Converted spaces, exposed brick and hidden jungles were the catch cries of 2015. As we look back over the year, the strongest performers were artistic conversions, homes with hidden gardens and apartments with knock out views. Art driven interiors also stole the show, with powerful art collections giving inner-city homes a vibrant edge.
783 Bourke Street, Redfern:
Behind a restored Georgian styled façade, this wide terrace opens with double-height ceilings & walls of glass and holds a surprisingly lush interior and walled garden. Contemporary interiors juxtapose with a bamboo-fringed garden which is artfully balanced.
Interestingly, the spread of cool homes was wider than ever last year, with great eye-candy unveiled across a range of inner-city hoods. While traditional blue chip areas held firm, so called “leaner” suburbs were hot on their heels. Redfern chased Paddington. Camperdown clambered after Chippendale. And as the race for space grew, safe bets were placed on a diverse set of post codes.
Architecturally converted terraces and cottages also continued to stop the press, with a quick look revealing how spectacular and charming single fronted homes can be. As always warehouse and factory spaces were in high demand, changing hands like hotcakes in 2015.
As the world went bonkers for Sydney property, cashed-up owners nabbed property with great district views, sun splashed terraces, minimal interiors and hidden pockets of greenery. Here’s some of the best.
2015’s high status homes showed owners how to get in touch with their inner-Don Burke. Escapism and “holidays at home” were more important than ever. In a year in which colouring books for adults gained popularity, we note how homes with tropical gardens rose in value.
The lushest homes offered private pontoons, internal courtyards and little valleys of garden as an oasis from the concrete jungle. Here’s the view from some of them.
This ambitious design at 8 Broderick Street, Balmain features some cool 1970s touches. The elevated garden sits high above the water and features a large garden patio, flat lawns and outdoor areas all perfect for entertaining. The green-fringed living over multiple levels makes it a highly unique residence by anyone’s standards.
1 Madeline Street, Hunters Hill:
Tucked in a private pocket, on the edge of a blue-chip Peninsula, this extensive 1880s home is a grand sandstone residence. ‘Kyarra’ stretches out on a private 1574sqm parcel of land and shows all the hallmarks of late Victorian design. It features a pool garden, formal topiary, outdoor terrace and flat lawns with leafy water glimpses.
7 Hanover Street, Rozelle:
With living space both upstairs and downstairs, this is a layered family residence that packs a real “wow” factor. The ground floor opens up onto a large and private entertaining space replete with lawn and lap pool. The gym and study are just some of the impressive extras.
Sydney is a saucy little temptress. Surrounded by great beaches and a spectacular harbour, there are many leafy suburbs primed to take advantage of her prettiest aspects.
In 2015 killer views didn’t hark just from the usual places. Treetop views, garden aspects and bush settings also offered a dreamy solace to home hunters in the ‘burbs. Burgeoning city fringe homes with district views or multi level gardens, experienced a quiet renaissance all of their own.
417/6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo:
One of the largest apartments in Finger Wharf, this home has a sense of space that comes when two apartments fuse as one. It boasts impressive views of the Domain, the city and harbour.
21/9 Dank Street, Waterloo:
Part of ‘Xhibit 9’ – one of the area’s most tightly held buildings, this is a double-sized apartment with timber boards and floor to ceiling windows offering district views.
51 Oatley Road, Paddington:
With a corner block adding light and space, this tiny terrace has high-end renovations throughout with big picture windows offering sweeping district views.
Bona fide minimalism
Perhaps we’ve all seen too many episodes of Grand Designs, but in 2015 homes ripped from the pages of Architectural Digest swung heavy weight with buyers.
9 Pickering Lane, Woollahra
: An Iain Halliday creation, this house has a dramatic mix of timber and glass behind its heritage facade. Floating above a moat in a walled courtyard, it’s a ‘castle’ of modernist design.
People reached out for beautiful, minimal residences with monochrome palettes and surfaces so clean and pure you could eat your dinner off them.
31 Womerah Ave, Darlinghurst:
Architect Virginia Kerridge made the most of this terrace’s 4.5m width, reinventing the space throughout. With oversized windows and cool custom joinery, it’s an impressive one-off home.
14 Albion Avenue, Paddington:
A cottage rebuild from Nobbs Radford architects, this home exceeds expectations for a classic inner-city terrace. Never intended for resale, the home is imbued with a sense of pride and quality.
1 Esther Street, Surry Hills:
Designed by renowned architect Graham Jahn and the winner of the 1998 National Residential Architecture Award, ‘Grant House’ is arguably Sydney’s premier warehouse residence.
The hunt for warehouses in Sydney’s semi-industrial pockets really pre-occupied buyers last year. These hen’s teeth properties took on a new glamour, as inner-city space became the ultimate luxury. Buyers in the prestige category were determined to find disused top spots and capitalise on them as one-off, private residences.
5 McLaughlan Place, Paddington:
A marvel of views, natural light and in/outdoor design, this old warehouse has been transformed into a cool modern home. Nothing spared, nothing forgotten, while hints of its past shine on.
We met vendors looking to leave Surry Hills for a bigger patch of warehouse in Redfern and chatted to other buyers snapping up warehouse style spaces in student hubs like Camperdown, Newtown and Kensington.
1/84 Francis Street, Leichhardt
: Previously part of the Cyclops toy factory, this warehouse residence has the ultimate flow between indoor/outdoor spaces. Few conversions harness this feeling of liveability. It retains hints of genuine old warmth, alongside unashamed new sheen.
3 Esther Lane, Surry Hills
: Home and studio of the late Colin Lanceley, this rare and enormous warehouse is set over two floors in the heart of Surry Hills. Featuring sprawling rooms and soaring ceilings, it is a calm and creative oasis for the artistic soul.
73-75 George Street, Redfern:
This old industrial warehouse is now a single residence. Thanks to the volume of space and old details, it recently set a suburb record when it was sold in early December 2015. With ceilings and paint removed, the unspoilt original space is a rare find in this rising neighbourhood.
Colours & lights
Interiors with punchy colours made a big impression in 2015. There was an overall sophistication to the mood of interiors – with eclectic interiors covered in great art, finishing off some of the most desirable homes.
24 Leichhardt Street, Leichhardt:
Renovated throughout, this house makes the most of an ideal north aspect to its living/entertaining space. With indoor/outdoor flow, it opens to a covered deck, lawns & private garden setting.
Owners and stylists took more risks with properties coming onto the market. Lots of personality and quirk were included in homes to provide a competitive edge. Yellow, purple and splashes of fire engine red were all used to enliven neutral spaces and make homes ‘pop’ on screen.
14 Albion Avenue, Paddington
: Oak floorboards and custom joinery link spaces, while floor-to-ceiling pivot glass gives the whole home a wonderfully open and spacious feel.
49 Hereford Street, Glebe:
Dramatic lighting and bold monochrome art give a wonderful gravitas to this formal dining room in a converted Victorian home.
Click here to read about 2014’s best homes.