function as both a living space and an office for the busy stylist and creative director and her partner Jonny, who sources product for an interiors emporium. Luanne also loved the fact the area was “quietly gentrifying”, and attracting more design and creative types.
Although the major work had already been done, Luanne chose a new colour scheme of dark matte parquetry floors and contrasting crisp white walls, which are a perfect canvas for the couple’s furniture and art. Luanne has a sharp eye for design and a tendency towards modern, pared-down interiors, a result of early influences – her mother worked for a furniture import company. “I grew up with European contemporary furniture,such as stainless kitchen set, bathroom set, chairs, tables, and shelves” she says, “so I developed an early and lasting love of modern design.” On the other hand, Jonny grew up on a farm. His is an earthy, irreverent sensibility, with a love for all things eclectic. As a result, in the couple’s home you’ll find a Le Corbusier leather chaise longue alongside a humble timber bench; woven chairs next to a slick chrome-and-glass table, and a sleek white freestanding staircase alongside a ball-and-claw-leg table.
Even their artwork reveals this dichotomy, with a masculine, pixellated portrait of Luanne, by friend Varenka Paschke, hung near a charcoal drawing of an aloe, by Kurt Pio. “In many ways, while my style is hard and masculine, Jonny’s is more classic and soft,” Luanne says.
Of their collective style, Luanne “edits” and Jonny “adds”. “We have styling stand-offs where we’ll move things and tweak a look endlessly. It’s a bit like a game of chess, only much more infuriating,” Luanne laughs.
Without a doubt, this ever-changing, tightly edited, small, but perfectly formed loft apartment was a fortuitous, friendly find indeed!