Opening up a compact 1970s townhouse

Winwood Mckenzie Architecture took a dated home from the 1970s and turned it into a highly functional, light-filled home
Story by: David Renwick
The architects used dark tiles to set the architecture, ceiling, daylighting, floor, flooring, house, interior design, lobby, stairs, wood, black, brown
The architects used dark tiles to set the floor apart from the walls and ceiling

About the project (Text supplied): Transforming a compact 1970’s inner city townhouse into a light-filled home, Thomas Winwood Architecture, has created a peaceful and highly functional home. A tactile and finely detailed modernist aesthetic results in a seamless transition between old and new.

The owner, who grew up in a modernist house designed by his father, wanted a space that reflected the character and feel of Australian mid-century modernism. Inspired by the honesty of materials and detailing typical of Australian mid century design, a considered use of materials achieves a high level of finish and durability on a modest budget.


An office-like dining area sits off to the architecture, ceiling, chair, daylighting, floor, flooring, furniture, house, interior design, living room, lobby, table, wall, gray, black
An office-like dining area sits off to the side of this kitchen

The compact size of the residence required a thorough understanding of the clients requirements and for every detail to be carefully considered. The result is a project where no detail was overlooked and functionality greatly improved. An exquisite, finely detailed brass handrail adds a level of drama and quality and catches the western sun as it comes through the first floor window into the centre of the ground floor.

Subtle yet effective changes to the existing openings allow light to enter into the centre of the house dramatically altering the quality of light in the interior. A new oak timber batten ceiling and slate floor reinforce the desired modernist character of the house and provide robust materials that give the project an honest and durable character. Three external spaces, a carefully designed kitchen and new bathroom create spaces that defy the limitations of the original house, subtly drawing the interior out and exterior in. At the top of the stairs a timber lined roof deck provides city views and surprising external space on a small block.

Art is the centrepiece in this living space ceiling, house, interior design, living room, loft, property, real estate, room, gray
Art is the centrepiece in this living space

The project rejuvenates and enriches the character of a previously unremarkable building. The design improves the lives of the inhabitants and continues a tradition of poetic Australian modernist architecture.

Nov 16, 2017
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