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Texture and tone in a converted chocolate factory

Texture and tone in a converted chocolate factory

Earthen Warehouse sees the transformation of a 1980s converted MacRobertson chocolate factory warehouse apartment into a family home.

Designed by Splinter Society for a young family, the activity-driven spatial layout of Earthern Warehouse provides a diverse and cohesive design solution. The part industrial, part natural earthy aesthetic creates a sophisticated yet warm and homey inner city living environment.

To transform an unremarkable rectangular volume on a small budget, a simple, high-impact spatial solution rationalised the program of the project. The three bedrooms are located to the south, connecting children to active communal courtyard gardens at the centre of the apartment development.

Open living spaces are pushed to the single north window, while food service and quiet working/music spaces sit centrally.

Earthenware House by Splinter Society

At this central point, a raised floor was introduced to allow for a large HVAC system as well as to introduce a sophisticated materiality to the private section of the home. As a result, this enabled a vertical programmatic separation and created a dynamic spatial experience.

While retaining the distinct warehouse architectural framework, the spaces are distinguished by soft rustic tones and highly textured design exploring the clients’ interest in adobe construction, having lived in Southern California.

Combining the two influences, a gentle curved wall flows through the newly revealed warehouse shell. The warm tone of the wall draws from the colour of the brickwork in the warehouse space. Detail through the kitchen and bathrooms use heavily textured surfaces, rough-sawn timber and handmade tiles adding a warmth through the industrial interiors.

Earthenware House by Splinter Society

This bare shell is serviced via feature timber ductworks and exposed cables to complete the soft industrial expression. With a palette focused on raw and natural materials, a compilation of natural pigment earth renders, acoustic strawboard, recycled Oregon beams, papier-mâché pendants and lime paints provide a healthy and sustainable internal environment.

Within a small footprint and a fixed budget, the Earthen Warehouse brings a distinct sense of warmth and a flexible plan to an inner-city family home, celebrating its warehouse context.

Project details

Architecture and interiors – Splinter Society
Photography – Sharyn Cairns

Earthenware House by Splinter Society
Earthenware House by Splinter Society
Earthenware House by Splinter Society
Earthenware House by Splinter Society


Gillian Serisier

Gillian Serisier is an editor-at-large for Indesign Media Asia Pacific, where she covers all corners of design and art across the Habitus and Indesign network. Gillian has contributed to many outstanding publications, and her extensive knowledge and sharp words make for compelling storytelling.