Think about an old inner-city terrace for a moment and what do you imagine? A dark, narrow space right? And maybe it smells a bit of rising damp and dust-filled carpet. But it has a great location and a cute historic facade, so...
The aim of any inner-city terrace renovation is two-fold. Maximise space and maximise light. Benn and Penna Architects' solution at this Surry Hills terrace is especially effective. Here they've created one long space that flows seamlessly from indoors to outdoors. The whole site - as long and as narrow as it is - becomes the living area...
Surry Hills House involved extensive renovations and additions to an existing Victorian-era terrace. The project included new bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen courtyard and living spaces. Modest in scale, the new home emphasises the long narrow sites in the area by opening up the whole ground floor and backyard space into one long living area.
Benn and Penna Architects' made a clear distinction between public and private spaces - locating all living areas on the ground floor and the more private bedrooms and bathroom on the upper floor. The two zones are connected by a delicately detailed steel stair, which rises through the middle of the building and guides natural light from a large skylight above into the centre of the house.
Apart from giving these spaces more privacy, this decision also allowed the architects to open up the entire ground floor into one large, open-plan space. This is such a change from an average terrace where each room is a discreet space. While the separation of spaces can feel cozy, it contributes to the sense that terraces are dark and small spaces.
Instead, the open, flowing ground floor uses the whole site, creating an outdoor room at the rear of the home.
Cabinetry crosses the threshold from indoors to outdoors to blur the boundaries.
A wall of white mosaic tiles lines the back wall of the courtyard, reflecting northern light back into both the garden and rear kitchen space.
A powder room with bold black and white patterned tiles is located just beside the stair, meaning there's no need to run up and down the stairs whenever mother nature calls.
The pared back and understated interior is designed to foreground the rich texture of Surry Hills brickwork surrounding the site.
The Surry Hills House transforms what previously was a dark and unpleasant home into one of abundant natural light and well proportioned spaces. The owners are now able to use the entire ground floor as a continuous indoor outdoor space, heightening the experience of leisure activities in the house. The project also provides an additional bedroom and private terrace above for more intimate enjoyment.