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 Caterpillar To Butterfly - A Truly Transformed Home!

Homes

Strap in your seatbelts, and get ready for a ride – this conversation with Terri Winter of top3 by design is an incredible tale of transforming a surrealist artist’s residence into a modern family home.

From ‘a big caterpillar on the top of the hill’ to a design-lover’s delight, Terri tells us about creating her dream home,  with husband Bernd (owner of advertising agency DDI), sons Zac (15) and Jay (18) and a Siberian Husky Dog named Shadow.

22nd May, 2019

The lush surrounds of Terri Winter’s Northbridge home, that once belonged to famous Australian surrealist painter James Gleeson. Kartell Master outdoor chairs.  Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The living room. Sunflower clock from Vitra. The Outline Sofa from Muuto. Moon Table by Ethnicraft. ENT Planters from XL Boom. Sway lamp by Nick Rennie for PEN. Avalon rug by Missoni, a favourite piece that is no longer in production and that Terri would never part with! Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The kitchen was one of the first rooms to have an overhaul when Bernd and Terri moved into the home. Black Heart Sassafras feature wall. Sonar Planter from XL Boom. Silvia Pendant from Vita Lighting. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Muuto Dots above the modular Muuto Stacked Storage system. Vitra Eames Black House Bird. Wooden Bird from Architect Made. Josef Hartwig Bauhaus chess set (designed in 1923), Iittala Aalto vase (designed in 1936). O-collection planter from XL Boom. Australian made Fink vases designed by Robert Foster. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Holmegaard Crosses vases. Architectmade wooden bird. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A collection of samples and gifts from friends. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Terri Winter pictured in the master bedroom. Gold Missoni fabric stretched across frames creates a 6m long feature wall! Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Bits and pieces collected while traveling over the years. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

What was previously the famous painter James Gleeson’s studio became the master bedroom in Terri’s home. Bed by award-winning Australian designer Rolf Meumann. Wow stool by Aveva Design. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Extensive built0in shelving is featured throughout the home (and has not gone unused!). Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

When Terri asked her 15-year-old son what style room he wanted he was quick to ask for ‘grafitti-style’. Instead of getting someone in to do it, Zac was fully kitted out in all the breathing apparatus, the room was sealed for two days and he tackled it himself. A truly personalised space!Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Terri had the Japanese timber bath installed in the bedroom while the home was still a building site as a surprise for Bernd, giving a real hotel vibe to their master bedroom. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The huge overgrown garden and the privacy this afforded was an initial attraction for Terri and Bernd. There are views from every room across the treetops! Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 22nd May 2019

‘I think a home is like a tapestry of your life, all the pieces weave together to form a story of your journey.’ – Terri Winter.

This is one of our more intriguing home tours, although the backstory is not immediately apparent from the stunning photographs of Terri Winter and her family’s home in Northbridge, NSW.

Terri and her husband Bernd were not looking to purchase a house when this deceased estate home came onto the market. In fact, they had just sold their previous home, to invest in Terri’s business, top3 by design, and were planning to rent for a while.

However, the intrigue of this unique house got the better of them, they went to look, and instantly fell in love. Overlooking a huge overgrown garden, the property had previously belonged to surrealist painter James Gleeson, who configured the space to accommodate a studio – leaving an unconventional home layout. Terri highlights ‘it was such an odd house, because it is really really long and mostly only one room wide… like a big caterpillar on the top of the hill.’ Despite the awkward spatial flow, the couple registered to bid and ‘next thing we knew, we bought a house!’

Before they moved in, Terri injected a moment of luxury by secretly plumbing in a wooden bath as surprise for her husband Bernd. She explains ‘we had nothing in this rundown old house except a beautiful bath and 3 Kartell lights we wired in the living room!’

It took several months before the family were able to move into the house, as all of the carpets needs to be pulled up, sooty walls repainted, and rotting timber verandah railings replaced with glass. The 50’s blue kitchen was also replaced with Ikea base cabinetry, and a custom steel benchtop by cabinetmaker Dave Reddy.

The renovated house, now lovingly named ‘The Gleeson’ after its original owner, is now filled with beloved treasures, and carefully selected designer details. Terri explains ‘I think a home is like a tapestry of your life, all the pieces weave together to form a story of your journey. It is never finished.’ She admits that despite building a business based on the concept of a minimal, curated selection, and while she ‘loves the idea of being a minimalist… I just never will be!’

This Week

Architecture

An 'Upside Down' Family Home Floating Among The Treetops

A tired 1980s residence in Sydney has been transformed into a serene family home, at the hands of Nobbs Radford Architects.
Sasha Gattermayr

Homes

A Renovated Blue Mountains Home With Soul

A rundown fibro house in the Blue Mountains transformed into a joyful home for a family of six!
Lucy Feagins
  8 hours ago

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s 1930s South Yarra Home Is Up For Sale!

One of South Yarra’s tightly held 1930s homes has hit the market, featuring a masterful renovation by its interior designer owner.

Gardens

A Suburban Backyard Transformed Into A Lush Garden Retreat

Mud Office complements a modern Ivanhoe extension with this magnificent green retreat!
Sasha Gattermayr

Art

This Sculpture Collaboration Is A Match Made In Heaven!

Artist Kate Florence and sculptor Lucas Wearne of Neighbourhood Studio collaborate on a collection of hand-painted, one-off sculptures.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An Extraordinary Transformation For This Heritage Sandstone Home

A dilapidated 1870's home in Sydney's Balmain East is restored and extended, with a new concrete addition by Benn + Penna Architecture.

