It’s been a while, but here I am. This terrace marks the first time I’ve featured a place in Woolloomooloo, so it’s a premiere, of sorts. I was drawn to it due to its sandstone; there are sandstone terraces scattered around Sydney, and since it’s a pretty special building material I’m happy to be delving into it here. You find sandstone terraces around Woolloomooloo and Darlinghurst as it was drawn from Woolloomooloo Bay.
This house is currently used as both a residence and as a slick office space, and it’s being sold as a mixed-zone proposition. It wouldn’t be particularly difficult to convert into a fully-fledged residence, if that was somebody’s bent, and the parking allotment (for two-three cars) gives it a point of difference compared to other terraces around. It’s currently on the market (as the first photo indicates!), with offers being sought just over the $1m range.
The bottom floor of the terrace, which contains the primary office/meeting zones, the kitchen and the bathroom, has been well-renovated as it, firstly, is spacious (transforming this area into living zones would give you a front room and a rear entertaining area leading on to the kitchen; not a bad set-up) and, secondly, is extremely well-lit, which (as I’m sure I’ve written numerous times!) is one of the central challenges when reconfiguring a terrace.
The rest of the floor plan is very vertical; there are three levels, the middle currently being used as a photography studio with another sitting area (which could become a master bedroom) and the attic being used as bedroom. If I were to convert the house, I would keep it to two bedrooms rather than three and use the area currently used as a photography studio as another living space; it’s fairly rare to have distinct living spaces across levels in terraces. This floorplan lends itself to the idea.
The office incorporates a feature wall made up of original convict stock bricks, which helps the house retain its links to its c1880s origins (plus, it looks plain good). The renovation has been done with a consideration of the place’s character and heritage, which means that its prettiest features mostly remain intact. In the office, what was once a fireplace is now being used as storage. Although it would be nice to see the original fireplace, it’s comforting to see the space being utilised with a nod to the past.
The terrace is located in an interesting spot. Woolloomooloo has been walking a fine line between the gentrified and urban decay for some time now. There are a host of clever little office spaces dotted around the area, and the terrace itself is within footsteps of Toby’s Estate, around the corner from Flour and Stone and skipping distance (if that’s your preferred mode of getting around) to Darlinghurst and the CBD. Then there is Finger Wharf. On the other hand, though, this suburb, moreso than most that have undergone the gentrification treatment, rubs shoulders with its past – there are still large portions of public housing, and unlike in, say, Newtown (don’t trust the sign – Newtown totally is about yuppie [and student...] life now. Not that there’s anything wrong with that), the suburb still has some, erm, spice. But that’s cool. There has to be something real left in Sydney, right?
Next time you’re in the area, take a walk through Darlinghurst and Potts Point before detouring your way into Woolloomooloo. The contrast is patent; even within Woolloomooloo, different streets offer completely disparate experiences. With the Wharf boasting the residence of some of Australia’s most famous celebrity-types, and its location smackbang to the east of the CBD on the bay, it’s an interesting wonder. That said, it’s probably only a few years off fully-fledged gentrification (how could it not be, with that location? The government doesn’t tend to hold on too tightly to these precincts – see Glebe as an example) and even higher prices (it’s currently the most affordable in the inner-east region, from my estimation), so its entry point will presumably start to exponentially rise in the mid-term future.