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

A Blushing Paddington Terrace Renovation

Interiors

Many of Sydney’s beautiful early 1900s terraces suffer from a lack of natural light and outdoor connections. Fortunately, in the case of this Paddington terrace — situated on a corner block with easterly, northerly and westerly aspects — this could be more easily rectified.

Interior designers SE DÉA optimised this house by reworking the floorplan and introducing a soft, calming interior palette. The finished home reflects the owners’ style, full of subtle textures, warmth, hints of blush and curving forms.

16th January, 2023

Norfolk House by SE DÉA is a renovation and addition of a 1904 Paddington terrace. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

A built-in custom banquette maximises floor space in the dining area. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

The existing ground floor was restructured and extended, allowing the kitchen to move from the poky rear of the home to the middle, flanked living areas on either side. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

Playfully embracing the tensions between the decorative and pared-back; the interiors are subtly feminine and textural with organic tones. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

Period fireplaces throughout the home were restored. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

Herringbone timber flooring complements the original architecture. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

Creamy white walls serve as the interior backdrop. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

Jardan Sunny Sofa. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

The front living room. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

The built in sofa in the rear living room. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

Tiles of Ezra wall tiles. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

The upper level features three bedrooms. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

A built-in dressing table nook. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

A balcony was added to the rear of the home. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

The curved built-in courtyard seat. Photo – Sean Fennessy. Art direction – Marsha Golemac. Styling – Rikke Harker

Amelia Barnes
Monday 16th January 2023

More than most terraces, this Paddington home had potential to be opened up to the outdoors without losing its period charm, due to its position on a corner block. With only one immediate neighbour to the south, the property had valuable easterly, northerly and westerly aspects able to be capitalised on in an updated plan. 

Designers SE DÉA were tasked with improving the functionality of the home while retaining its traditional and decorative detailing. 

A key element of the project was expanding the communal areas that were poorly situated and difficult to furnish.

‘Our client had no comfortable dining area and the single sitting area at the very front of the house couldn’t properly accommodate the number of people that were using the space,’ says  Samantha Birtles, director and founder of SE DÉA.

‘Our goal was to give her multiple options for sitting and dining, along with a space that was surrounded by natural light and a beautiful garden.’

The existing ground floor was restructured and extended, allowing the kitchen to move from the poky rear of the home to the middle, flanked by living areas on either side. 

SE DÉA achieved these more spacious proportions by excavating the rear of the house to accommodate higher ceilings. ‘So you effectively transition through the central kitchen space, which can handle the lower ceiling, and then land in an area that opens back up into a more spacious second living space,’ explains Samantha.

Built-in furniture also works to maximise available space, including a custom banquette in the dining area, the living room sofa, and outdoor seating. 

The material palette speaks to the owner’s taste and the period detailing. ‘She’s a florist, so the direction we took was very much driven by this: soft tones, hints of blush, subtle textures, warmth and calm and a curve here and there,’ says Samantha. 

Soft feminine tones can be found throughout the house, from the nude coloured terrazzo in the kitchen, the blush leather dining banquette upholstery, and the creamy travertine in the bathroom.   

‘We wanted to create a space that was calm and neutral—that felt really pleasant to be in,’ says Samantha. ‘It had to have elements of our client’s love of pink, without being overbearing.’

The updated house is a delight to inhabit that maximises form and function for a family of four. 

This Week

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Studio Visit

Local Artist Hannah Maskell Creates Mesmerising Grids Of Colour

The Melbourne-based artist's geometric drawings and wooden sculptures are a cross between 'colour theory and colour therapy'.
Christina Karras
  23 hours ago

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Pad

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Food

Julia's Crunchy Crumbed Fish With Cos Salad + Yoghurt Tartare

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's delicious take on a classic summer fish dinner – on high rotation for the rest of the season!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Architecture

An Unconventional Beach House Elevated On Steel

Steel beams elevate AB House by Office MI—JI to form an unconventional beach house in Barwon Heads.

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Gardens

A Lush Secret Garden, Inside A Converted Melbourne Church!

This surprising garden in East Melbourne has its own lagoon pool, a natural fish pond and 10m-tall walls covered in ivy.
Christina Karras
  15 hours ago

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Interiors

A Clever Reworking Of A 70sqm Cottage In Hawthorn, Melbourne

Despite being limited to this home's tiny frame, interior designer Rosanna Ceravolo has impressively made the most of its diminutive size.

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.

Homes

A Sydney Family Home Inspired By Wes Anderson, Art Deco + English Country Gardens

Olli Ella founder Chloe Brookman reveals her newly-renovated South Coogee family home!

This Week

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Lush Secret Garden, Inside A Converted Melbourne Church!

This surprising garden in East Melbourne has its own lagoon pool, a natural fish pond and 10m-tall walls covered in ivy.
Christina Karras
  15 hours ago

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Pad

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras

Architecture

An Unconventional Beach House Elevated On Steel

Steel beams elevate AB House by Office MI—JI to form an unconventional beach house in Barwon Heads.

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Local Artist Hannah Maskell Creates Mesmerising Grids Of Colour

The Melbourne-based artist's geometric drawings and wooden sculptures are a cross between 'colour theory and colour therapy'.
Christina Karras
  23 hours ago

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Food

Julia's Crunchy Crumbed Fish With Cos Salad + Yoghurt Tartare

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's delicious take on a classic summer fish dinner – on high rotation for the rest of the season!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Similar Stories

Interiors

A Clever Reworking Of A 70sqm Cottage In Hawthorn, Melbourne

Despite being limited to this home's tiny frame, interior designer Rosanna Ceravolo has impressively made the most of its diminutive size.

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.

Homes

A Sydney Family Home Inspired By Wes Anderson, Art Deco + English Country Gardens

Olli Ella founder Chloe Brookman reveals her newly-renovated South Coogee family home!

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