Ode To The Terrace

Sydney terrace, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways… Apologies for mangling Elizabeth Barrett Browning and OK, that bit of verse is from a sonnet not an ode, but you get the gist. Us Sydneysiders are passionate about our terrace houses. So much so that some of the earliest still-surviving terraces, at Susannah Place in The Rocks, have been preserved as a Living Museum.

One sweet little quartet of heritage-protected terraces (pictured) in Newtown, where Design Plus Drafting is based, proudly bear the flower names Lilac, Aster, Lily and Tulip. Too adorable. With their miniature mansard roofs and ornate facades they scream, “We’re small but beautifully formed.”

The suburbs of Paddington, Glebe, Surry Hills, Balmain, Rozelle, Erskineville, Alexandria and St Peters are also awash with this venerable style of medium-density housing, which historians say dates as far back as the 14th century. Much of the 1363-built Vicars’ Close around Wells Cathedral in England still stands today, which goes to prove that the terrace is a hardy little blighter.

However, the expectations of homeowners in the Sydney terrace’s glory days of the 1850s to the start of the 20th century were vastly different to modern needs. The era of a family of 13 coexisting in a two up, two down bald-faced terrace in Darlinghurst ended with Tilly Devine and the Razor Gangs. Consequently, space is often the greatest concern customers have when they first approach Design Plus Drafting about making their beloved terrace home more liveable.

Luckily, the terrace is surprisingly versatile, and our building designers are adept at squeezing every millimetre of potential from the most compact of conjoined houses. Renovations could include removing internal walls to create open-plan areas, plus redesigning and relocating the bathroom, laundry and/or kitchen to a more practical location in the floor plan. If you don’t have the land area for an extension, an attic conversion is a great way to utilise an underused area you already have within your home. And you’d be amazed where you can fit a ‘granny flat’, otherwise known as a secondary dwelling.

Design advancements such as tubular skylights and super-efficient insulation and glazing also enable today’s terrace lover to transform their dark, draughty-in-winter and stifling-in-summer home into a bright, airy abode that’s comfortable to live in all year round. Which means great things for the longevity of the Sydney terrace.

Whether you just need a draftsman to draw up simple renovation plans for your builders to refer to, or a specialist building designer who is an expert in the heritage restrictions common to terrace homes, Design Plus Drafting is your one-stop shop for drafting, Development Applications and Complying Development certification. So give us a call to make your terrace truly terrific.

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