Sacha Coles, design director at ASPECT Studios, and Lydia Ho bought their Redfern, Sydney property in 2006, as a quirky home over four levels to raise their eventual children.
‘The four sets of stairs would have put a lot of people off, but we thought it would offer us both exercise and the ability to occupy spaces together or separately,’ says Sacha.
They soon welcomed Arki (now 14 years of age) and Ren (6) into the world, and completed minor renovations over the years, until a major home transformation in 2019.
The focus of the renovation was on creating quality spaces, both indoors and out, using tactile materials.
‘We are much more interested in creating good spaces than we are about having perfect furniture or fixtures,’ explains Sacha. ‘A home is a place to live in, love, and form memories, so we are not precious about creating a specific aesthetic. It’s more about what feels right for us, and what can bring comfort to an unusual series of spaces arranged over multiple levels.’
Sacha worked with Anthony Gill Architects, Castle Construction, and SDA Structures on the renovation, which essentially sliced off the back of the house.
What was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house became a four-bedroom, two-bathroom property, thanks to the addition of a new backyard studio (facing the rear laneway).
Separating the new and old buildings is a lush courtyard with shade tolerant plants, which Sacha describes as a ‘living artwork.’
The star of the renovation is the home’s accessible new green roof, installed by Junglefy. This space affords every room in the house with leafy views, and softens the dense Redfern landscape.
Sacha also helped create a community park in the street, which is enjoyed by the entire neighbourhood! ‘With City of Sydney’s support, we shut our street to traffic and reclaimed part of the street for use by the community,’ he says.
Post renovation, Sacha and Lydia’s home is far more logical and generous for a young family. Spaces are comfortable and personalised, drawing the outdoors in at every opportunity.