This Renovated Loft Has Brilliant Built-In Storage and Plywood Shelves

published Aug 28, 2023

This Renovated Loft Has Brilliant Built-In Storage and Plywood Shelves

published Aug 28, 2023
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Lauren Bruce is a communications manager at Visit Victoria and also studying interior design at RMIT. Her wife, Hannah McNéill is civil engineer who works on the Metro Tunnel Project. And in 2020, when the couple saw an apartment for sale in a well-known building in Melbourne’s Fitzroy area, they snagged the spot for themselves and their dog, a “groodle” named Rosie.

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“I love the warehouse conversion, it always promises interesting character and elements such as concrete columns and floors, high ceilings, exposed beams, and great brickwork. And our apartment has this fantastic large north-facing window which is great for all our plants,” Bruce explains.

But the couple’s home story has had its ups and downs. “The unique story is that our place flooded in 2021 in the middle of lockdown, about six months after I bought it,” Bruce begins. “We were out of the place for nine months, in Airbnbs all over Fitzroy, while we worked out insurance claims, and the insurer selected a builder (which you have to go with) etc.”

“So we had a lot of downtime to work out what was possible within the budget and other constraints to rebuild the ground floor, which is the living room, dining room, and kitchen. My wife Hannah is a civil engineer and also very handy. So using my rough and drawn sketches and our many conversations about it as a base, Hannah used SketchUp to draw how we wanted the place.

“Hannah was able to use her SketchUp drawing to show the builders exactly what we wanted and how we wanted it. And that’s why you see so much plywood around — we’re both obsessed with plywood and open shelving,” Bruce continues.



  • Armchair — Tessa
  • Sofa — Custom-made cushions, built in plywood base
  • TV — Samsung Frame
  • Shelving — Custom plywood shelving featuring boxes made by Like Butter
  • White ‘Encel Brains’ amplifier — Encel
  • Coffee table — Custom-made by Hannah
  • Arch clock — Gumtree
  • Pots — Mr. Kitly


  • Stool / plant stand — Found in hard rubbish
  • Ficus tree — Bought from a retail store in Clifton Hill where it had grown to that height inside – we had to get removalists to help move it in!
  • Table and bench — Coco Flip
  • Pendant light — Takeawei Ceramics


  • Kettle and toaster — Alessi 
  • Kitchen pendant light — About Space
  • Stools — TH Brown (from grandfather’s axe)
  • Shelves — Built by Hannah!
  • Linen Noren curtain — Pop and Scott 
  • Prints — David Shrigley


  • Bedside boxes — Like Butter 
  • Linen — Bed Threads
  • Art — Shabana Jacobson 

Thanks Lauren!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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