Skylight Terrace is a renovation in Sydney's Paddington. Home to a family with two young, energetic boys the living areas of this terrace are on the lowest level, one-storey below the street level, but opening onto a rear courtyard. With a long, narrow floor plan, low ceilings and most of the space underground, these living areas felt dark and claustrophobic - not ideal for the main living space of a family home!
The owners wanted plenty of natural light in their living space, additional storage and an island bench for their kitchen. Josephine Hurley Architecture redesigned the dark lower level to achieve these goals and more. By raking the ceiling in the living room and installing a full-width skylight, the living area now has an uninterrupted view of the sky. This plays a little visual trick, giving the illusion of infinite space - a rarity in such dense urban areas. It also lets in plenty of natural light and makes the narrow home feel more spacious.
"There is peace-of-mind knowing that the view of the sky will never be blocked by future development and there's something nice about being unaware of the close proximity of your neighbours." - Josephine Hurley
The architects also reconfigured the staircase which once cut its way through a galley kitchen. By streamlining the circulation, they freed up space for a large island bench in the kitchen. To find even more space, the architects decided to excavate towards the street. This created additional circulation space and created the perfect environment for a cellar.
Along the southern boundary the architects designed a spine of joinery to hide all the "essentials of everyday living". From fridge and kitchen storage, to kids toys, there's a space for everything. As well as hiding all the visual clutter to make the space seem larger, the wall of joinery creates a sense of rhythm and and unity in the narrow space.
A minimal, light palette of materials helps to amplify the sense of space and light. All-white walls, ceilings and joinery bounce the skylight's rays deep into the terrace. Light grey concrete-look bench tops are hard-wearing, while a mirrored splash back gives the illusion of additional space. Timber floor boards warm this otherwise neutral palette and creates unity between this lower level and the upper levels.
"The renovation has created a theatrical, playful living area perfect for family life."