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Extensive alts and adds were carried out to a Victorian terrace within a strict heritage conservation area of Surry Hills. Council were keen to not only retain the character of the street facing facade, but also to keep the rear laneway facade largely intact. Poor south facing orientation to the rear, meant that the little courtyard was dark and overshadowed by the terrace itself. Existing living rooms and the kitchen were equally dark, poorly ventilated and damp.

Originally three bedrooms, the only bathroom was tiny, and would not suit the needs of a young family of four. The clients brief was to accommodate an active lifestyle having abundant storage for bikes, camping gear and sports equipment. A home to display artwork and furniture collected from years spent living in different countries around the world – and a piano. Light filled spaces, seamless indoor out door living and great places to entertain were a must. The proposal retains the existing rear form of the terrace, but ‘hollows’ it out internally. A study mezzanine, is created within this new double height space and the roof is dramatically fully glazed – flooding natural light into the middle of the home.

Hi performance solar control glazing and an external blind, allow fine tuning of the internal climate. A mud room/laundry/WC is pushed to the back of the site abutting the rear laneway, and is connected to the main house via a ’storage’ hallway, with artwork displayed on the walls. This built form creates a new internal courtyard which can be accessed from the kitchen or the hallway. Bikes and muddy boots are brought in via the mud room, before entering into the main house.

New openings in dividing walls, have created open plan living areas, but care has been taken to retain the singular feel of each space (i.e. the cosy snug to the front of the house) by limiting the size of these openings, and inserting semi open built in furniture where doorways once were. On the first floor an existing bedroom has been transformed into a large family bathroom keeping many of the original features, including the original fireplace and hearth.

A space efficient spiral staircase leads to a new attic level/kids retreat – with two bedrooms for the boys, the front overlooking their school below. The double height space is further enhanced by a glazed slice in the rear wall, with automated awning and casement windows which again control cross flow ventilation in and around the whole house.

The original Kauri pine floor boards were sanded and finished with a clear matt oil to highlight the beauty of the timber. Underfloor heating warms the new concrete slab beneath the kitchen and flows onto the hardwood deck adjacent.

Builder: Studio Constructions

Photographer: Huw Lambert

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