The pri­vacy clause

A tiny ter­race steps up,

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - STYLE - writes Cather­ine Nikas-Bou­los More Kathy Mck­in­non kmck.com.au; Hi­pages, hi­pages.com.au Pic­tures Maree Homer

When in­te­rior de­signer and stylist Kathy McK­in­non bought a run-down Padding­ton ter­race, she was thrilled to be liv­ing so close to art gal­leries, a stylish shop­ping precinct, and among great cafes and restau­rants.

What she wasn’t so en­thu­si­as­tic about was the lack of pri­vacy that comes with liv­ing in such a tightly con­cen­trated res­i­den­tial area. In­stead of ac­cept­ing it as part of in­ner city liv­ing, Kathy de­signed her out­door ar­eas to be com­pletely pri­vate.

From the out­side in

Af­ter the re­moval of an ex­ist­ing shed to cre­ate more space, the back­yard was then en­closed by a new wall mea­sur­ing about 2.8m high.

This not only of­fered ab­so­lute pri­vacy, but the height matched the ceil­ing height inside the house. Now when the back doors of the home are opened, it looks like the rear din­ing room and back­yard are ac­tu­ally one large, seam­less space.

Kathy then turned her at­ten­tion to the 1880s ter­race house it­self.

“The house is in a sen­sa­tional lo­cale, but the rooms were small,” she says. “It had been ren­o­vated in the ’50s and again in the ’70s with add-ons, but it was very makeshift and there was no light at the back of the house.”

Kathy was keen to keep the orig­i­nal fea­tures but re­moved all the add-ons.

“We ba­si­cally gut­ted it, we poured a new foun­da­tion, and put in pol­ished con­crete floors, which are beau­ti­ful in sum­mer, they have such an or­ganic feel,” she says. “In win­ter I put down floor rugs.” Down­stairs now houses the sec­ondary bed­room, while Kathy was able to close off and make a proper mas­ter suite up­stairs com­plete with an en­suite. The bal­cony on this level was ex­panded and then en­closed with lou­vres to make it an al­to­gether pri­vate space, much like the back­yard.

Kathy had lived in the ter­race for a short time be­fore the ren­o­va­tion, so she knew how she wanted the home to work. And she re­alised noise would be an is­sue.

“I had the good sense to get sound­proof­ing and I knew I wanted two bath­rooms,” she says. “Orig­i­nally, I em­ployed an ar­chi­tect who told me that that was go­ing to be im­pos­si­ble. So I ended up de­sign­ing it my­self.”

Kathy de­signs and project man­ages other clients’ homes reg­u­larly, so man­ag­ing the work on her own home wasn’t a huge stretch. Hav­ing said that, it wasn’t with­out hic­cups.

“The con­crete floor had to be re­done — some of the ex­ist­ing con­duits were not deep enough,” she says.

“The other chal­lenge was get­ting all the trades or­gan­ised. The space is only 3.3m wide by about 15.5m deep, so you couldn’t have the plumber, elec­tri­cian and car­pen­ter in the house at the same time.

“But I had great trades­peo­ple.”

The big re­veal

Kathy also in­stalled a ‘float­ing blade wall’ in front of the stair­case.

“When you open the front door I didn’t want you to see right though the house,” she says. “This way you see part of the stair­case and the kitchen.”

The ‘su­per func­tional’ gal­ley-style kitchen , po­si­tioned just beyond the stair­case, has a stain­less steel bench­top and mar­ble splash­back. The cupboards are white polyurethane with a built-in fridge.

A keen col­lec­tor of art­work, Kathy chose white paint for the walls to al­low sculp­tures and paint­ings to dec­o­rate the space.

“It’s nice to have all those de­tails around with all the art and fab­rics and things like Moroc­can rugs I’ve col­lected from trips.”

Be­fore and af­ter

The main bed­room suite in­cludes an en­suite and pri­vate out­door space.

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