A New History – Coodye House by Virginia Kerridge Architect
Millers Point, NSW, Australia

Photography Martin Mischkulnig & Alejandro Galdo Cora
Words Aaron Chapman
Structural Engineer SDA Structures
Heritage Consultant Weir Phillips Heritage
Bushfire Consultant Holmes Fire
Hydraulic Engineer AJ Smith Hydraulics
Coodye House By Virginia Kerridge Architect Project Feature The Local Project Image 06

An achievement in architectural salvation, Coodye House by Virginia Kerridge Architect is uniquely situated at a junction of Sydney’s historical landmarks. This dual occupancy renovation combines modern colour and craftsmanship while remaining sympathetic to the existing fabric of the heritage building.

Something has to be said of the great challenge and commitment required to preserve history, to resist the urge to demolish old and rebuild new. In this instance, Virginia Kerridge Architect approached Coodye House with holistic consideration, working alongside the experienced Weir Phillips Heritage to navigate the many architectural challenges associated with older buildings.

With verdure outdoor sitting areas and all bedrooms now experiencing leafy outlooks, the characteristic work of both architect and landscape designer brings garden character to this part of Millers Point and a distinct calm to urban chaos.

Firstly, the termites. The ground floor showed signs of previous termite infestation, but both Virginia Kerridge and Weir Phillips believed the existing house remained salvageable. Damaged floorboards were replaced by recycled tallowwood of the same width as part of the architect’s efforts to preserve the building’s cultural significance and character.

A heightened level of attention to detail is needed for a project requiring structural reinvigoration. Great and sincere care was taken by all trades, but it is particularly noticeable in the craftsmanship of the new joinery elements. The redesigned slot-space kitchen is very obviously a new addition but again, because of deliberate positioning where the original kitchen once stood, gives a gentle nod to the existing building.

Yellow marmoleum covers the upper floors, while a diverse spectrum of natural greens and blues emanate joy throughout both occupancies, offering bright modern moments that do not compete for attention with the charming century-old corners of the home.

All architectural answers at Coodye House could be determined by one question; “How will this decision assist this home in being seen as both heritage and architecturally relevant in 2021?”. The same question was asked during styling, with all furniture and artwork chosen to assist this task of balancing the perceived era. This was also achieved through the use of colour. Yellow marmoleum covers the upper floors, while a diverse spectrum of natural greens and blues emanate joy throughout both occupancies, offering bright modern moments that do not compete for attention with the charming century-old corners of the home.

Structurally speaking, relocations were performed to allow reconfigurations. The laundry moved to right beneath the stairwell to allow the rear bedroom an ensuite bathroom. The laundry’s inventive relocation also gave space to the garden bedroom and birthed a new storeroom and coat-hanging area.

The rear facade, previously devoid of any openings, was completely refigured to create ventilation and allow light to penetrate the interior through newly adjoined living spaces. This functional integration on a narrow floor plan bears resemblance to the townhouses found in Sydney’s global contemporaries like London and New York.

Landscape design by Sue Barnsley further responds to the site and utilises a material palette relevant to the historic building. A borrowed landscape from neighbouring properties instills a sense of homeliness and allows momentary transportation away from the hustle, the bustle and the tall buildings of Barangaroo. With verdure outdoor sitting areas and all bedrooms now experiencing leafy outlooks, the characteristic work of both architect and landscape designer brings garden character to this part of Millers Point and a distinct calm to urban chaos.

Working sensitively and collaboratively, Virginia Kerridge Architect has traversed the significant challenges of a heritage project. The result opens the pages of a new chapter in Coodye House’s rich history and brings joy to the experience of inhabiting its spaces.

Published 28 July, 2021
Photography  Martin Mischkulnig & Alejandro Galdo Cora
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