Take one small, single-level terrace house, gut the interior and extend out the rear and you have a recipe for modern living

Exterior view of the front facade of the facade, house, property, real estate, structure, window
Exterior view of the front facade of the renovated house featuring, louvres, aluminium roofing, cladding, landscaping, doors and windows.

Inner-city terrace houses built early last century are not renowned for their spaciousness, but they do have a special character all of their own. And it is this heritage quality that local authorities are keen to preserve. However, such restrictions invariably influence renovation projects.

Sydney architect Duncan Sanby of Utz-Sanby Architects says the owners of this terrace house, George and Jennifer Alexiou, could see the potential of the property, despite its run-down condition.

"As a builder, George could see the possibilities for extending the house at the rear. But we were not able to alter the existing roof ridge council insisted the house had to look substantially the same when viewed from the street," says Sanby.

The architect says the floor-to-ceiling height in the old cottage and the height of the existing roof provided enough room to fit two new floors into the space. And by extending the house at the rear, it was possible to create a much larger interior.

View of floor plans for renovation. architecture, area, design, diagram, elevation, floor plan, font, house, line, plan, product, product design, property, schematic, structure, text, white
View of floor plans for renovation.

"The existing house was gutted, and the interior redesigned to accommodate the extra storey and to allow more light inside," says Sanby. "With high party walls down each side of the property, it was crucial to get north-facing light into the house through high-level louvres in the upstairs rooms. These louvres also allow for cross ventilation."

The architect introduced glass louvres to the front guest room as well, but this was the only noticeable change to this facade. Additional light was provided to the top-floor rooms by windows and doors that open onto a 1m-wide outdoor corridor that runs down the south side of the house.

"A new study is tucked beneath the sloping roof," says Sanby. "The rest of the top floor is devoted to the master bedroom, second bedroom and bathroom, which are within the new addition. This steel structure features aluminium louvres that shield the house from the sun and provide privacy."

Family living areas are all contained within the extension on the ground floor. Glass doors and louvred windows open the full width of the house, providing an easy flow to a terrace and pool.

View of the open plan kitchen and dining architecture, ceiling, chair, dining room, floor, flooring, furniture, house, interior design, living room, real estate, room, table, gray
View of the open plan kitchen and dining area with kitchen island, appliances, dining table and chairs, polished concrete flooring, recessed lighting.

"We elevated the kitchen 150mm above the living areas," says the architect. "This provided space for more storage in the island, and allows an uninterrupted view from the work area."

Streamlined finishes, bright colour accents and a polished concrete floor further define the space.

Credit list

George Alexiou,
Mini-Orb from Bluescope
Doors and windows
Custom commercial aluminium by Crystalwall
Retractable motorised aluminium from John Waters Industries
Plasterboard linings from Novillia
Domus Lighting
Kitchen cabinetry
Custom polyurethane cabinets
Kitchen manufacturer
Caravello Joinery
Kliplok from Bluescope
Lockwood from Specialty Hardware
Polished concrete by Tullera Constructions and Australian Grinding & Polishing
B&B Italia; Orson & Blake; King Furniture; Sydney Media
Audiovisual equipment
Neutral Bay Hi-Fi
Benchtops and splashback
Southern Cross Stainless Steel

Story by: Colleen Hawkes

03 Jun, 2009

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