When architect Adele McNab purchased this compact home in Redfern for her small family, it was dilapidated and uninhabitable. The floors sagged and the rear lean-to was falling apart to such a severe extent that the demolition contractors were perplexed as to how it remained standing at all.
As soon as she could, Adele set out to transform it into a clean, serene family home with seamless connection to the outdoors.
Given its mere 3-metre width, the layout required incredible precision. The ground floor of the main house contains only two rooms: at the front a living room that can be sealed off via a sweeping floor-to-ceiling curtain, followed by the kitchen with integrated shelving and operable windows opening to the all-important courtyard. Adele calls this outdoor space ‘the heart of the house’.
‘The living rooms were previously dark and cold, so the courtyard was important to enable natural light to filter into all parts of the terrace throughout the day,’ she says. ‘This was important not only for practical reasons but particularly to help nurture my family’s mental wellbeing.’
The grass tree at the centre of this courtyard anchors the whole site, providing greenery and an organic shape against the concrete floors, textured walls and hardwood timber frames of the rest of the house. The upstairs bathroom looks down onto this opening, while the main bedroom opens to the stately trees on the street beyond.
Through this courtyard lies a multifunctional laneway room disconnected from the main house, which can be either a home studio, guest quarters or a second living room.
Materials were carefully chosen to provide interest within the small space without overwhelming its proportions. The original home’s bricks were incorporated in the palette for the new design, while the bathroom door and kitchen pendant light radiate the same red hue as the surrounding Redfern rooftops.
‘With this project, I took the opportunity to trial new layout configurations, pushing boundaries with light, space and connections with the outdoors in the hope to inspire other people living in micro-terraces,’ explains Adele.
Undoubtedly, she has succeeded!
See more projects from Adele McNab Architecture here.