Spectacular Sky Home

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Many people dream about downsizing from a larger home to a luxury ocean-side apartment, but few have made the transition with as much panache as Gold Coast developer Dennis Hughes.

Years of experience managing big development projects and countless hours spent on boats, meant Dennis drew on his innate design know-how when renovating his own four-bedroom apartment in the Carmel by the Sea complex at Broadbeach.


Although the high-rise unit had classic ‘good bones’, boasting two enormous balconies and 180 degree views to the north and east, Dennis wanted to give the 325m2 apartment a major facelift to bring it into a 21st century.

During a four-month renovation, leading Gold Coast builders Newnham Constructions gutted the apartment and – in close consultation with Dennis – set about achieving the dramatic transformation.

The apartment’s original dated layout was reconfigured to create light, open, spacious zones that flow seamlessly from room to room, while maintaining quiet, hidden nooks throughout the unit which serve as private relaxation spaces.


The real centerpiece is the luxury open-plan chef’s kitchen with stunning island bench. It’s in stark contrast to the original kitchen which was dark, small and closed in, the new configuration enabling easy flow-through to dining and casual seating areas. The space boasts Miele appliances, oodles of wide soft-close drawers and a discreet automated retractable range hood, but the best accessory of all, is the stunning coastal vista, fully maximised by the new kitchen layout and wrap-around windows.

“It’s excellent. The builders have done a fantastic job,” says Dennis, as he explains the key features of his new sky home.


“We wanted to gut the whole thing and start again. You can’t do a half renovation; you must do it all and I always intended to do it that way. We removed all the old furniture and flooring and kept a bit of gyprock and cornice, but other than that, it’s a totally new apartment.”

Dennis says his newly renovated apartment is his sanctuary, the apartment block’s amenities including pools, sauna and tennis court, enhancing the lifestyle.

“I sold a house on Sovereign Islands because I was sick of living in a big home, and I thought I’d try unit living, and so far, it’s great,” Dennis says. Close proximity to the area’s trendy restaurant and bar scene is another advantage of his new address. 

“I can walk to Broadbeach and have a nice dinner; have a drink without worrying about driving; and I get on the tram and can go to the hospital or wherever I want to go. It’s close to the beautiful new Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, the casino, the convention centre. I think this is one of the best unit developments in the area.”


Newnham Constructions project manager Shane Newnham says his client wanted a high standard of finish in the apartment, opting for ultra-slick high-gloss cabinetry, built-in glass shelving, sensor lighting and porcelain floor tiles throughout.

“As the project progressed, Dennis came up with ideas and we did our utmost to accommodate them into the design, so that we could achieve the exact result he wanted,” Shane says.

“We carried out all the construction works to this apartment: we stripped out the whole apartment, knocked out walls, frames, re-did the water-proofing etc.

“On items that we needed outside contractors, we researched thoroughly, and were able to find sub-contractors that not only did a great job but kept us on time and budget.

“I love the way we’ve been able to change the whole mood of the apartment by opening it all up. The colour range adds to the space aesthetic as well.” 

Dennis, who admits he’s a stickler for neatness, is especially satisfied with the expansive main bedroom with its breathtaking ocean views and sublimely-organised storage. The ‘his’ and ‘hers’ walk-in robes are enormous and the clever addition of two custom-built shoe cupboards provides angled display shelving for more than 80 pairs of shoes.  

The spacious ensuite bathroom was also extensively renovated, the builders installing a new sliding door to provide access to a breezy private side balcony. The bathroom also features heated towel racks, a high-tech bidet toilet and a huge wheelchair-accessible shower stall.

Even the wedge-shaped laundry room – positioned a little way off the unit’s entry hallway – is a pleasant space to occupy, with a generous clothes sorting bench, space-saving nautical-inspired shelves and drying racks big enough for sheets and towels.


Throughout the apartment, Dulux vivid white on the walls provides a striking backdrop for the owner’s modern art work, while accents of powder blue and grey strike a contemporary note in the main living areas.

With six children and nine grandchildren, Dennis jokes that the pristine white walls may not be ‘child-proof’ but there’s certainly plenty of space to accommodate the extended family, with guest rooms showcasing fresh white linen, sleek blinds from Kresta, plush beds and fixed wall TV’s. 

“The apartment is great for entertaining,” Dennis says. “I did a lot of research before I purchased. I wanted a unit with balconies that were big enough to accommodate family and friends.”

Builder Shane Newnham says gutting and renovating older apartments is a growing trend, giving owner-occupiers who have the right budget, the scope to create an ultra-modern home.

“Throughout the entire project we make sure the client knows what the building costs will be, especially if there are any changes, so that they can keep track of their expenditure,” Shane explains.

He says simple savings were made by retaining the original neutral wall tiles in the main bathroom and building a new dual basin top above an existing bathroom cabinet which was still in good condition.

“We also retained the unit’s original windows that had white frames, which matched in well with the new fittings and fixtures,” Shane says. “It makes sense to economise on some areas and spend more on key living zones where you spend the most time.”

With an ever-growing portfolio of cutting edge renovation and construction projects to their name, this latest production from Newnham Constructions looks set to stand the test of time, exemplifying the company’s mission to achieve quality, durability, style and functionality in every building venture.

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