The Weekly Review
19th May, 2014
By Beverley Johanson
Little Projects developments are distinctive, interesting pieces of architecture, design by such leading practices as Cox Architecture, Rothelowman and Plus Architecture. Interiors are meticulously designed and considered, creating homes that are glamorous, efficient and a pleasure to live in.
There was tremendous attention to detail when creating the interiors of ILK South Yarra, the company’s flagship building in the Forrest Hill precinct of South Yarra. “The cabinetry was designed like that of a super yacht,” says Little Projects director Michael Fox, who worked closely with the interiors arm of the building’s designer, Cox Architecture, to get the living spaces right.
“We spent hours and hours on the kitchen. Every bit of space is used and the cabinetry is beautifully crafted.” It is detail like this that enhances the atmosphere of glamour in the ILK building – stylish cabinetry that allows the beautiful lines of the apartments to shine, without day-to-day clutter.
“We even devised a place to put bits and pieces when you come home – a place for keys, phone and coat. We put a lot of thought into things like that,” Fox says.
Colours are luxurious, with tones of cream, sable, mink, chocolate and charcoals. ILK’s sister building, Central South Yarra, has allowed potential buyers to almost try the interiors before choosing one. The display suite featured a virtual tour by having images of the interiors before choosing one. The display suite featured a virtual tour by having images of the interiors projected floor-to-ceiling.
“You could almost place yourself inside the apartment and you got to appreciate the view as well,” Fox says.
The projections morphed from the light colour scheme to the darker alternative.
The kitchens at Central South Yarra will be a joy to use, although with the range of restaurants and coffee shops on the doorstep, it might be a while before residents feel like cooking. Sleek and uncluttered, these are timeless designs. One has sections defined by dark against light. Overhead cupboards are white in a grey recess while the island bench is grey stone over white cupboards. It is a clever and subtle way of making a design statement without being overwhelming.
“The key interior approach is to create a very lovely, elegant palette of high-end materials,” says Craig Yelland of Plus Architecture, who worked on the Central South Yarra interiors. “We also make sure that the colours can work with anybody’s furniture and art.”
Fox says Little Projects’ apartments are constantly evolving, with each new project improving on what has worked well before.
“With each project, we try to deliver the best possible product to the market,” he says.
The range of fixtures and fittings has increased enormously in the eight years that Little Projects has been building apartments.
“The variety is far greater – and fashions have changed,” Fox says. “We now have mainly timber floors rather than carpet. We have stone benchtops in the kitchen, and kitchens and bathrooms are fully tiled. Natural light is also given more importance.”
Fox visited EuroCucina this year, the kitchen section of the huge Italian home exhibition that is Milan Design Week. “There is a big move to timber,” he says, “with some fantastic synthetic finishes and veneers. Textured stainless steel is interesting and stainless steel with a bronze, patterned finish. There was a lot more detail in the finishes.”
Kitchens that can be hidden may also make their way into Little Projects’ apartments.
“You pull a door right across and it hides everything,” Fox says. “The kitchen goes away.”
Storage is something else Little Projects pays close attention to. Kitchens in the Tip Top project in Brunswick East are finely tailored to not only maximise space, but to do so in a way that makes them pleasant and efficient to use.
There are various configurations, but all have stone benches, Smeg appliances and generous spaces in cupboards and drawers. Cupboards have soft-close doors and some kitchens are fitted with a pull-out pantry. Storage has also been well considered in the bathrooms, and some apartments have generous linen cupboards. Storage cages and over-bonnet storage take care of bulky items.
“The design of furniture has also come a long way in the past few years,” says Fox. “There is now a lot more appropriate furniture for apartments.”