It’s not often we hear of an Australian tenant undertaking renovations to the residential property they’re renting, but if this project is anything to go by, maybe we should!

Prior to a renovation by Ohlo Studio, this Cottesloe apartment (a beachside suburb about 12 kilometres west of Perth’s CBD) was basic and uninspiring, but its location and ocean views made it the ideal rental property. 

With plans to rent the home for another five years, the tenant asked the landlord for permission to cosmetically renovate the living area and bedrooms, and an agreement was made. (By the way, new laws have just come into effect in Victoria making modifications to all rental properties a little easier!) 

‘There was some negotiation, but my client was making improvements, so the landlord was happy,’ says Ohlo Studio director Jen Lowe.

Ohlo Studio’s job was to vastly improve the apartment, without spending large sums on the base build. Aesthetically, the client was after a’ ‘Sydney art deco meets Palm Springs mid-century’ look with a ‘seaside eclectic’ feel and ‘slightly masculine edge.’ 

‘We were concerned this could turn into scrambled eggs, so we pulled elements from these references without being too literal,’ Jen says. ‘The major inspirations were the seaside location, exposure to vast blue skies, the client himself, and the opportunity to have some fun.’

Ohlo replaced the faux timber vinyl floors, unattractive exposed electrical solutions, and damaged finishes with an entirely new interior scheme. Maximum impact was achieved by relocating the main areas of activity (the dining area, lounge room, and TV area) in accordance with the property’s best views, and installing a cost-effective bold floor tile. Wall colours meanwhile were darkened, new carpets installed, light fittings upgraded, and dimmers added throughout the home, without disrupting existing services locations. 

Much of the project budget was allocated to furniture and decor pieces intended to stay with the client for many years. These include statement designer items, alongside those less expensive, such as simple locally-made steel shelving by Remington Matters. The coffee and dining tables were also custom made by this designer, providing the client with unique pieces, while introducing timbers and forms specific to the apartment’s scheme.

‘When our client relocates in five years time, he will have a great furniture and art collection that will age well, and the cost of the fit-out spread over the five years will have been economical for the use and impact it provided,’ Jen says.

Visit this home today and it has a completely new atmosphere not only beneficial to the client, but also the landlord, who will benefit from the updated apartment for decades to come. Jen says, ‘It has transitioned from a rundown student rental feel to a refined, relaxed place of respite and joy.’ 

A rental property completed transformed by Ohlo Studio! Photo – Patrick Schuttler

Ohlo Studio took the rundown Cottesloe rental and turned it into a ‘Sydney art deco meets Palm Springs mid-century’ space, without making any structural changes. Photo – Patrick Schuttler

Ohlo replaced the faux timber vinyl floors, unattractive exposed electrical solutions, damaged finishes with an entirely new interior scheme. Photo – Patrick Schuttler

Much of the project’s budget was allocated to furniture and decor that will stay with the client for many years. Photo – Patrick Schuttler

Simple, inexpensive, but punchy steel shelving by Remington Matters. Photo – Patrick Schuttler

The lighting budget was allocated to occasional lighting wherever possible to reduce down lighting, create a moody atmosphere, and utilise the apartment’s existing electrical work. Photo – Patrick Schuttler

Magis Officina Armchair and Ottoman. Artwork by John Price Siddon. Photo – Patrick Schuttler

Hanging artwork by John Price Siddon. Photo – Patrick Schuttler

Locally-made and design steel bedside tables by Remington Matters. Photo – Patrick Schuttler

Wall colours were darkened, new carpets installed, and light fittings upgraded throughout. Shelving made by Remington Matters. Photo – Patrick Schuttler

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