Funky, fab apart­ments

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jessica Howard Email

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.ware­hausapart­ for more de­tails.

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