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

Studio Visit

Kuku Yalanji Artist Tiarna Herczeg Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

The emerging artist shares how they found their creative voice and intuitive painting style, as their latest solo show opens in Sydney.
Christina Karras
  8 hours ago

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

The four-time Oscar winning designer shares insights from her career working alongside husband Baz Luhrmann, and how she helped bring 'Elvis...
Christina Karras

Homes

A Creative Couple’s Loft-Style Pad, With Brooklyn Vibes!

Designer Phi Do and his husband Yaniv Brayer give us a tour through their warehouse-style Richmond townhouse.

Interiors

A Mediterranean-Inspired Holiday Home Right On The Water’s Edge

CLO Studios styled the interior of this new Noosa home (dubbed Sky Garden) with earthy tones and pieces by local artists.

Interiors

A Green New Addition For An Ageing Edwardian Home

Brave New Eco revitalises an existing Brunswick home for multiple generations with a new extension, natural material palette and clever use

Architecture

A Timeless Renovation Incorporating Three Eras Of Design History

The Autumn House by Studio Bright unites a Victorian terrace with its 1980s renovation by architect Mick Jörgensen, in one contemporary des...

Creative People

Landscape Studio Ayus Botanical On Creating Calming + Enduring Gardens

The husband-and-wife team of Ayus Botanical share the thoughtful processes behind their lush residential and commercial projects!
Christina Karras
  24 hours ago
2:04

Inside Look

Behind The Scenes At The NGV’s Epic New Picasso Exhibition

Exhibition designer Allie Mactier takes us through one of the National Gallery of Victoria's biggest exhibitions ever.

Studio Visit

Kelly Thompson’s Playful Preston Showroom Clashes Colour In The Best Way

The clever creative behind online store, Makers’ Mrkt, gives us an inside look at her fun Preston stockroom-turned-store!
Christina Karras

News

Bruce Munro's Spectacular Light Installations Are Coming To Heide

See a showcase of light and colour when the acclaimed English-Australian artist takes over Heide Museum of Modern Art and its gardens!
Sponsored

Interiors

The 2022 Australian Interior Design Awards Winners!

From Troye Sivan's divine Flack Studio residence to a converted warehouse abode, the industry’s best designers and projects have been reve...
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Compact + Colourful Extension Of A Fun Family Home

Foomann Architects replaced this Melbourne home's dated extension with a personality-filled renovation, behind a vibrant pink door!
Christina Karras

Interiors

Two Sleek + Stylish Side-By-Side Homes On One Block!

This dual-occupancy build by Boutique Developments proves developments don't have to be generic, with each unit offering up its own contrast...
Christina Karras

Stays

A Dreamy Getaway With Panoramic Views In The Heart Of Hobart

Edwardian architecture meets a Japanese-style extension at this peaceful Tasmanian retreat, complete with spectacular views of the city, riv...
Christina Karras

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

Homes

A Creative Couple’s Loft-Style Pad, With Brooklyn Vibes!

Designer Phi Do and his husband Yaniv Brayer give us a tour through their warehouse-style Richmond townhouse.

Stays

A Dreamy Getaway With Panoramic Views In The Heart Of Hobart

Edwardian architecture meets a Japanese-style extension at this peaceful Tasmanian retreat, complete with spectacular views of the city, riv...
Christina Karras

Creative People

Landscape Studio Ayus Botanical On Creating Calming + Enduring Gardens

The husband-and-wife team of Ayus Botanical share the thoughtful processes behind their lush residential and commercial projects!
Christina Karras
  24 hours ago

Interiors

The 2022 Australian Interior Design Awards Winners!

From Troye Sivan's divine Flack Studio residence to a converted warehouse abode, the industry’s best designers and projects have been reve...
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Mediterranean-Inspired Holiday Home Right On The Water’s Edge

CLO Studios styled the interior of this new Noosa home (dubbed Sky Garden) with earthy tones and pieces by local artists.

Studio Visit

Kuku Yalanji Artist Tiarna Herczeg Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

The emerging artist shares how they found their creative voice and intuitive painting style, as their latest solo show opens in Sydney.
Christina Karras
  8 hours ago

News

Bruce Munro's Spectacular Light Installations Are Coming To Heide

See a showcase of light and colour when the acclaimed English-Australian artist takes over Heide Museum of Modern Art and its gardens!
Sponsored

Architecture

A Compact + Colourful Extension Of A Fun Family Home

Foomann Architects replaced this Melbourne home's dated extension with a personality-filled renovation, behind a vibrant pink door!
Christina Karras

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey
2:04

Inside Look

Behind The Scenes At The NGV’s Epic New Picasso Exhibition

Exhibition designer Allie Mactier takes us through one of the National Gallery of Victoria's biggest exhibitions ever.

Studio Visit

Kelly Thompson’s Playful Preston Showroom Clashes Colour In The Best Way

The clever creative behind online store, Makers’ Mrkt, gives us an inside look at her fun Preston stockroom-turned-store!
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Timeless Renovation Incorporating Three Eras Of Design History

The Autumn House by Studio Bright unites a Victorian terrace with its 1980s renovation by architect Mick Jörgensen, in one contemporary des...

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

The four-time Oscar winning designer shares insights from her career working alongside husband Baz Luhrmann, and how she helped bring 'Elvis...
Christina Karras

Interiors

Two Sleek + Stylish Side-By-Side Homes On One Block!

This dual-occupancy build by Boutique Developments proves developments don't have to be generic, with each unit offering up its own contrast...
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Green New Addition For An Ageing Edwardian Home

Brave New Eco revitalises an existing Brunswick home for multiple generations with a new extension, natural material palette and clever use

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!

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net