Funky, fab apartments
CONVERTING former industrial sites into modern residential spaces seems to be a growing trend in Tasmania. In June, Booth& Watts took out the 2013 Tasmanian Architecture Awards People’s Choice prize for their fantastic inner- city warehouse renovation, Harrington House.
Another fine example of such a transformation is Katy and Tony Lowe’s WareHaus Apartments, located on the corner of Arthur and Brown streets in West Hobart.
The former Watts fish factory, built in the early 1900s, has gone from a commercial site, where the Watts family sold their wares up until three years ago, to four funky apartments which are attracting guests from across the world.
The Lowes bought the property just as a developer was renovating the former warehouse.
“We’d been looking for something like an old warehouse, something that was different because I think there’s already a lot of good accommodation that is colonial cottages and things like that, so we were after something with an edge to it, a bit funky, a bit different,” Katy said.
“So when we saw this in the development stages we thought it was very interesting.”
With help from Katy’s brother Adam Thorp and his son Elliot, the family- run business has been operating for 18 months and recently earned itself a nomination in this years’ Stayz Holiday Rental Awards.
The venture is something entirely new for Katy.
“I’ve got a background in ballet and music, so this is very different but in all those things you’re trying to do them to the best of your
ability and to create something that’s beautiful which people enjoy,” she said.
“This brings all the other threads of my life together.
“I think I see myself having this for quite some time, I just really love it.
“Everytime I walk in I just think ‘ this is fabulous, I would love to stay here.’ I have a real affection for the place.”
Varying from two to three bedrooms, the apartments all feature stunning open- plan living spaces with a mix of polished concrete and Tasmanian oak floors and interiors which retain the integrity and original features of the warehouse.
The extensive renovations also included making the property eco- friendly, with solar panels, double- glazing and triple insulation creating four efficient havens.
Eclectic furnishings are scattered throughout, such as the traffic lights found in the SmokeHaus ( the room where the fish were smoked) and the TownHaus.
“Tony’s always on the lookout for something a little bit quirky and he travels all around and came across these in a junk shop and got a sparkie to fix them up,” Katy explained.
Guests of all kinds – Spanish, Canadians, Americans, Chinese, Singaporians – have stayed at the ultra- cool accommodation, plus there is one long- term tenant set up in one of the apartments.
“It really has been fantastic and we have about a 85- 90 per cent occupancy rate across the board and a lot of that is thanks to MONA ( Museum of Old and New Art),” Katy said.
“People that go to MONA, I think, are looking for something a bit different and with an edge in where they stay.
“So we’ve had a few people who are getting married there or have come here to visit MONA who then stay here.”
Visit www.warehausapartments.com for more details.