A surprise mid-week trip in August saw our designer, Sophie, in Tasmania for a few days relishing in Hobart’s sandstone streetscapes, local produce, art and natural surrounds.
Staying at The Barn - a multi award winning barn conversion by architects Alex Nielsen and Liz Walsh and mainstay on our Airbnb bucket list - was an incredible experience within itself that reaffirmed her love of (and our dedication to) micro architecture and small footprint living.
Upon our return, Liz kindly shared her experiences about the complexities of restoring a heritage listed building and configuring a small space, their application of customised cabinetry and furniture selection, and the virtues of storage…
Why did you choose to renovate an existing structure rather than starting anew?
We fell in love with the existing structure, the sandstone, brick and timber had so much character and presence we want to add to that not detract from it. Also the Barn is heritage listed, it is considered a very well preserved example of its type, demolition was never an option or a consideration for us.
At 62 square meters, what challenges did you encounter working within the confines of such a small footprint?
62 square metres is quite a manageable size, small but manageable! The difficulty arose when trying to work with the original horse stalls. As a condition of our planning permit we were required to keep one of the stall in its original condition. Located in the centre of the ground floor the stall made it difficult to open up the floor plan. After experimenting with several configurations, we settled on converting the stall into a bathroom, centralising the services and opening up a double height volume to achieve a sense of space. True to the conditions of the permit our builder painstakingly demounted the existing stall structure, added services and additional support and reassemble like for like. It was quite a process, but we think the outcome was worth it.
Did the small space affect your selection of furniture, storage and cabinetry (custom built or otherwise)?
Due of the small foot print we had to be smart about incorporating as much storage as possible - small spaces rely on well designed storage to be successful. All of the cabinetry was designed by us and custom made to capitalise on every inch of space allowed. Our furniture selection was more organic, a mix and collected and new pieces. It was important that the space didn’t feel overcrowded and that each piece had enough space to breath. Where possible we have commissioned locally designed and made pieces, such as the dining chairs by Matt Prince and paired them with classics such as the Aalto stool and Hay ghost chair.
Did you live in the space prior to hosting it on Airbnb?
If so, what words of advice would you give others considering a small-scale residential project?
Our advice would be to use an architect, we are trained spatial thinkers and understand the complexity and requirements of small spaces. Aside from that - storage, storage, storage! Lastly find ways to be generous, your footprint might be tight but that doesn’t mean the spaces can’t explore volume, light and materiality.
You’ve recently launched #TheBaeTAS, another study in small space living. What is next for yourself and Alex?
Yes, we wanted to really test the limits of micro living - 26.5 meters squared! We are really happy with how it has come together. What’s next, a family home (we have a 4 month old) that explores landscape, materiality and sharing.
Inspired by The Barn, we have a curation a selection of our minimalist, modern storage pieces made for small-footprint living…
|Flor Planter||Cabine||Hang on Piccolo Coat Rack||Dedo Wooden Storage Box|
Some other moments from Hobart and surrounds...
Brunch at Pigeon Hole Cafe
|Mt Wellington||Hobart in bloom|