When Tim and Liz—a builder and a graphic designer—learned they were expecting twins, they decided to transform the cramped, disconnected living spaces in their home into open rooms full of light and warmth. The young couple engaged Downie North to lead the transformation of their traditional Balmain cottage into a more functional, freely flowing home.
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Downie North left the front two bedrooms and gabled roofline intact, and they reconfigured the original kitchen, living, and dining rooms into a more open plan within the existing footprint.
The design team added a new master bedroom and en suite above the main floor. They also introduced a mezzanine loft under the original roof-line, which now houses a work area and built-in storage.
Inspired by the traditional Japanese townhouses of Kyoto, the Machiya House includes elements of layering and screening that separate public and private spaces. The architects strategically located skylights and windows to draw light deep into the space while providing hints of the public and private spaces within.
Although contemporary in design, the revamped spaces do not forget the past. The home’s original character is left exposed in certain areas through a stacking of forms and a layering of materials. The original brick walls stand as beautiful counterparts to the new, open, and light-filled living spaces.
General Contractor: Owner Builder
Structural Engineer: ACOR Consultants
Cabinetry Design/Installation: Profile Cabinetry & Joinery