A blog that explores Australian houses. If you love architecture, design, interiors and interesting buildings of all types, The House Hunter is for you.
Tag Archives: Sydney

110 Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay

 

Usually I prefer to write about places I hunt out myself, but sometimes one is sent to me that I really like. This is one of those times. It’s a block of apartments up for sale in one of my favourite suburbs (as I’ve noted before), Elizabeth Bay. It’s on the harbour, it’s curvy, it’s strata-titled…All wins.

 

It contains four two-storey apartments, which is pretty contemporary for a block built in the early ’70s, although it sounds like some remodelling may have occurred, and is listed on the Australian Institute of Architects’ register of Significant Architecture in NSW.

 

 

The piece I was sent said it’s being marketed at around the $30 million mark (which figures) by Stuart Cox of Savills, who said “I doubt that an entire block of apartments in this prime location will become available again in my lifetime” and described it as a “trophy asset”.

 

May I please have this view?

 

This little article provides some perspective on the construction. The tower-like build was precipitated by the narrowness of the block (unsurprising in the area). Every floor has harbour views, and there’s basement parking for up to 12 cars, a serious boon in an area in which I have personally driven around for an hour without finding anywhere legal to park my car. It’s been thoroughly updated (as the pictures demonstrate) - both in terms of the individual apartments and the common areas – so the primary question is what the purchaser will do with the block. It’s an intriguing proposition.

 

 

Various, Cremorne Point

I really hope that one day I become the kind of person who lives in a place like this.

 
Can you smell the sweet, sweet scent of prestige? That’s Cremorne Point for you. You know the people who traveled first class on the Titanic? The people who live at Cremorne Point are the modern-day equivalent of them. That sounds more dire than intended (I’m sure the suburb isn’t sinking). The point I’m trying to make is: woah wealth. The suburb is around 6km from the CBD and is smack bang on the harbour. It has a ferry wharf, making it even cooler. I couldn’t find anything more recent in my five minutes of research, but according to Property Observer Cremorne Point was the sixth most expensive apartment market in Sydney in 2012…just a random fact reaffirming my ‘this is an expensive suburb’ thesis.

 

 

I’ve been a bit slack lately and haven’t explored a house, but since I was in the area I thought I’d snap some pictures of the fairly amazing houses and apartment buildings dotted along the foreshore of this suburb. Hopefully that will tide you over.

 

 

The view isn’t bad, either. Incidentally, I think the shed in the above photo might be the same one that’s the subject of this article? Fun fact: I was eleven when that article was written. Half the age I am now. Ah, nostalgia.

 

 

Although this set of apartments comes from a later era than most of the places in the suburb, I really like the formation/symmetry/pattern.

 

Cremorne Point is also home to my favourite Sydney pool. It's right on the harbour. Perfection.

Joanna Lamb: 15 Colour Series

 

You may have noticed earlier that I’m not just keen on architecture – I am also keen on art about architecture. (That’s how far out and expansive my taste is.) This was probably made clear with one of my absolute favourite posts (seriously, I love it – you should definitely take a look because you’re pretty much guaranteed to like it), which featured Anna Carey’s photographs of the incredibly awesome house models she makes from her memories of Gold Coast beach shacks and hotels.

 

So I was excited when I found out about Joanna Lamb’s latest exhibition at Sullivan + Strumpf. It’s a series that focuses on interiors, juxtaposing them with vibrant colour. I did a brief Q&A with the Perth-based artist below.

 

I particularly love this piece.

 

How would you describe your latest exhibition at Sullivan + Strumpf?
My latest exhibition at Sullivan+Strumpf is a series of works that deal with domestic interiors and exteriors. There are a number of paintings, a series of 10 works made from lasercut laminex and a neon and aluminium piece. All the works use a restricted palette of the same fifteen colours.

 

What brought about your interest in incorporating representations of architecture into your art?

I have been painting urban and suburban imagery since I was at art school. I am drawn to its abstract qualities of form, space and colour. I was brought up in the suburbs of Perth. It’s where I live now so in that sense it is what I am able to comment on the most honestly.

 

How did you link the architectural concepts in your pieces with the vivid colour choices?

The colour choice was made first. The fifteen colours chosen were derived through an intuitive process in which I considered colour contrast and tonal value to most effectively suggest multiple spatial scenarios. Using these colours only I then manipulated different compositions until they made sense visually. The architectural imagery was used to show off the possibilities of using this set palette. I have often used some kind of system to direct my work.

 

What do you hope the audience takes away from the series?

It was important the works were seen together to understand the idea behind it. The works definitely work as separate objects but have more impact when viewed together. There is one particular work - an image of a pool painted directly onto the wall of the gallery - which, because of its size and lack of an edge, makes the viewer part of the piece. Maybe it’s a concept suburb; one which you might not want to live in permanently, but it’s an interesting place to visit.

 

Can you describe the process that goes into creating a piece?

Most pieces are based on photos I have taken of places I know or images found on real estate sites on the internet. I create initial drawings on the computer which can take anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks.

