The Carriage House

Warehouse Renovation

Built in 1850 as a carriage-house in Surry Hills, this building was converted in early 1900 to a metal castings factory and more recently a home/studio.  Most of the Ground and First floor were in original condition with an attic floor added approximately 40 years ago.  Over the years of previous tenancy, the interior had fallen into disrepair and needed renovations as well as a new approach to the floor plan.  There were also safety issues particularly concerning the balustrade on the staircases and landings, which were non-compliant.

The client’s brief to Hare + Klein was to reconfigure the Entry/Gallery with a separate Art Studio on the street level; design a new Kitchen and Guest Cloakroom on the First Floor, including a new Fireplace; redesign the Attic Level to create a Master Bedroom/WIR and En-suite and introduce as much natural light as possible.

Respecting the history of the building we repaired original walls, beams, columns and timberwork generally and expressed new work in contemporary materials without touching the fabric of the original envelope.  New walls are in sharp white contrast to the surrounding dark timber.  Cladding over the original balustrade, rather than demolishing it addressed safety issues.  A large skylight over the stair well has brought light into the centre of the building and large industrial pendants light this area at night. 

We also sought to reflect the industrial character of the original envelope through all the new additions.  This feel is reflected in the Kitchen materials – stainless steel; re-cycled Blackbutt (original to the building); a commercial range and feature pendants above the island – a contemporary interpretation of a factory light.  The new gas fireplace is built into a cement fibre wall on a bluestone hearth.

A combination of functional and decorative lighting selected to illuminate the spaces.  In the Kitchen, the soft almost feminine oversized gloss white lamps cast light up and down providing direct lighting without glare adding to the room’s ambient light.  The industrial lighting troughs + suspended wire lighting provided opportunity for task + picture lighting.

From the outset of this project the intention was to preserve and protect the original character and fabric of the building.  The Client, Builder and Hare + Klein were in total agreement on this philosophy throughout the planning and building phases – resulting in a smooth decision making process.  Our design methodology carried through the philosophy of ‘touching the building lightly’.

By letting the building dictate the design language we have added another layer to this honest old workhorse bringing it into the 21st century whilst preserving its original condition.

It is now fully functional as art workshop/studio, a home and a home office.

View Residential Project here

Photography by Jenni Hare