Skip to main content

Home visit: an open-plan layout for a fluid home

Warehouses are usually big, concrete boxes, designed for uses other than homes. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be changed into flexible spaces that flow with the rhythms of modern life.

An open-plan living room and work space with high ceilings and a wooden platform.
An open-plan living room and work space with high ceilings and a wooden platform.

“We didn’t set out to find a warehouse, we were looking for somewhere we could adapt to us,” say Kyra and Dave of the converted switchboard factory they share. Theirs is truly a live-work space, with living area, home office and photography studio combined on one half of the ground floor.

The size and shape of a warehouse can feel like a whole new set of dimensions compared with a traditional house. The lack of walls and open layout encourage you to plan your space differently. “We used the raised platforms that were already here to bring a sense of separation,” says Kyra. “The kitchen is my favourite area – cooking here and having friends over for dinner reminds me of how special it is.”

Bringing in natural elements, colour and some unexpected textures helps to offset the grittiness of the warehouse.

Kyra, Sydney

Even if a space isn’t always private, it can still feel personal. “Our bedroom is open to everybody coming in and out, but we’ve found ways to make it feel like ‘us’ without making friends, colleagues and people who don’t know us feel uncomfortable – we don’t need to have pictures of ourselves all over the walls,” says Kyra.

You don’t need an outdoor space to feel connected to nature. In their hallway, Kyra and Dave have added a fake grass runner underfoot and brought garden furniture indoors. They use the space to enjoy breakfast in the sun through their big bank of windows.

The ‘urban jungle’ trend grows in popularity. Inside their rustic outdoor shower room, Kyra and Dave added a mix of climbing plants and grasses to emphasise the back-to-nature look. “We wanted to make sure we had a very natural feeling out here, so we kept it really open and simple,” says Kyra. “It’s my favourite part of the house,” says Dave.

Finding a space that matches the fluid nature of our work and social lives gives us freedom.

Kyra, Sydney

“We’re embracing all the quirks of warehouse living,” says Kyra. “You learn to live with the downsides because the upsides are fantastic,” agrees Dave…

It’s a little rough around the edges “Things fall apart, the roof leaks, and there’s someone’s shopping list scribbled on the wall, but it all brings personality,” says Kyra.

It’s not the easiest place to clean “It really is a two-person job! You start in one place, and by the time you’ve worked your way around, it needs cleaning again,” says Dave.

It’s got its own climate “The temperature is almost uncontrollable. At night, it’s not an easy space to make cosy. But having one light on over the bed, when everything else is dark, shrinks your space and makes it feel much warmer,” says Dave.

On the ground level, the entryway leads to the photography studio, kitchen and living area. Their bedroom is part of the same space, and backs on to the living area, partitioned by the RISÖR room divider. Leading outside from their bedroom is the outdoor shower.

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Interior stylist: Carl Braganza
Photographer: Lisa Cohen
Follow Kyra on Instagram @kyrabartley
Follow Dave on Instagram @davecollinsphotography