 

Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
I am working on several ideas at the moment which may form the basis of works for upcoming solo shows over the next year and a half.

 

Has your approach to art and design changed significantly since you started out in the industry?
My approach to art has changed significantly since I started out. The computer as a tool is now an integral part of my practice after coming to it quite reluctantly after studying graphic design. Also the influence of advertising and graphic design imagery and print and electronic media processes have infiltrated my work very significantly since working in the design industry.

 

 

74 Sophia Street, Surry Hills

Surry Hills is one of my favourite suburbs, and this original terrace might have had the greatest emotional effect on me of all the houses I’ve featured on the blog (which isn’t to say they’re not all amazing. They are. You should totally go back and read about them when you’re done with this post). I’m not totally sure I can explain why – I’ve featured dilapidated terraces before – but something about this one is deeply evocative; hopefully the photos can express it better than I can verbally. It’s grungey and when you walk through it you’re transported to this untouched, decaying otherness. I completely adore it.

 

So, what are the points to note about the house? We’re looking at a three bedroom terrace with a courtyard (and vegetable patch. Win!), in addition to rear lane access. There is no parking, but hey, you’re in Surry Hills – you can get used to that.

 

The ‘terrace’ itself is a sunroom. I personally prefer when these are converted into terrace structures (ie open to the elements) as I think that looks prettier on houses like these; however, that would require really sensitive treatment in order to ensure it’s in keeping with the design of the house, if it were to be permitted. Plus, some people prefer sunrooms.

 

The plus side of the house being unrenovated, of course, is it retains every element of its heritage features, which the renovator will hopefully take full advantage of. High ceilings, French doors, wooden floorboards, ornate skirting boards and so on.

 

My favourite picture.

 

The current bathroom is an outhouse. It looks exquisite (to me, anyway); pink paint contrasted with square white tiles and a lopsided mirror. Fun fact; the house I grew up in only had an outhouse for a couple of years before my parents incorporated it into the house. So there you go.

 

The floorboards are original and have different shades and so forth. If possible I’d try polishing the floorboards as is to keep that ‘mismatched/contrast’ look. But keep two things in mind: I have no idea if this is possible, and I am a bit strange in general.

 

One of the rooms is quite interesting for its time; it has an interior window that looks into the kitchen in order to let light in. This is a common design element of modern-day one bedroom suite apartments. The obvious change here is to knock down that wall and create an open plan kitchen/dining/living area.

 

Two of the bedrooms are upstairs, one is downstairs. I’m not sure whether the floorplan will be significantly updated when the renovation is done, although a bathroom will obviously have to be included. There is fairly significant space in the back courtyard (it currently houses a bathroom and large laundry area), that could be utilised as a studio/teenager’s accommodation if you were that way inclined. I assume many people would prefer to keep the space for a back garden, but it doesn’t hurt to have room for more living space when you’re looking at a terrace home.

 

 

74 Sophia Street is on a cute street in Surry Hills close to the Holt Street end of the suburb (which is the part of the suburb I’m most familiar with. Hello, News Ltd building). That means it’s close to Holt Street dining, Central Station (can’t really get much more convenient than that, can it?) and everything else the area has on offer, which is quite a lot.

 

Laundry/outhouse.

 

It is going to auction. I would buy it if I could and leave it in its original condition as a kind of amazing doll house/squattersville. Ideas like that probably indicate that perhaps it’s for the best that I don’t have the money.

 

Does this not look like it could be in a '90s Marilyn Manson film clip?

The State Library of NSW has this neat picture of what Sophia Street looked like once upon a time. Most people (surely anyone who’s been there) know the suburb’s rags-to-riches story by now, although the people who know it most intimately are also aware that it still has its ‘characters’, its housing commission residences, its sad stories, and its dilapidated terraces. The original terraces afford those looking for inner-city living with an enviable opportunity, although their numbers are reducing all the time.

 

The reason this one stands out from the pack is, firstly, it looks plain interesting (look at the photo to the left – amazing!), and, secondly, its size; this is fairly large, as far as Surry Hills terraces go. Many of the houses in the area are worker’s cottages; this one has a wider, more ornate frontage (worker’s cottages also tend to just come straight up out of the footpath, with no front courtyard/dividing space) and more room to breathe.

 

The suburb has a median house price of around $960k, making it a bit cheaper than its neighbour, Darlinghurst. I can only imagine this is because Darlinghurst borders swanky Paddington. Surry Hills seems to offer a bit more space/parkland than its inner-city cousins Darlinghurst and Potts Point (okay, I’m not sure how Potts Point could be regarded as Surry’s ‘cousin’…but just go with me on this). It’s probably due to the way it was initially constructed; there was more of an emphasis on housing, whereas Potts Point was one of Sydney’s first centres of apartment living. In any case, the suburb is one of the most appealing inner-city post codes; it offers easy access to the city, a plethora of dining/bar options and oozes historic significance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

138 Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo

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.

 

Convict stock bricks.

 

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.