It began with a simple enquiry. “Can we have a bird cage lift?” And so with this addition at its core, a once unexceptional dwelling on Sydney Harbour was transformed into an extraordinary waterfront townhouse. By reconfiguring the house around a revived grand stair with the new bird cage lift at its centre, accessibility, comfort, elegance and good living across five stories was made possible.
The lift was an elaborately detailed exercise designed by associate Simon Hassall to produce a textured brass filigree that would allow light from the existing glass brick walls to filter through. Rejecting the usual approach of cladding a lift in solid masonry or harsh curtain glass, the woven brass and steel lacework enclosing the lift lends a modern elegance to a typically utilitarian structure, dynamically revealing the movement of the lift car within.
With the removal of walls and obstructions the house interior has been reconnected to classic harbour views on each level. The 80’s gold fittings and beige surfaces have been replaced throughout with rich natural finishes and light neutral colours. A masculine palette consisting of dark smoked oak timbers, weathered brass, black steel, natural stone and warm greys unifies an eclectic collection of furniture, objects and artwork.
Externally, a new entry at the street level extends the threshold from the house to the road, providing a more direct relationship to the street. And tired facades have been enlivened with soft new colours, infinitely adjustable shutters, and a new front door dressed in the bronzed lacework of the bird cage lift within.