A Curvaceous Renovation In Sydney

A good architect will always challenge their client to consider a space beyond their preconceived ideas, leading to ultimately greater outcomes. 

In this home in Sydney’s Forest Lodge, for example, the initial brief wasn’t overly complicated, but Carter Williamson worked to rationalise the existing floor plan, while introducing a few contemporary flourishes that initially surprised, but eventually delighted their clients!

Previously a bed and breakfast, this home has now been returned to its former glory as a functional family home, with some surprisingly curvaceous elements.

Amelia Barnes

‘Pompei’ is a renovation of a Sydney terrace by Carter Williamson. Photo – Katherine Lu

A painted steel archway marks the threshold between the old and new areas of the house. Photo – Katherine Lu

The clients fell in love with the terrazzo flooring early in the project, which anchored the material palette. Photo – Katherine Lu

The new open-plan living area features many curved elements including the shape of the island bench,  and the half-round dowel joinery. Photo – Katherine Lu

Curved kitchen joinery hugs the dining table, giving the home a real sense of identity and character.  Photo – Katherine Lu

Plenty of storage is incorporated into the renovation. Photo – Katherine Lu

The earthy, pale pink colour on the dining walls is Dulux’s Kangaroo Punch. Photo – Katherine Lu

A bathroom in the existing front area of the home was given a fresh makeover. Photo – Katherine Lu

‘The clients again feel in love with the green Ming marble tiles so we made sure everything else fit in with that and complemented those tiles,’ says Julie Niass. Photo – Katherine Lu

Upstairs rooms were also updated for light and functionality. Photo – Katherine Lu

Amelia Barnes
30th of April 2020

Looking at images of this project, you probably wouldn’t guess its former life as a grand Victorian home, or that it was most recently functioning as a bed and breakfast, but that’s the beauty of Carter Williamson’s design. 

Prior to its recent transformation, this residence had been given a late 2000s renovation with lockable rooms, causing a disconnect in the floor plan. The architect’s brief was simple – turn a building of disparate rooms into a cohesive, family home. ‘The clients didn’t want any additional footprint added to the house, they simply wanted the existing floor plan of the house to better function for their family’s needs,’ says Shaun Carter, principal at Carter Williamson.

The architects’ response was to rationalise the floor plan, and bring back the historical grandeur of a magnificent Victorian terrace, in a contemporary manner. ‘We were inspired by the High Victorian Period – an exposition of colour, ornamentation and detail. This became the basis of our approach,’ explains Julie Niass, associate and interiors at Carter Williamson.

Many of this home’s standout elements are the result of a robust working relationship between client and architect, which encouraged the owners to push the boundaries. For example, in a modern take on period ornamentation, an earthy, pale pink colour (Dulux’s Kangaroo Punch) was selected for the dining portion of the kitchen walls. ‘We presented the pink colour early on which the clients loved, but always said they didn’t think it was a colour for their home… It wasn’t until we went through the process of painting the front two rooms of the house, 10 paint sample tins and a repaint later, that we felt well equipped in selecting paint colours,’ says Julie. ‘When we then had to select the final colour for the dining wall, the tiles, splash back and joinery were in, and the right colour became obvious to us all and we got it in the first go.’ 

Another detail the clients were initially hesitant about is the curved kitchen joinery that ‘hugs’ the dining table. ‘Our clients initially rejected the idea. While they liked it, they were more concerned with achieving maximum storage,’ says Julie.  ‘We overcame this by presenting options without the curve that really highlighted its necessity to the flow of the space, and we were also able to fit storage into additional joinery units in the living and dining areas. They now love the curve just as much as we do.’ 

This scalloped joinery ended up giving the home a real sense of identity and character, eventually mirrored in the shape of the island bench, the half-round dowel joinery, and in the kitchen painted steel archway. This latter element marks the threshold between the old and new areas of the house, along with a change in the flooring to terrazzo.  

The second storey of the home has also been remodelled, with the main bedroom layout improved and the bathrooms updated with green marble tiles. 

The completed renovation is a balance between the original terrace and modern extension, combining the existing formal heritage character, with open-plan, contemporary living. The family of four who live here now have the luxury of smaller spaces for individual activities, as well as a large communal area where everyone can happily gather. 

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