Surry Hills Apartment

  • Tucked away at the end of a narrow street in Sydney’s Surry Hills, the Edwards & Co building has maintained its historic facade for almost a century. Originally used as a tea factory in the 1920s, the warehouse has seen many business and homes aside here over the years. More recently the top two levels were given a complete overhaul thanks to local Sydney practice Josephine Hurley Architecture.

    The heritage exterior and internal bones of the building have been preserved and now form the aesthetic foundation for a comfortable, understated rooftop home. Spanning two levels, the newly designed apartment features a generously proportioned central living space downstairs and a guest retreat on the rooftop.

    ARCHITECTURE Josephine Hurley Architecture | PHOTOGRAPHY Tom Ferguson

    Completed in 2015, Josephine Hurley and her team were engaged to convert the upper level office space of the then ad agency in the Edwards & Co. building to a private residence. With a brief that focused heavily on comfort, practicality and respect for the building, the design celebrates the existing heritage of the building while introducing a refined contemporary aesthetic.

    While the building’s iconic arched windows and emblazoned parapet remain distinctively unchanged, the apartment’s interior structure is completely new, a result of gutting an entire level and demolishing the caretaker’s office formerly located on the rooftop. The new design now maximises the primary living space, while the rooftop level houses a guest retreat tucked behind the parapet – complete with its own sauna and private courtyard.

    A modern aesthetic has been gently introduced throughout the design with a minimal material palette of warm greys, natural timber and  white integrated surfaces. Cost-effective, durable and practical, the newly introduced materials add character while at the same time respectful of the home’s environmental impact.

    True to the client’s brief for a design that would act as both a backdrop for everyday living while also adapting to different guests, the warehouse style has been embraced here as the conversion draws from the building’s history alongside refined materiality in order to deliver a charming rooftop retreat.

    Hurley was careful not to over-design the interiors, drawing on the heritage fabric of the building to add character while new fixtures and materials emphasise timelessness and simplicity. 

    The guest retreat dining area includes its own kitchen and dining space, with the kitchen facilities tucked cleverly away thanks to the custom grey cabinetry.

    The rooftop guest retreat blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor space, with a rooftop deck that brings the bedroom and bathroom to the elements – including a sauna and outside shower.


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