Surry Hills Terrace House 2

Context & Design Brief
The site is located on the relatively steep slope off the Surry Hills ridge. It’s a very narrow site as is often typical in this area, but has adequate depth and also has the great advantage of rear lane access. The brief was to create a three bedroom home with a studio above the rear garage. The existing terrace house was incredibly small and dysfunctional, with a single bedroom located below a low steep roof and accessed up a scarily steep and narrow stair. In some areas, the terrace had no true party wall and was merely built against the neighbour. It was somewhat of a challenging site.

Design Approach
The reality was that the site was to all intents and purposes 4 rooms deep, so a strategy was developed to locate a courtyard between the main part of the house and a rear garage/studio. This allowed all main rooms to have direct access to a substantial external window. The front section of the house is a pretty typical plan with two rooms on each level separated by the stair, but the fall across the site makes for an unusual arrangement with an almost subterranean living room over which you park your car, which completes a ground floor suite of compact but spatially rich living & dining rooms, kitchen and courtyard. The external gallery access from the garage to the first floor completes the slightly unusual arrangement.

Design Outcome
The plan has been conceived to be flexible, bedrooms can be swapped for living rooms, living rooms can be used as bedrooms, the rear studio can be independent of the main house. It is a house that would suit a number of living arrangements. Emphasis has been placed on amenity rather than size and it should prove to be a delightful house in which to dwell.