The Personal Touch

The Personal Touch


home renovations

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

THE OWNERS OF THIS inner-city semi, a young artistic couple, collaborated with architect Sharon Campbell to turn their home into a more dynamic and efficient space. Designed and built in the 1940s as a spec house, this original 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, the entry and hallway required artificial lighting throughout the day, and the detailing had become shabby and tired.

Campbell retained as much of the exterior as was possible and, using a simple graphic palette of colours and materials, has cosmetically overhauled the home’s interior, combining the living spaces into one large informal space that connects to a new entertaining deck and the garden.

Due to budget and time constraints, building was centred 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 when you enter 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 form 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 exists 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 function as it is on aesthetics, each element having been carefully considered and measured for its practical application. The design has taken into consideration the 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.–CHD–

Architect: Sharon Campbell
PO Box 40 Coogee NSW 2034
Mob: 0402 969 614
Photography: Eliot Cohen