This Surry Hills stunner has emerged from its bachelor pad status, with a clean and contemporary style that better suits its young family residents
One of the greatest things about home renovations is that if they’re handled well, they can become an organic process that grows with the needs of their owner. Many times, it is a planned process that evolves a home in steps and stages, sometimes over decades. Other times, it can be a gradual process as the owner’s lifestyle and personal needs change.
This particular project falls into the latter category, where a home has transitioned from an old workman’s terrace into a bachelor’s residence and then into a family home, over a period of seven years.
Described as a two-up two-down terrace with a tacked-on addition for a bathroom, the home’s original state was typical of Sydney’s older innercity residences; not really suited to the Australian climate and not particularly welcoming for a modern home.
The lack of an official brief from client to designer can be an issue at times, as a brief can set a firm outline for the partnership to base its working foundation on. However, in the case of this project, the fluid nature of the work didn’t seem to hamper progress too often.
Although the overall renovation took place over the space of seven years, the core timeframe was a period of three years, where the bulk of the work was completed. The evolution from contemporary bachelor pad into a family home revolved around the client meeting his now wife, who shared his vision of the home’s future, and the birth of their two daughters. This was a significant shift from the origin of the project, as one can imagine, however a minor bump in the road for the direction that the home was travelling in.
During this timeframe, and overseen with delicate care by Charles Prior, director of Baxter Creative, the home has evolved with a keen vision for a clean and contemporary style while also adapting to the various changes in its inhabitants’ lives. The complete gutting of the internal spaces of the house and excavation underneath the original lower floor took place. This served to create a new floor that was level with the lane situated at the rear of the plot. It also made space for a cellar, laundry, study and multipurpose space that can function as either a playroom or bedroom. Adjoined to the rear, a new courtyard and outer entertaining space make perfect use of the allotted external dimensions.
Upper floors connected via a bespoke staircase of timber and steel house the living spaces, kitchen and dining room while also allowing for a balcony, which overlooks the rear of the property. Above this sits the family’s bedrooms and bathroom.
A significant aspect of the project is the quantity of bespoke furnishings and items found within the home. The aforementioned staircase is a marvellous piece. With no evidence of construction, it forms a single harmonious entity. As with many terrace homes, functional storage was direly needed, and special attention was taken in creating joinery that could utilise the volume of the home and provide a bounty of storage with minimal impact to the internal environment, all the while keeping everyday necessities within easy reach.
Other significant aspects are the care and expertise that went into selecting the best materials. Details such as the teak used for the balcony and custom-designed door hardware inject a firm sense of quality and purpose that can stand the test of time.
Along with the quality of the materials from a visual aspect, the home’s materiality ensured that its long-lasting qualities helped to keep the home as sustainable as possible. This, coupled with high-quality insulation, access to quality passive ventilation, and water and lighting fittings ensure that even for an urban terrace – where at times, this is hard to implement – the home’s environmental footprint is as minimal as possible.
Kitchen American oak, hand selected and in a wide board
Dining American oak, hand selected and in a wide board
Living American oak, hand selected and in a wide board
Bedroom American oak, hand selected and in a wide board
Stair American oak, hand selected and in a wide board
Outdoor Bluestone and teak
Kitchen/dining/living/bedroom Porters Cashmere
Benchtop Carrara marble, book matched – Nefiko Marble
Taps Roger Seller Fantini Milano
For more information
This project was designed by Baxter Creative Pty Ltd
PO box 734, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone 02 8399 0943
This project was built by Milliken Builders
Builder Troy Milliken
Phone 0409 129 840
Words by James Cleland
Photography by Craig Wall
Originally from Home Renovation magazine, Volume 10 Issue 3