Almost Perfect

Almost Perfect

By Mimi Zeiger
Inspired by tansu chests and raw materials that show patina, a pair of Sydney-based architects renovated their own home—slowly.

Perhaps it’s the temperate breeze rustling the gum trees or the charming older homes, but time seems languid in Annandale, one of Sydney’s oldest suburbs. Modest workers’ housing from the early 20th century nestle chummily together along streets scented with fragrant frangipani blooms. Dating from the early 1900s, Annandale cottages are known for their Victorian and Federation-era embellishments. But the one architects John Wilkin and Susanne Pini purchased in 2000 was botched by a heavy-handed 1970s renovation that stripped away its historic features, so the couple opted to treat the building like a blank slate. By keeping the existing shell intact while drawing from building traditions of the Far East, Wilkin and Pini added their own take on ornamentation.

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