Two Wall House

Uniting Form and Function, This Modernist Home Provides Blueprint for Successful Urban Infill

At nearly four meters wide, this day-lit and spatially sensitive home that demonstrates how compact living can be achieved without forfeiting domestic quality. Integrating function with form, the design delivers the amenity of a luxurious open-plan apartment within a tiny footprint. Sited on a corner lot beside an older, two-story Victorian terrace house, the three-bedroom remodel sets itself apart with a sloping, zinc-clad roof topped by a prominent over-scaled dormer window. Behind fine steel balustrading and fencing suggesting continuity between the two properties, minimalist timber, glass and stone details frame the front entry.

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To achieve just the right amount of living space, the façade was extended a mere 700 millimeters. The living spaces are thoughtfully arranged between the two boundary walls by utilizing primarily timber joinery to define the different zones and uses. Two layers of skylights, one at the edge of the upstairs corridor and another in the roof above it, allow daylight to flood its interiors.

The sitting room at the front of the house features a large glass wall where light filters in through the branches of a frangipani tree. Adaptable furniture and a bed that can unfold from the timber joinery wall allow this area to double as a guestroom. It can be made private by pulling the roller blinds down over the window or pushing shut the rotating door—just beyond which a powder room is nestled beside the stairs.

From there, a narrow hall carries clear sightlines to the courtyard beyond while leading you alongside the kitchen and dining area. From a ceiling height of roughly three meters at entry, the floor slopes subtly until the height reaches nearly four meters at the courtyard edge, signaling a sequence from the condensed front portion to the expansive back. There, sliding doors open up to the carefully landscaped courtyard, complete with a plunge pool and garage with a working studio atop it. At this end of the house one stair below the dining room, the family room is the venue for entertaining, gathering and lounging. Joinery walls in a white palette provide storage for day-to-day living and darker oak joinery provides visual contrast and marks a different use.

The stairway to the upper level is located immediately behind the front sitting room. Designed for efficiency, it exhibits the modernist material quality seen throughout the house. The top level houses the three bedrooms along the same main axis—one beneath the large dormer window, which serves as a sitting nook and light source; followed by a shared bath beside the stairs; another sleeping space mid-way; and behind a final rotating door, the main suite featuring large wardrobe walls and an adjoining master bath.





Sydney, Australia

Completion Date



180 square meters

A zinc-clad roof slopes towards the roughly three-meter-wide frontage in keeping with the original Victorian façade.

The sitting room at the front of the house doubles as a guestroom with adaptable furniture and a bed that can unfold from the timber joinery wall.

The stairway to the upper level is located behind the front sitting room and exhibits a modernist material quality throughout the residence.

Two layers of skylights let daylight pour through the living space.

The house opens into an elegant courtyard with a garage and studio behind.

The long white central hall draws the eye through the house to the courtyard behind.

An over-sized dormer window acts as both a sitting nook and natural light source.

High-quality materials and detailing give this urban home a more staid, expansive quality.