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Couple transform their old laundry into a tiny California-inspired studio apartment on a budget

An Australian couple have transformed their old drab laundry into a stylish studio apartment with chic coastal-inspired furnishings.

Simon and Ash Vos from Coffs Harbour in northern New South Wales completed the Palm Springs inspired renovation within four months and aim to rent out the small apartment to assist with mortgage repayments.

Simon, who won the television show The Block with his brother in 2014, told FEMAIL the project cost $20,000 to finish as they had help from friends in the construction industry.

‘We needed to make sure we didn’t waste any space, because it’s a small room that’s only five metres wide and four metres long,’ Simon said.


The original dull-looking laundry had exposed yellow brick and sat at the front of the couple’s home.

Simon is a plumber by trade and has been in the industry for 14 years, while Ash has a keen eye for design.

During the initial design process, the pair bounced ideas off one another and considered what would work well, but due to the limited amount of space Simon said the layout was ‘obvious’.

‘We didn’t have a specific budget but knew we wanted to spend as little as possible, as we wouldn’t be living in the room ourselves,’ Simon said.

The studio apartment is ideal for one person or a couple as it has a queen-sized bed embedded into the back wall, a living space, a small kitchen and a skinny bathroom.

Simon said with any renovation, there’s always a three-step process involving planning the design, constructing the build and the final design process.

Initially the couple consulted a building designer in order to make it ‘easier’ to receive council approval prior to starting the build.

During the planning process, Simon and Ash had to consider the different zone areas in the one room to ensure the limited space was going to be used in the best possible way.

Simon had the idea to put the bed ‘off the frame’ and into the wall rather than in the room, and kept the bathroom in the same space to avoid spending additional costs on plumbing.

The couple also removed the side wall to add a small amount of extra room to place the couch in. 

The kitchen area has a decent amount of storage, a small fridge, sink and a large bench top with a rectangular horizontal window.

‘We wanted to let more light in so we decided to use a bifold servery window (which is a sliding window that extends outwards) to add extra bench space and also bring the outside in,’ Simon said.

‘We also thought about sound transferring between upstairs and downstairs, so we decided to use “soundchek” in the ceiling, which is a type of dense sound-insulated gyprock to reduce the amount of noise.

‘While it was expensive to install, it’ll be worth it later down the track,’ he said.

To save space on exposed appliances, the apartment also has underfloor heating that can be controlled by using the display screen or your phone.

Ash made the decision to purchase a white linen couch to match the white walls and décor in order to make the room seem bigger.

‘Dark colours contrast and tend to stand out more, so we chose light and white colours to make everything blend in together,’ Simon said.

When asked what advice he would give to others looking at completing a renovation, Simon said to ‘expect the plan to change’.

‘Towards the end of a project, there’s usually an “on the go design” because the original plan often changes,’ he said.

He also recommended creating a budget and sticking to it as much as possible in order to ensure no additional costs are spent.

The apartment is expected to appear on the market to rent out between $280 and $320 per week.


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