An Artists’ DIY-Renovated, Scandi-Inspired Sydney Apartment
When looking to buy a property in inner-city Sydney, artists Micke Lindebergh and Kris Andrew Small saw a lot of apartments that ‘just had nothing going for them.’
Finally, they discovered this converted warehouse apartment in Surry Hills with beautiful floors, and enough potential to create the home they were envisioning.
‘We had stayed at a really nice motel in Byron Bay — that was kind of the inspiration for the apartment,’ explains Micke. ‘When we saw this, it seemed like our best option to make that work. The entrance is through a courtyard full of plants, so it definitely stood out from other apartments just for that alone.’
Micke and Kris moved into the apartment in February 2022, and got to work immediately painting the ‘90s kitchen cabinetry in Dulux Lucea.
‘‘The kitchen was looking a little sad, so we thought a bright colour would fix it,’ says Micke. ‘We didn’t want to spend loads of money and waste loads of things by just replacing it like so many people do, so we tried to freshen it up… I’m not sure we even thought about it so much, it just seemed like an obvious thing to do.’
They painted some of the existing kitchen handles red, and replaced others with circular timber handles from So Watt. ‘We also replaced the splash back with the wood so it would feel a little more natural and less clinical with the stainless steel surface,’ says Micke.
Kris and Micke proceeded to paint the remaining rooms (including the hallway in Dulux Dandelion Yellow), change light fixtures, and design new timber cabinetry built by BW Interior Solutions.
‘Originally the apartment had very little storage apart from an old, very ugly wardrobe. We took all of that down as well as some small joining walls and had new custom wood wardrobes and cupboards built for storage, and also to bring some natural elements into the house,’ says Micke.
Naturally, as artists, art is a key feature of Micke and Kris’ home. ‘We wanted it to feel more like a gallery than a house,’ says Micke.
Most of the artworks have been created by the couple themselves, in addition to prized works by Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, brought from overseas. ‘We moved from The Netherlands to Australia and had one suitcase each and the two Jordy van den Nieuwendijk paintings bubble wrapped with us — that’s how much we cared about them!’
Micke and Kris’ extensive sneaker collection only adds to the vibrant colour scheme. ‘Kris designed a whole collection for Adidas last year, so obviously they need to be displayed … But we have both always had a bit of a shoe obsession,’ Micke says.
Kris and Micke describe their renovated home as lush but lo fi, and colourful but not kitsch.
‘I feel like all the best things we did in the house we didn’t really think about too much, we just went for it,’ says Micke. ‘We wanted it to feel a bit Scandinavian and a bit Australian, so I think there is a mix of that somehow.’
The couple appreciate living in a centrally-located apartment close to their work — a lifestyle that seems only natural to them after years of living in Europe.
‘I’m from Sweden and Kris lived in Europe for a long time, so we always wanted to live somewhere where we didn’t need a car to get around,’ says Micke.
‘I love that when I leave the house I’m already where I want to be.’