Quaint Escape – Norfolk House by SE DÉA

Words by Bronwyn Marshall
Architecture by SE DÉA
Photography by Sean Fennessy
Interior Design by SE DÉA
Styling by Rikke Harker
Art Direction Marsha Golemac

Reworking an existing terrace home, Norfolk House combines the feminine and the ornate to instil warmth with rich layering throughout. SE DÉA combines an organic and restrained approach to extend the original handcrafted nature of the home through a more contemporary lens, envisioned as an idyllic escape.

Nestled within the tightly woven streets of Sydney’s Paddington, Norfolk House draws from the home’s original sandstone to re-define its presence as a contemporary residence. Contained within the existing footprint, the new works were inspired by the smallness of the terrace and its originally handmade and crafted features. Establishing the home for its next chapter, increasing lightness and openness were central to the design, as was ensuring connections to the equally quaint private courtyard spaces. By focusing on a consistent palette and staying true to that throughout, the volumes feel filled with light and larger than they are. SE DÉA recalibrates the floor plan to remove some of the more antiquated formalities and instead overlays a more open and flowing response.

Establishing the home for its next chapter, increasing lightness and openness were central to the design, as was ensuring connections to the equally quaint private courtyard spaces.

Reimagined for its growing family, Norfolk House reworks the existing to allow for the needs of everyday life. However, retaining the essence of its heritage details was imperative to connect the new insertions. Unused access to northern light was corrected, while creating greater access to outdoor spaces was a key gesture in the replanning exercise. Whilst both the ground floor and upper level were realigned, the decision to build out the attic space added much needed floor area. The newly defined space has flexibility at its core, seeing it used as a retreat, working, reading, storage, media or play space as needed.

Inspiring the design approach was the delicate detailing and feminine touch already in place. As the owner is a florist, references to florals are felt throughout the select palette and materiality, all underpinned by a soft and muted nature. Combining warm neutrals and subtle textures also created a calmness, reinforcing a sense of retreat intended for the home. The connection to surrounding garden beds and florals was also an important part of the home’s story; although narrow, opening out as much as possible and fusing a lightness within the palette was integral. As a key functional element of the home, the kitchen is proposed as a meeting place and sits centrally, opening to the outside and allowing visual access between the other areas on that level.

Combining warm neutrals and subtle textures also created a calmness, reinforcing a sense of retreat intended for the home.

By carrying the charm of the original home into its contemporary iteration, Norfolk House is enhanced, seeing SE DÉA carefully balance the ornate with restraint.