Tucked away in the industrial fashion hub of Byron Bay, Apartamento by Australian fashion label St. Agni, creates a space our minimalist dreams are made of. Designed with neutral tones and accented with natural materials, you’re just 5 minutes by car, or if you want to do as the locals do, a 12 minute bike ride so the main st of Byron Bay.
There is something in the air in this much loved holiday designation, but Apartamento is much more than your typical short term rental, as you ascend the cool concrete stairs to the light filled space, it has a way of reminding you to take a moment, drop your shoulders, exhale, and unwind, all while providing you with a very instagrammable backdrop.
We chat to St Agni co-founder Lara Fells about why they decided to add a rental apartment to their brand portfolio, how they went about the design process and how it differs from how they approach designing their collections, plus get her local tips on the itinerary you need to follow.
St Agni’s Apartamento is a lovely addition to the brand, what made you decide to add a studio style airbnb to your brand umbrella?
We were seeking a new building to relocate our Boutique and HQ and we stumbled across a rundown boat building shed. The building had great bones, industrial concrete floors with 10 meter high ceilings but awkwardly attached to the front of the building was a four bedroom unit. As soon as we had a viewing of the property we were redesigning the layout in our minds. We split the unit into a two bedroom apartment upstairs and a coffee shop downstairs. My husband Matt and I always talked about having a Bed & Breakfast or accommodation of some kind, so it’s been such a pleasure to fulfil that dream on a smaller scale with Apartamento. I really enjoy hosting people and extending the St. Agni experience to that next touch point.
Did you design the space yourself or engage with a designer? What are your favourite details of the space?
We worked with Harley Graham Architects for the structure of the building and replaced the old windows for steel framed crittall windows. I worked with a friend Lia Belle from Worn Store on the interior details. I really love the kitchen, I find kitchens can often feel quite cold and culinary - our goal was to make the kitchen/lounge/dining work seamlessly together as one space. I also really love the bathroom with the floor to ceiling tile work, they are really beautiful and, in a sense, nostalgic – my grandmother had really similar tiles in her house.
The aesthetics of the overall space is perfectly balanced, could you please tell us about the materials used and designers you approach when creating this space?
The space originally had vinyl flooring, which we pulled up and found an industrial looking concrete slab. To balance the cold feeling of the floors we used timber and brass accents to add warmth to the space. We painted the walls with Dulux feather soft, it’s such a beautiful colour that ties everything together perfectly to align with St. Agni’s minimal aesthetic. We sourced an Armadillo rug that had a similar tone to the concrete floor and complemented this with the off-white boucle lounge and neutral linen beds.
Sustainable fabrications and practices play a big role in the St. Agni design process, has this also influenced how you have approached designing Apartamento? If so, how?
The design principles we use within St. Agni remained the same when designing Apartamento. I love working with raw or natural fibres and always take this into account when purchasing pieces. We used 100% cotton boucle to reupholster the sofa that we upcycled from Gumtree. The rugs we selected are 100% wool and the timber pieces are sustainably sourced.
What would be on your must do itinerary when visiting Byron Bay?
- Comma > https://commaspaces.com/pages/byron
- Little Company > https://littlecompany.com.au/
- Nimbus > https://www.nimbusco.com.au/
- Edwards & Co > https://edwardsandco.com.au/
- Raes on Wategos - for a special lunch or dinner, or Raes Cellar Bar for a casual cocktail.
- The Top Shop - Perfect lunch on a sunny day
- Bayleaf Café – Amazing for breakfast
- Kouzina - Ideal for a Greek feast – also opposite Apartamento - Road House - For breakfast, lunch or dinner- Daily Counter - (just downstairs) for coffee and bagels