Interiors

A Mid-Century Inspired Prefab Extension!

Modscape design a modular extension to suit a mid-century Elsternwick house.
Amelia Barnes
  24 hours ago

Homes

A Waterfront Home In Sydney That Defines 'Approachable Luxury'

The 1880s sandstone home of interior designer Linda Habak and family in Hunters Hill, faithfully extended by Campbell Architecture.

Art

TDF Collect Presents ‘Different Sorta Colour’ – An Online Exhibition

Get to know the five artists in our Indigenous group art exhibition, 'Different Sorta Colour'. Sales are open now!

Art

Paul Maher’s Paintings Dwell On The Fringes Of Urban Wilderness

The Newcastle artist paints calm, reflective scenes of life on the edge of human habitats, for his second solo exhibition at Saint Cloche.
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Majestic Restoration For A Legendary Heritage Garden

This 150-year-old garden in Deepdene is listed on the National Trust and is rumoured to have been originally designed by the creator of the
Sasha Gattermayr

News

A Free Virtual Art Fair Is Coming!

Melbourne Art Fair unveils a digital program of free exhibitions, studio tours + panel events!
Sponsored

Interiors

The Best Australian Interiors Announced!

The Australian Interior Design Awards 2020 winners are revealed.
Sasha Gattermayr

Giveaway

Sounds Like Home - WIN The Ultimate Home Sound System From Sonos!

To get you through winter we’ve teamed up with Sonos, with a huge prize worth $2936 – Including Sonos' new premium new soundbar, Arc!

Architecture

A Contemporary Farmhouse In Suburban Melbourne!

MRTN Architects design a farmhouse suitable for suburbia in Melbourne's Fairfield!

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

This Rare Robin Boyd Original Makes An Extraordinary Family Home

The Gratton family's beautifully renovated mid century home, in the sprawling bush of Warrandyte!
Fiona Killackey

Homes

An Extra-Ordinarily Fashionable Apartment!

Deborah Symond O’Neil and husband Ned take us on a tour of their sparkling Elizabeth Bay home.

Homes

A Colourful, Art-Filled Family Home In Balmain

Sophie Trippe-Smith and family share their Sydney terrace house, full of amazing art, bold colour, pattern and personality!

This Week

Gardens

A Suburban Backyard Transformed Into A Lush Garden Retreat

Mud Office complements a modern Ivanhoe extension with this magnificent green retreat!
Sasha Gattermayr

Art

Paul Maher’s Paintings Dwell On The Fringes Of Urban Wilderness

The Newcastle artist paints calm, reflective scenes of life on the edge of human habitats, for his second solo exhibition at Saint Cloche.
Sasha Gattermayr

Homes

A Renovated Blue Mountains Home With Soul

A rundown fibro house in the Blue Mountains transformed into a joyful home for a family of six!
Lucy Feagins
  8 hours ago

Art

This Sculpture Collaboration Is A Match Made In Heaven!

Artist Kate Florence and sculptor Lucas Wearne of Neighbourhood Studio collaborate on a collection of hand-painted, one-off sculptures.
Sasha Gattermayr

Homes

A Waterfront Home In Sydney That Defines 'Approachable Luxury'

The 1880s sandstone home of interior designer Linda Habak and family in Hunters Hill, faithfully extended by Campbell Architecture.

Art

TDF Collect Presents ‘Different Sorta Colour’ – An Online Exhibition

Get to know the five artists in our Indigenous group art exhibition, 'Different Sorta Colour'. Sales are open now!

Architecture

An Extraordinary Transformation For This Heritage Sandstone Home

A dilapidated 1870's home in Sydney's Balmain East is restored and extended, with a new concrete addition by Benn + Penna Architecture.

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s 1930s South Yarra Home Is Up For Sale!

One of South Yarra’s tightly held 1930s homes has hit the market, featuring a masterful renovation by its interior designer owner.

News

A Free Virtual Art Fair Is Coming!

Melbourne Art Fair unveils a digital program of free exhibitions, studio tours + panel events!
Sponsored

Interiors

The Best Australian Interiors Announced!

The Australian Interior Design Awards 2020 winners are revealed.
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Majestic Restoration For A Legendary Heritage Garden

This 150-year-old garden in Deepdene is listed on the National Trust and is rumoured to have been originally designed by the creator of the
Sasha Gattermayr

Giveaway

Sounds Like Home - WIN The Ultimate Home Sound System From Sonos!

To get you through winter we’ve teamed up with Sonos, with a huge prize worth $2936 – Including Sonos' new premium new soundbar, Arc!

Architecture

An 'Upside Down' Family Home Floating Among The Treetops

A tired 1980s residence in Sydney has been transformed into a serene family home, at the hands of Nobbs Radford Architects.
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

A Mid-Century Inspired Prefab Extension!

Modscape design a modular extension to suit a mid-century Elsternwick house.
Amelia Barnes
  24 hours ago

Architecture

A Contemporary Farmhouse In Suburban Melbourne!

MRTN Architects design a farmhouse suitable for suburbia in Melbourne's Fairfield!

Similar Stories

Homes

This Rare Robin Boyd Original Makes An Extraordinary Family Home

A beautifully renovated mid century home in the sprawling bush of Warrandyte!
Fiona Killackey

Homes

An Extra-Ordinarily Fashionable Apartment!

Deborah Symond O’Neil and husband Ned take us on a tour of their sparkling Elizabeth Bay home.

Homes

A Colourful, Art-Filled Family Home In Balmain

Sophie Trippe-Smith and family share their Sydney terrace house, full of amazing art, bold colour, pattern and personality!