Personal Touches

Personal Touches


Architect Sharon Campbell has incorporated her clients’ creative flair in this striking inner-city conversion

Designed and built in the 1940s as a spec house, this originally single-storey semi-detached dwelling was similar to many of the existing homes in the local area: the layout was poor with a series of cramped spaces disconnected from each other and the outdoors. The house was dark, with the entry and hallway requiring artificial lighting throughout the day.

The homeowners, a young vivacious couple, collaborated with architect Sharon Campbell to transform their home into a more dynamic and efficient space. They asked that Campbell retain as much of the exterior as possible and, using a simple graphic palette of colours and materials, cosmetically overhaul the home’s interior, combining the living spaces into one large informal space that connects to a new entertaining deck and the garden.
They also asked her to design a new joinery wall integrating the kitchen, laundry and entertainment hub; create a visual and acoustic separation between the living space and the bedrooms; redesign the bathroom; and introduce natural light into the hall and entryway.

Due to budget and time constraints, the building works concentrated on the interior and rear of the dwelling. From the street, the exterior gives nothing away about the renovations within: the external masonry shell seems essentially untouched and it’s only on entering the home that the design begins to unfold.

The project largely focuses on interior architecture, creating a contemporary space. The design simplifies the existing layout to create an occupied zone to the north of the dwelling and a service and circulation zone to the south. Within the “occupied” zone, a new open-plan living space has been created in the west with a direct connection to the new deck/outdoor entertaining area.

The interior of home has undergone a complete cosmetic upgrade including resurfacing of all walls, ceilings and floors. There is a new kitchen, bathroom and laundry and new joinery throughout. Technologically and electronically, the house was updated and improved to include new lighting, communications and multi-media systems (integrated sound and projection fittings and equipment).

Campbell has used a bold but simple palette of finishes and colours. The robust backdrop of white walls and black-stained floors provides continuity as you move through the house, and striking splashes of pinks and reds (the clients’ favourite colours) are found in the bathroom and the kitchen splashback. A deeply recessed skylight has been located at the junction of the entry and hallway, with natural light reflected across its funnelled interior.
The new joinery wall incorporates the kitchen, laundry and entertainment hub. The joinery is predominantly white with integrated fixtures and fittings. This restrained detailing is highlighted by the striking glass splashback where a colourful, delicate photograph taken by the client has been fixed to the rear of the glass, to great effect. The bathroom, which has been completely replanned and extended to include a separate bath and shower, is another striking feature, finished in pink glass mosaic tiles.

Campbell’s focus is as much on functionality as it is on aesthetics, each element having been carefully considered and measured for its practical application. The design has taken into consideration her clients’ desire to one day build a second storey, so the layout allows for the second bedroom to be converted to a study and staircase with relative ease.

Throughout the project, Campbell’s deft hand has given the space a sense of sophistication, with a hint of humour. Her desire and ability to integrate personalised elements from her clients’ lives into her designs is the key to creating these unique homes.

The project was designed by Sharon Campbell of Sharon Campbell Design PO Box 40 Coogee NSW 2034
Phone: 0402 969 614 or email

Interior: Original timber floors patched and stained a dark brown-black, finished with a clear polyurethane
Bathroom: Bisazza glass mosaic tiles to floor and walls
Outdoor: hardwood timber deck and privacy screen

White paint finish: Dulux Peplum Quarter Strength


Benchtop: Corian, matt finish Glacier white
Cabinetry: Laminate, white velvet finish
Splashback: Sliding starfire glass panels with photographic image on vinyl fixed to rear
Hafele EKU — Clipo 15/GK glass sliding door fitting. Double running rail with stoppers and guides

Bath, basin and toilet: Caroma
Anti-mist elements: MirrorHeat
Towel rail: Madinoz
Tiles: Pink glass mosaic from Bisazza

Delta Artuur 180 downlights

Capral Series 200 aluminium sliding doors
Phantom Retractable flyscreens
Capral SupaScreen — aluminium security screen door with stainless-steel mesh

Campbell’s focus is as much on functionality as it is on aesthetics.