Renovated for a young professional couple and their beautiful Labrador, architect Thomas McKenzie was the perfect match, but had a couple of challenges on his hands from the get go. Firstly, the clients were living in Europe during the renovation, and secondly the home’s modest footprint meant careful planning was required to make the home liveable.

Navigating the time differences, the initial design meetings were conducted via Skype. However, the process was made easier as the client had a very clear vision of their specific requirements for The Terrace. Thom of Thomas Winwood Architecture tells us ‘these become core elements of a design, and are beneficial to the success of the project. As the clients had a design background, they had a clear vision of how they wanted the house to work and references of project that appealed to them’.

MG 3004

Having grownup in a modernist house that had been designed by his father, who was an architect, one of the homeowner had an innate lover for modernist design. Both clients were also inspired by iconic Australian architecture like Heide II at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, and houses designed by Robin Boyd.

‘The potential of the existing 1970’s house was what had appealed to the clients when they purchased it. We set out to realise the potential of the house by amplifying its character and updating it in a contemporary way.’

Clearly, the clients had chosen the right architect to transform their ideas, inspiration, and wants into an award-winning home. The Terrace is a home that was to be as much about liveability as it was about design. ‘It’s a period of architecture that inspires the work of our practice’, says Thom. ‘It was a great fit.’

‘With our experience in residential architecture we were able to develop and refine these ideas in a way that realised the ambitions of the clients and made best use of the potential of the existing house and project.’

Most of the home’s basic footprint remained the same, however it’s the choice of materials and colour palette that’s largely contributed to the project’s success.

‘We wanted to use natural materials that had an honest expression of fabrication and detailing.  The retention of the existing brick walls and concrete slab combined with the Abyss Slate tiles and timber batten ceiling brought the space to life.’

MG 3039

While a lot of the renovation was cosmetic, the transformation to the spaces was dramatic. The materials palette enhanced the feel and light of the space, as well as giving it a sense of quality. ‘The subtle textures, play of light and timeless combination of stone, brick and timber all constructed with care gives the space a wonderful feeling’, says Thom.

With a restriction of space, the home’s modest scale required very careful planning to ensure the home functioned well, in particular, the kitchen and bathroom. Thom admits, this took considerable amount of work throughout all design stages. Working in close collaboration with experienced cabinet makers, Cantilever Interiors, they managed to pull it off. The spaces now feel much larger than they actually are, and not at all compromised.

Other unforeseen challenges popped up along the way; nothing unusual for a renovation. ‘A non-compliant existing staircase and insufficient drainage fall required careful consideration during the build, but thankfully didn’t compromise the outcome of the project’.

MG 3011

How The Terrace project feels Thom believes, is the most successful aspect of the renovation. An aspect we think he should be immensely proud of. With the client’s classic furniture and expansive art collection in place, it’s become the ‘intangible feeling of peacefulness and quality that makes the space a joy to be in.’

‘This is the result of the combination of many different aspects of the project coming together in a harmonious way at the completion of the project. It has character and personality but in a very unassuming and liveable way that is a joy to experience.’

Head to Thomas Winwood Architecture to see The Terrace and more inspiring projects.

Photography by Fraser Marsdsen.