Australian House & Garden
Perfect Union An architect and heritage expert’s own beautifully refurbished terrace.
For this architect and heritage expert, renovating a Sydney terrace presented the opportunity to walk the talk – and live the dream.
Marrying old and new, this Victorian terrace in Sydney’s inner east is the ideal metaphor for the talents of its owners, Adam and Lucy Hampton, an architect and a heritage consultant, respectively. Not only is it a comfortable family home for them and their daughter Alice, four, it showcases their individual skills while proving that two wide-apart eras can cohabit in blissful harmony.
But an earlier renovation was sadly not simpatico. When the couple bought the three-level house in 2016, it had the proverbial “good bones”, but a 1960s renovation had stripped out its period detailing, with the original facade having been erased under aluminium windows and a closed-in balcony. Since then, the terrace had been virtually untouched and the intervening years as a rental property had not been kind.
“It was in desperate need of attention,” says Adam, who, with Lucy, could see plenty of potential. “The house provided us with an opportunity to merge heritage and contemporary architecture, and to contribute to the area by enhancing the streetscape.” And, a huge plus with future familylivinginmind,itboastedagenerous backyard – a rarity in this densely built-up heritage conservation area.
In a renovation that began in 2019 and took 10 months, the couple had wanted
“THE HOUSE PROVIDED US WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO MERGE HERITAGE AND CONTEMPORARY
ARCHITECTURE .” ADAM HAMPTON, ARCHITECT AND OWNER
to “restore the home’s historic character at the front while seamlessly joining it with a contemporary, warm and elegant rear extension,” says Lucy. Generous natural light and sightlines from one end of the house to the other, culminating in walls of glazing to soak up district views, would create a sense of flow and airiness.
They shaved off the hapless facade as well as the awkward additions at the back, leaving little more than the brick party walls on two sides. Wrought-iron balustrades, sash windows and tessellated tiles were reinstated at the front, so at first glance you could be forgiven for thinkingthishomeisanoriginalVictorian.
Butwalkinanduninterruptedsightlines from the front door take in old and new at one glance. The entry, on the home’s middle level, includes the living room to the right of the hall with the dining room and kitchen leading out to a terrace beyond. The lower-ground level accommodates one bedroom and the family room, which connects with the backyard and Adam’s studio at the rear of the block. The first floor contains three more bedrooms and a family bathroom.
A strikingly modern staircase forms the functional spine of the home. “Floating and with screening attached to the treads, and a skylight above, it’s certainly not a traditional Victorian staircase,” says Adam. Concealed storage and sliding doors that disappear into wall cavities ensure clean lines and uninterrupted flow between the spaces.
An artisan’s touch, typical of Victorian homes, pervades throughout. With Adam working on many period properties and Lucy being a heritage expert, it could never be otherwise. “We were ready to give it
the attention to detail it needed, with no cutting corners,” she says.
In the original section – which takes in the formal living room, dining room and main bedroom upstairs – the couple reinstated traditional architraves, cornices, ceiling rosettes, panelled doors and fireplaces. Contemporary materials, such as Carrara marble mantels and oak floors throughout, create visual links between old and new, while scale (in the form of tall doorways and deep skirtings) in the extension echoes the front.
“We wanted a neutral palette for the decorating, complemented by colour in the art and furnishings,” says Adam, with the starting point the show-stopping kitchen benchtop. “The Brescia marble is an eye-catching material that draws attention,” he says. “The warm palette within the stone – plum, grey, black, white, rust – guided other colour decisions, including the merlot sofa, burgundy rug and the pale-grey joinery.”
While most furnishings are refined to echo the home’s provenance, the couple also selected a few out-there pieces for an element of surprise, including a Moooi occasional chair in an animal print for the upstairs living room and a vibrant circular rug for the family room on the lower-ground floor. “The chair brings character and flair to the formal living room, while the rug adds colour and fun to the lower level,” says Lucy.
That rug is in tune with the garden beyond, which includes a sweep of circular lawn and bold burgundy foliage that adds some ‘zap’ to the dense greenery. “Careful plantings connect the interior and exterior spaces and the circular pattern softens the home’s right angles,” says Adam.
At the far end of the garden is one of the home’s most-used spaces: Adam’s studio. “We wanted the architecture business to be part of the home and, because of Covid-19, Lucy works from home too,” he says. The project was completed in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit. The studio’s garden setting neatly separates home and work environments.
This terrace displays Adam and Lucy’s talents to the full – what better proof of what they can achieve for their clients than this highly personal case study, blending old and new, work and family living? > Hampton Architecture, Sydney, NSW; hamptonarchitecture.com.au. Revolution
Building & Construction, North Narrabeen, NSW; revolutionbc.com.au.