Classic terrace house exterior meets contemporary interior in this renovated entertainer's home

Traditional terrace house exterior with verandah gives way to contemporary, open-plan interior in this renovation

Story by: Charles Moxham Photography by: Luc Remond
A vista runs through it  from the ceiling, interior design, living room, lobby, room, white, black
A vista runs through it from the rear family room you can look right through the interior to the formal front room following a renovation of this terrace home by Archer + Wright. The skylight in the family room lines up with the edge of the courtyard in the kitchen beyond, making a visual connection.

Terraced houses are famously long, narrow spaces with small, dark rooms, poor ventilation, and a general absence of natural light. The trick is countering all these shortcomings while still retaining a sense of the home's historic past.

For this project, the owners asked architect Richard Archer of Archer + Wright to reinvent their historic, facade-protected terrace house as a contemporary, light-filled entertainer's home.

"The front facade was completely reinstated with a closed-over upstairs balcony restored, the downstairs railings, stonework and windows refinished, and it all given a more modern, monochromatic colour scheme a taste of the transformed, contemporary interiors to come."

Inside, the two-level house was completely gutted with only the staircase retained. The clutter of internal walls and small rooms was swept away and the ground floor bedrooms removed.

"In their place, we created a long, open-plan space with rooms flowing one into the next. Floating wide-plank engineered floors run the length of this level, accentuating its openness."


Black living room walls, stained oak floors and interior design, living room, property, room, black, gray
Black living room walls, stained oak floors and mirror panels contrast a generally white decor in this dramatically reworked terrace house by architecture firm Archer + Wright.

Much needed natural light was brought into the interior in several ways including via an internal courtyard opposite the new kitchen.

Natural light was also accentuated by the use of large mirror panels in the formal living area and dining area. The mirror panels bounce light through the interior and give the impression of greater space. Large artworks are suspended in front of the expansive reflective surfaces, making the mirrors less confrontational. An operable skylight brings light into the rear family room.

The panel format is continued on the walls but, in a reverse play on old-world panelling, the framing is inset rather than proud of the wall. The client wanted the rooms to be modern with touches of more classic elements and the inverted panel format addresses both styles.

While the staircase bannister is original, elsewhere new 'old' detailing has been added.

"Even though the spaces are open-plan, porticos and frames are strategically set to screen out utilitarian elements and to create a sense of movement between rooms," says Archer. "For example, the central dining room isn't completely in your face from the main living area."

A new kitchen and open-air central courtyard are architecture, backyard, courtyard, daylighting, home, house, interior design, living room, patio, real estate, gray
A new kitchen and open-air central courtyard are at the heart of this renovated home, which is as much about family life as frequent entertaining. The courtyard floods natural light into what would otherwise be the darkest point of the interior.

Similarly, the door into the kitchen from the dining area is strategically placed to allow an uninterrupted view through the interior. However, its placement also screens out the mess of the benchtop spaces at the rear. Large sliders open the kitchen up to the courtyard and an operable awning brings shelter from the sun.

The dynamic rhythm of the run of rooms is heightened by ceiling coves in the formal living room, dining room, and family room, which lies beyond the kitchen. And the generally white walls are contrasted by dark tones in the formal living area, subtly demarcating areas of use.

Upstairs, the rooms were also reinvented to allow for more bedrooms and bathrooms. A fifth bedroom is tucked in under a sculpted dormer, whose exaggerated form reaches to the roof line.

Sep 17, 2015

Credit list

Architect
Richard Archer, Kevin Lee
Interior designer and kitchen designer
Archer + Wright
Cladding
Brick render
Window/door joinery
Timber-framed windows and doors
Tiles
Earp Brothers
Paint
Dulux
Control systems
CCTV and alarm
Awards
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Winner
Builder
JMC Builders/Developers
Kitchen manufacturer
SJV Joinery
Roof
Colorbond
Main flooring
Stained engineered plank floors, one part Black Japan, one part Walnut
Wallcoverings
MDF painted panels, mirror panelling
Heating
Jetmaster Fireplace, air conditioning, underfloor heating in bathrooms
Furniture
Poliform and clients own selection
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