Seven years ago, Kim Lai and Tom Orton, founders of architecture practice We Are Humble were having little luck buying a property.
With few options in their price bracket and plans to move to New York City in the immediate future, the couple decided that buying an off-the-plan apartment from a reputable developer (Neometro) was their best course of action.
‘There was a huge boom of apartment development underway at the time, and it felt like developers were only just learning how to create projects that suited this area. This was one of them,’ Kim says. ‘We thought that buying something off-the-plan that would take a few years to be ready, but where we would be assured a certain level of quality and finish, was a good option.’
When looking at the available floorplans of this particular Fitzroy development, the couple had the option of choosing a smaller place with a view, or a larger place close to the street. They opted for the latter.
‘We made the decision to buy this particular one more for space than for view or aspect, and are glad we did,’ says Kim. ‘We love the big balcony and all the light that streams in…We can sit out there comfortably and have lunch, or clean the bikes, or whatever we want really, while still feeling like it’s very private from the street.’
While this apartment is relatively large for a one-bedroom apartment, Kim and Tom’s penchant for having items on display has been their biggest challenge in styling this space. ‘We love collecting things, and we’re not good at getting rid of things!’ Kim explains.
‘Honestly, our favourite pieces are our clothes and accessories… They say so much about who we are, and it’s one of the easiest forms of self expression,’ Kim says. ‘[We] tried to find a way that the wardrobe would feel just like a backdrop to the rest of the room.’
The couple’s favourite displays are their hanging row of caps collected on a road trip to every USA state (!) and what they call the ‘shoe-lution’ – a combination of concrete blocks and plywood sheet that keeps their sneakers looking tidy.
It might have been purchased off the plan, but this colourful little pad proves how personal details and a strong sense of style really can make a tiny city apartment zing with personality!