This classic Paddington terrace house has been lovingly transformed into an architectural masterpiece
From the front, it’s a classically beautiful Victorian terrace but beyond the front door,d it’s an architect’s dream of angular lines and open spaces
Three years ago, when Tom and Belinda purchased their classic three-storey Victorian terrace house in Sydney’s Paddington, it had lots of elements they loved but it was dark and uninviting. This predicament gave the couple some creative licence to build a modern marvel with the help of architect Steve Koolloos of MCK. “The brief was pretty simple,” says Steve. “It was a wonderful, large terrace house with all the right aspects, but it had been renovated in an ad hoc way and Tom and Belinda wanted to open it up and turn it into a family home.”
Renovating a Victorian terrace house usually means a battle to bring natural light into the centre of the dwelling. “Getting light, ventilation and a sense of space into a terrace can be hard,” says Steve. “Usually you’re limited to getting light in at either end of the property.” But this Paddington terrace had one out-of-the-ordinary advantage: a 1000mm-wide laneway running along one boundary from front to back, which Steve immediately saw as an opportunity. On the lowest level, the walls were pushed out to take the benefifit of this extra flfloor space. This level houses a snug family TV room, cleverly positioned on the south-facing side, and a large open-plan kitchen, dining area and living zone that flflows straight out through black steel-framed double-glazed bi-fold doors into the north-facing courtyard garden. “The deck is there to visually extend the living space; once the glass doors are open, the living area doubles in size,” says Tom. The feeling of space and light is boosted even further by the double-height space above the main living zone.
The side void extension continues upwards in glass, acting as a lightbox for the whole home. “The upper floors borrow light and the perception of space from the void, although we pushed into it for the bath in the master ensuite, and the staircase to the top flfloor,” says Steve. On street level are two bedrooms, a bathroom and laundry, while the top flfloor houses a master bedroom and ensuite, plus another large bedroom that gives onto a traditional lace-work balcony over the street. The views from the terrace are framed by a large tree in a neighbouring garden, yet it’s only a fifive-minute walk to Paddington’s shops and cafes, and in close proximity to Sydney’s CBD.
While Tom has very contemporary taste, inflfluenced by his commercial design work, his wife Belinda is a Hamptons girl at heart and her input gave a much more layered, textural approach to the fifinal result. The adjoining neighbouring wall, which was originally plastered, is a case in point. Tom made the call to expose it and had the surface cleaned and sealed. “It’s all about balancing materials,” he says. “There are lots of polished fifinishes – the white plasterboard and the black timber – so the sawn-cut wall of Oregon timber in the living area and the exposed brick in the hallway add a nice warmth.” Belinda’s favourite spaces are the master ensuite, with the luxurious freestanding bath, and the living area where the family spends most of their time.
One of the biggest challenges in the build were the existing trees on the site. The garden is home to a protected 20-metre tall eucalyptus tree. Engineers and an arborist were called in as part of the DA process, which resulted in the rear of the dwelling
being engineered to protect the root zone to conserve the tree. Architect Steve also had to design the building around a neighbour’s overhanging tree to allow room for it to grow, cutting into the width of the build upstairs. “The trees were a big part of how we ended up designing the house,” says Tom. They are complemented by the rich rusty tones of the Corten steel panelling, an element that Tom wanted from the very beginning. The raised pool in the garden was also Tom’s idea. “The idea for a raised swimming pool was born from rules and regulations,” he says. “If you raise the pool, you eliminate the need for a pool fence which also saves on flfloor space. We ended up with a heated bathtub but it’s perfect for getting the kids confifident in the water.”
The house feels modern, yet warm, with its material mix and layering of textures throughout. “Because Tom is a designer himself, the house turned out to be a great collaboration between his ideas and ours,” says Steve. “I love seeing it all work together,” says Tom. “We use every single level of the house.” For info on Tom and Belinda’s work at Juicy Design, visit juicydesign. com.au. See more of architect Steve’s work at mckarchitects.com. The builder was Lochbuild; visit lochbuild.com.au.Tom and Belinda have now moved onto a new home and project.