Best of est | Paddington Terraces

  • We’re off to Paddington, Sydney, to take a closer look at five charming terraces that celebrate their heritage bones through a refreshing modern Australian lens.

    Introduced to Australia in the 19th century, Victorian terraces are the Australian adaptation of the opulent architectural styles of homes in London and Paris in the 1800s. Paddington is one of Sydney’s most uniform and cohesive architectural suburbs, with a significant heritage conservation status on most houses to preserve its picturesque rows of terraces. Characterised by their intricate cast iron lacing – often depicting native Australian flora – and symmetrical facade, terrace houses are among the most coveted residential architectural styles in Australia.

    These five ‘Paddo’ terraces honour their architectural past, emerging as a contemporary home within a heritage setting. 

    Hargrave House by CM Studio

    Unified by the design philosophy that ‘beauty can be found in simplicity’, Hargrave House by CM Studio reflects its Victorian past through traditional details such as ornate fireplaces, opulent marble bathrooms and decorative wall panelling. Upstairs, the master bedroom pays homage to the building’s grandiose heritage, while downstairs, a contemporary open-plan kitchen, living and dining area evoke a relaxed, timeless aesthetic.

    Catering to the often-narrow constraints of terrace houses, an upholstered tanned leather dining banquette maximises space in the dining space, paired with the iconic Hoffman Chairs and brass Apparatus Twig 5 Pendant. The brass repeats itself in small details throughout the home, like the light switches and door handles, injecting a sense of subtle elegance without overpowering the integrity of the design. Black steel-frame doors open up to the compact courtyard, referencing the black trimmings of the home’s facade and making for seamless indoor-outdoor living and entertaining year-round.

    Laneway House by Clayton Orszaczky

    When Clayton Orszaczky were approached to redesign the Laneway House, they were faced with design constraints typical of terrace homes. Poor construction, pokey rooms and narrow hallways offered limited accessibility and comfort for its young family. With the client requesting a home to ‘literally hose out at the end of the day’, the local architects rearranged the original carport at the rear of the home to house a kitchen that backs onto the two-storey courtyard. This kitchen prioritises functionality, featuring integrated appliances hidden behind full-height cabinetry that cleverly conceal a separate bathroom and laundry. A curved benchtop softens the kitchen edges and reference the curves found in traditional terraces.

    Ornate ceiling details and architraves remain in the front part of the home, juxtaposed with the clean lines and skylights in the new rear addition. A subtle spectrum of grey, white, brick and timber provide a breath of fresh air in the narrow space, creating a sense of openness throughout and challenging the size constraints of the Paddington home.

    Concert Hall House by Pandolfini Architects

    Concert Hall House by Pandolfini Architects responds to the building’s heritage context, injected with thoughtfully curated interior applications for a client with a passion for music. Reminiscent of grand music halls, the compact two-bedroom home is separated into three proportioned levels, including a piano room and listening room, despite the space limitations of an inner-city site at hand.

    When Pandolfini Architects were introduced to the home, it was run-down and outdated. While the original facade of the home remains untouched, the rear saw a complete re-work, with the addition of a pitched-concrete structure. The layout of the home has been carefully considered to provide an optimal listening experience for the client. A full-height wall of folded aluminium panels in the living room plays home to the client’s extensive music collection, atop a built-in concrete storage plinth. Although modern, the extension responds to the scale and nature of its neighbourhood.

    The Glasshouse by Nina Maya Interiors

    Nina Maya’s Glasshouse sets a new standard for inner-city terrace living, layered with rich materials such as fluted glass, steel and brass paired with striking green marble. Presenting as a modest heritage terrace from the front, the Glasshouse takes on an entirely new persona at the back. A new architectural extension has been introduced to expand the home to three levels.

    Challenged by the parameters of the site, Nina Maya Interiors made way for a sculptural glass stairwell as the central spine of the terrace facing a courtyard of lush greenery, allowing the home the space to transform from a two-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage to a three-bedroom, four-bathroom home with open-plan living and outdoor area. Imbued with an underlying sense of indulgence, this Paddington terrace takes sophisticated living to new heights.

    Lena Residence by Smart Design Studio

    This five-storey terrace has been carefully brought back to life by the team at Smart Design Studio through a contemporary rear extension and light-filled circulation tower. While appealing from the exterior, the terrace lacked adequate light, ventilation and flow. Key details have been retained inside the home, like the ornate mouldings, fireplaces and sculpted doorways, fused with a modern palette of waxed rendered walls, grey terrazzo tiles, and pale oak timber flooring.

    Acknowledging the traditional architectural vernacular of the Sydney postcode, studio director William Smart took to the suburb’s streets to find a material that complemented the painted rendered walls of the terrace, informing the soft Corso brick tower. This newly-added tower contains a grand sweeping staircase and a lift, connecting both parts of the home as one. The kitchen, dining and living room are positioned in the new rear double-height extension, retaining the original layout of the terrace. In contrast, the bedrooms, bathrooms, music room and study occupy the old part of the house. 

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