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Two Apartment House - The Ground Floor Apartment

Posted Friday, July 22, 2016
One of the things I have always liked about visiting my mother’s family in Germany has to be the houses. So many European houses have this cosy, loved, familiar feel to them that I find so welcoming.

Another special thing about the houses, to me – and one of the things that really differentiates their residences to ours - is that so many are multi-dwelling residences. I don’t mean big apartment complexes, but houses. My uncle’s old farmhouse has been divided into two homes, one family upstairs and one downstairs. Another uncle, aunt and cousin of mine live in the upper floor of this lovely freestanding building in a little forest. There are three families living in this one building. And in the city, there are more and more of these free-standing multi-dwelling buildings, closer together and with smaller gardens than their country counterparts, but still with the same concept: more home, more families, on a smaller footprint.

The lovely owner and designer of Etica Studio, Carla Karsakis, at home with Yoko, her Mastiff x Ridgeback "sook"! Photos by Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography.

Carla was kind enough to grab us, coincidentally, my all-time favourite cake from Mrs S - this honeycomb creme brulee cake. Yoko also appreciated it. 

A photoshoot Heather and I hugely enjoyed! (And no, not just because there was cake, although that's always nice). Photography by Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography

Although we obviously have large apartment buildings here in Perth, it’s less common to find small multi-dwelling residences. It’s like almost everyone wants a house-house, with no neighbours directly above or directly on the other side of a wall. While I most certainly understand the allure of a whole building just for oneself, urban planners seem to be in agreement that we can’t keep building houses the way we did in the 1950s. 

Directions 2031 is a Metropolitan Strategic Plan for Perth that sets up the planning framework to accommodate our city’s growing population. Its researchers have forecasted that Perth’s population will increase by more than half a million people (to 2.2 million) by 2031. To put that into perspective, in 2014 Perth had 2.02 million people. So that’s half a million more in the space of just 15 years!) The researchers say we need to plan for urban consolidation. “Directions 2031 seeks a 50 per cent improvement on current infill residential development trends of 30 and 35 per cent; and have set a target of 47 per cent or 154,000 of the required 328,000 dwellings as infill development.”

As our population increases and more people want to live closer to the city, but can’t afford the price of inner-city land or the price of building a traditional house, we need to think differently about how we approach building. But as a community, it feels like we are not quite there yet.

Which is partly why I find the house I’m sharing with you today so cool – and ahead of the Perth curve! Built on a tiny inner-city infill block just 200sqm in size, it’s a house that has been designed to comfortably accommodate two sets of occupants.

It’s called Two Apartment House, and it is the new home of Etica Studio building designer Carla Karsakis and her husband Ben, an urban designer at Creative Planning and Design. And it is freaking awesome!

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How to Drill Holes In Your Walls (and our Pantry Re-Makeover)

It is one of the most basic DIY skills but one of the things I have never been comfortable doing on my own is drilling holes in my walls to hang up pictures and shelves.

Yes, people often mistakenly presume that because I write a blog called House Nerd that I am inherently practical and handy. I am actually more flaky and useless. My worst ...

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WA Architecture Awards 2016

Last night was a celebration of Western Australia’s best architecture with the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2016 WA Architecture Awards.

Held at Crown Perth’s Grand Ballroom, the Awards celebrated excellence in the design and construction industry. The WA Architecture Awards is one of my favourite events of the year but I am presently ...

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The Woodbridge Weatherboard Renovation

It was dilapidated, needed love and had slowly deteriorated to the point that almost none of the doors and windows could be closed properly. But there was something mesmerising about the old weatherboard cottage that drew young couple and serial renovators Nat and Trent Huckerby to buy it, with the dream of renovating it and turning it into a ...

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Dream Houses and Superdraws

Renovating our house in stages - saving up for each project as we go and doing it over the years - has not always been easy, but it has definitely made us really appreciate each new change to our house as we’ve ticked it off the list. 

But when you feel like you are saving bit by bit for home projects, it can definitely be fun to dream bigger, ...

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Diary of an IKEA Kitchen Renovation

So we’ve now lived with our IKEA kitchen for a year and I thought it was about time I blogged a bit more about it and the renovation process – including all the sweat, blood and hormonal pregnancy tears!

You might remember last year a post I wrote when I was 25 weeks pregnant and Mr Nerd and I decided to do some renovations, which included ...

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Choosing Modern Paint Colours for Older Homes + Win Bauwerk Paint!

Whether it’s a cute character 1900s cottage, a not-so-cute 1980s villa or anything in-between, there are definitely a lot of you guys who are buying older homes and doing them up.

But when it comes to painting these houses, we don’t always want to re-paint them in the colours that were fashionable in the era the house was built. And why would ...

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The Eco-Friendly Small House in Maylands

I have been a fan of the houses of WA architect Ben Mountford for a while now. You might remember I did a story a few years ago on the renovation and extension he designed for this old Mt Hawthorn cottage, which won him an architecture award. His homes are cool; yet relaxed and liveable, different; but not pretentious, and every element is ...

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Jocelyn’s Gender Neutral Nursery Renovation

Sooo... a little confession from me. Little Nerd is now ten months old, I’m starting to think about the logistics of organising a small party for his first birthday (“If I let him loose on a chocolate cake, will he not sleep for the next three days?” etc) I write a blog called House Nerd AND I haven’t finished my baby’s nursery. Mmmm. Yes, I ...

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The Quirky 1940s Renovation

When first home buyer and building designer Janik Dalecki bought a dumpy little Maylands cottage, his friends thought he had lost the plot. “The house ticked all my boxes and I instantly saw what potential it had,” he says. “But family and friends thought I was crazy and said things like, 'it’s a bowl-over'!”

But Janik, who runs his own ...

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