This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

From Mechanics' Workshop To Stunning Warehouse Terraces

Architecture

An old mechanics’ workshop has been respectfully reimagined into four terrace homes, offering an open floorplan maximising natural light, with a strong connection to the outdoors.

Jonathan Richards, director of award-winning architecture and interiors firm SJB, takes us through this innovative project in Sydney.

21st July, 2018

The Riley in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Photography – Felix Forest.

Exterior. Photography – Felix Forest.

Staircase detail. Photography – Felix Forest.

Oda Lamp by Pulpo, Cloudscape chair by Diesel by Moroso, Ovoid artwork by Horan Smock, and armchair by Moroso. Photography – Felix Forest.

Cloud Series artwork by Susan Knight,  Trevor Mein Side Table, 45 By Molteni & C, Spring Sofa by Moroso, and Mafi Deep White oil Molto brushed oak floorboards. Photography – Felix Forest.

Bitop coffee table by Coediton Silai, Spaces Rug by GAN, and custom steel pivot windows. Photography – Felix Forest.

Illusions console by Objekto, Objects of Free Use by Anna Varendorff, and Tom Pigeon print. Photography – Felix Forest.

Last Minute Stool by Viccarbe, Futura SP G pendant from Mondoluce, Flow chair by MDF Italia and Rock table by MDF Italia. Photography – Felix Forest.

The project was completed by SJB in 2017.  Photography – Felix Forest.

Mark side table by Moroso, and Highland bed also by Moroso. Photography – Felix Forest.

Atlay Armchair by Coedition. Mangas Spaces Rhombus Rug by GAN. Photography – Felix Forest.

Once a mechanics workshop, SJB retained shell of the building but added new internal floor levels to suit a residential conversion. Photography – Felix Forest.

Arrabascato Marble, Sussex tapware, handmade tiles by Earp Bros. Photography – Felix Forest.

Photography – Felix Forest.

Elle Murrell
Saturday 21st July 2018

Our brief for this project was to try and capture Darlinghurst as it is now.’ – Jonathan Richards, director of SJB.

SJB’s work on The Riley was deeply focussed on retaining the charm of an original and iconic corner-block building in Darlinghurst. Enlisted to convert a 230-square-metre mechanic’s workshop into four residential terraces, the architecture-and-interiors firm set out to show ‘a real admiration of the original building,’ in the words of Jonathan Richards, director of SJB.

They undertook substantial internal restructuring, as the existing two-storey space was a hodge-podge of internal ramps and split levels used by the former tenant, a mechanic. The warehouse was divided into four separate dwellings each with entry via the street. New rooftop pavilions comprising the master bedroom and terrace were created. ‘We had a height restriction that meant any change could not exceed the existing roof level – but we still had sufficient space to create a new third level for the master bedroom and roof terraces,’ explains Jonathan, of their new addition characterised by black steel framing and black zinc sheet roofing.

An additional challenge for SJB was the fact that although the front of the warehouse receives wonderful light through large street-facing windows, the back of the building is devoid of natural light due to neighbouring structures. A solution came in the form of an internal light well utilising the full height of the building, giving every residence a distinctive vertical garden, and access to daylight on at least two sides. ‘It enables cross-flow ventilation, daylight and an unusual experience of having garden atriums in the warehouse,’ details Jonathon. ‘What had been the biggest challenge became a signature part of every space!’

Additionally, timber windows were replaced with steel framed hopper windows, the brick façade was restored, and a new opening was made, employing striking diagonal-patterned bricks in a clever contrast.

The residence you see pictured is furnished by Hub Furniture. Meanwhile, all of the kitchens in The Riley are manufactured by Molteni.

‘Having a rooftop aspect looking into the trees of Riley Street with a very urban streetscape is a terrific experience,’ reflects Jonathon, a local of the area. ‘I have admired this warehouse for a long time. Now, having had the opportunity to create a new life for it with four special residences, has been very satisfying.’

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Masterful Revival Of A Gold Rush-Era House

A 150-year-old house in Melbourne's oldest suburb gets a contemporary revival by Rob Kennon architects.

Architecture

A WOW-Factor Extension In Brunswick

A seriously impressive, light-filled addition by Rob Kennon Architects in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

Architecture

A Boldly Re-imagined Victorian Worker's Cottage

Melbourne architect Dominic Pandolfini gives us a tour of his cleverly re-configured Victorian cottage in Port Melbourne.

This Week

Art

This Exhibition Is A Tribute To New York Museum Wanderings

Sydney-born, New York-based artist Adriana Picker returns to her home city to unveil 'Vases from the MET' in Paddington this week.
Miriam McGarry
  3 hours ago

The Tools I Use

The Tools I Use · Phillip Withers

We go behind-the-scenes and inside the toolkit with legendary local landscape designer, Phillip Withers!
Sally Tabart
  11 hours ago

News

Stephen Baker Adds A New Panel To His Iconic Fitzroy Pool Mural

Pool Parade gets an update from the legendary Melbournian artist!
Sally Tabart

Food

Lucy's Extra Special Potato Salad

A fancy, French-style potato salad with all the trimmings!
Lucy Feagins

Art

10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions of 2019

Our pick of not-to-be-missed art exhibitions for 2019, Australia wide – clear the calendar!
Miriam McGarry

Interiors

An Elegant Makeover Of A Classic California Bungalow

Sarah Elshaug of Maitland Street Interiors takes us inside her renovation of a 1930's California Bungalow in Melbourne’s Glen Iris.
Elle Murrell

Tiny Homes

This Home Transforms Neglected Housing Stock Into Micro Luxury!

The 'tiny home' phenomenon continues... explore the Type Street Apartment from Tsai Design.
Miriam McGarry

News

What To Do On Your Next Summer Roadtrip

Bush Heritage Australia remind us what to consider (and what’s at stake if we don’t) as we venture outdoors.
Elle Murrell

Art

7 Women Shaking Up The Australian Art Scene

The trailblazing artists making their own unique mark on Australia's creative landscape. 
Elle Murrell

Modernist Australia

A Home Where Summer Holidays Never End, And It's For Sale

A miracle confluence of premier Victorian beach town, and preeminent Victorian architect Guilford Bell, designed in 1973.
Patricia Callan

News

Mercedes me Achieves carboNZero Certification

The Mercedes me Melbourne cafe and event space has been recognised for their ongoing commitment to sustainability.

News

Huge Names Added To The 'All About Women' Festival

Including Michelle Obama’s former Chief of Staff!
Sally Tabart
  3 hours ago

News

Elka Collective's Calming New Flagship Store

Pairing luxe, natural materials with a soft colour palette, this fashion retailer’s new store reflects its brand ethos.
Sally Tabart

Homes

A Home Of Joy and Light, With Alex McCabe Of Kip&Co

Explore the bright, effervescent home of Alex McCabe and family, in St Kilda.

Every Painting Tells A Story

This Painting From 1862 Reveals A Dramatic, Cautionary Tale!

A family loses their fortune in dramatic circumstances, in this captivating work from the National Gallery of Australia's 'Love & Desire' ex...

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Masterful Revival Of A Gold Rush-Era House

A 150-year-old house in Melbourne's oldest suburb gets a contemporary update.

Architecture

A WOW-Factor Extension In Brunswick

A seriously impressive, light-filled addition by Rob Kennon Architects in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

Architecture

A Boldly Re-imagined Victorian Worker's Cottage

Melbourne architect Dominic Pandolfini gives us a tour of his cleverly re-configured Victorian cottage in Port Melbourne.