A beachside apartment renovation that maximizes the views

A beachside apartment renovation that maximizes the views

Sitting pretty above the bustling esplanade of Dunedin’s beachside suburb of St Clair, this third floor apartment underwent an extensive renovation.  Interior designer Talia O’Connor from MintSix Interiors was called in to help create a contemporary, light-filled space suitable for her client’s young family.

The apartment boasts one large open-plan zone along with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a euro laundry.  To achieve a unified layout, Talia developed a cohesive overall colour palette, with custom joinery throughout.  Zones were defined within the open plan space through carefully arranged seating and statement lighting. “My trick to achieve good flow is to have plenty of empty or negative space around each of these areas.”


Talia’s number one priority was to maximize the spectacular ocean views. “My clients wanted to be able to enjoy it from all the common areas as well as in the master bedroom and ensuite, where switchable privacy glass was added. With the flick of a switch, the glass transitions to opaque and you can shower looking at the ocean in full privacy – bliss!”

The switchable glass enables the ocean to be seen all the way from the other end of the apartment.  Motorised blinds were also installed in extrusions in the ceiling, making them invisible when not in use, so that nothing would obstruct the view in any way.
181129_Simmers_0481Striking ocean views above the Esplanade, Dunedin’s beachside suburb of St Clair. 

Talia used a selection of statement pendants to define zones within the living, dining and kitchen spaces.  She chose a Douglas and Bec multi arm pendant above the dining table; the lounge pendant is by Resident and the three grey pendants over the kitchen are by Muuto.

Hidden LED strip lighting also plays a part throughout the home, for example in the shadow gap along the length of the ceiling in the hallway, in the kitchen and within the custom-made joinery.

“Lighting is such an important consideration for me at the planning stage of any new build or renovation,” says Talia. “Achieving the right balance between task, ambient and accent lighting is critical.”

A neutral colour palette was on the client’s wish list and Talia complemented this with brushed brass and matte black details; dark and light oak; and Carrara marble.  Colour punctuates the space through the accessories and the client’s unique collection of artwork.

Custom joinery is another standout feature in the home.  This was collaboration between Talia and Taylormade Joinery, a local craftsman that Talia often teams up with in her work.

“I love designing unique joinery and especially enjoy working with the skilled team at Taylormade that help bring my designs to life. The use of both dark and light oak veneers alongside the statement marble gives the joinery a distinctive and luxe look.”


Talia’s goal for the front of the apartment was to “celebrate the view and create a feeling of calm and relaxation.”

Talia specified an Escea DL850 gas fireplace on the side wall and added Carrara Statuarietto marble along with the hearth and fire surround.

“Very early in the design process we decided to have a marble hearth running the full length of the room to tie into the marble used in the kitchen and to double as seating to enjoy the view from another perspective.   As with most of my designs we added feature custom shelving – in this case on the other side of the fire - for the family to display their favourite objects, photographs and books.”


Storage is cleverly added beneath the hearth, which is raised above the floor, giving the illusion of a floating hearth, accentuated by LED down-lighting.

For Talia, a fireplace is a must – especially living in Dunedin. “I love the ambience they create and designing joinery for this area is one of the favourite parts of my job.”


She also has some advice for incorporating one into a design “When a fire is lit it tends to draw the eye and become the focal point – so it needs to be the main design feature. Ensure you’ve allocated some funds for it in your budget right from the planning stage.” 

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