11 May Discover Rhythmic House, behind the bold Camperdown lane-way statement
Inner West lane walking can hold some fabulous surprises. It’s where some of our most magical local street art pieces are found as well as kooky little community garden spots and chalk remnants of kids at play. These walks are never dull, they are a quintessential part of Inner West life and where we can also learn more about the creative individuals that make up our community.
I love that it’s also where we discover homes that, often undetectably from the front, have been transformed into architectural statements, congruent to contemporary life at the rear.
Meet Rhythmic House, set prominently at the junction of two Camperdown lane-ways. It meets all of the above. To the front it is is an understated semi detached home, honouring the Inner West’s Federation architecture era, to the rear, it makes a colourful and delightful statement that celebrates life in the Inner West.
The first floor addition is undetectable from the street frontage, preserving a heritage street-scape. Photo by Vikram Hingmire
To the lane walkers, it’s recognisable by a bold Nico Nicoson artwork piece that transforms an otherwise stock standard garage door into a fun statement that rejoices our community’s creative aptitude. The bold and colourful artwork is a well-executed juxtaposition to the monochromatic exterior of this home, which is otherwise crisp and clean.
We were lucky enough to secure an invitation to step beyond the prominent lane-way attraction and chat with owner’s Eric and Kristi and Architect Kitty Lee, to discover first hand what makes Rhythmic House, so well, Rhythmic.
“The amount of light in the newly created space, and the way this transitions between the indoor/outdoor spaces is one of the things I love the most about our home now” Eric. Photo by The Palm Co
This previously functional, partially renovated, single level semi has been transformed by a clever asymmetric upper level and studio garage addition by Architect Kitty Lee.
The asymmetric design was a perfect resolve for a relatively narrow Inner West site where proactively maintaining amenity and sunlight to neighbouring homes, as well as capturing sunlight and creating privacy throughout their own home was a priority for owners Eric and Kristi.
As for being Rhythmic, this is noticeable in the details of the vertical and horizontal materials cladding the exterior and is also inspired by the home’s asymmetric design, which, Kitty explains, is a rhythmic expression of it’s functional requirements.
Rhythmic House, named for it’s asymmetric design and harmonious repetition of materials. Photo by The Palm Co.
Kristi and Eric tell us more.
Tell us about your architectural brief: “We wanted to create more space, move the bedrooms to the quieter back portion of the house and replace the rotting car-port and a bothersome water feature with a garage and studio.”
“The kitchen had already been renovated in a separate project in 2011 and on the ground floor only small changes were required to dramatically transform the existing living and dining rooms.”
“The first floor addition needed to accommodate two new bedrooms, a bathroom and a study. The floor size, which is almost double what it used to be has transformed this home into a four bedroom plus study, two bathroom home with an entire separate garage /studio which acts as guest accommodation.”
“Kitty was able to understand the vision we had, and improve upon it greatly, she graciously accommodated all of our tweaks and changes, and ultimately designed something that is as practical as it is beautiful.”
Kitty Lee cleverly thickened the existing walls to conceal the new first-floor structure, the timber floors were refinished, the wallpaper was replaced with a fresh coat of paint, and new full height sheer curtains replaced the impractical roller blinds covering the existing bi-fold doors. Photos by The Palm Co
A critical part of the design brief was for a set of stairs that would be comfortable and well-lit. The generous solid black-butt stair incorporates concealed LED lighting under each tread and the staircase is naturally lit from above by a large window and skylight. Photo by The Palm Co
How do you use your home differently now? “We enjoy the entire house now, especially having a flowing indoor / outdoor space that allows us to entertain more often.”
“We both also work from home regularly now so we are incredibly grateful for the study space which is sunny and bright.”
“One of the things that we love the most is the feeling of being in a ‘treehouse’. The thoughtful placement of windows in both the first floor addition and studio allowed us to take advantage of natural light and outlook to all the trees that surround the property.”
The new first-floor bathroom is bright and serene, designed with a neutral material palette that is enhanced by the textural variation of the tiles. Kristi loves the light and serenity in this room and told us the comfort of the beautifully shaped freestanding Pietra Bianca 1700 Diva bath from Simply Interiors is one of her favourite functional parts of the home. Photo by The Palm Co
A surprising moment for me was discovering how spacious the studio above the garage felt. Kitty Lee explained that this was created by keeping the space simple and open-plan and incorporating height with a raked ceiling. A small kitchenette and wardrobe bridges the living and sleeping spaces and the design of the windows take advantage of tree and sky views without compromising on privacy to and from the the main house.
Eric also loves that he has plenty of space to store his tools in the garage.
The spacious garage studio means Kristi and Eric have plenty of room for guests and it can double as an income provider via the occasional AirBNB listing. Photo by The Palm Co
The artwork adorning the garage door is a fabulous deterrent for graffiti tagging, as is the rubber like anti graffiti protection over the crisp white brickwork that tempts daily graffiti fate.
What inspired you to use Nico for the garage artwork? “Nico has done a number of murals around the Inner West, we loved his style. We engaged him very early on in the process to see if he was interested, given that his most recent work tends to be on a much larger scale. We found him to be a lovely guy, and our son, who is also an artist, watched the mural take shape, peppering Nico with a million questions throughout.”
Eric and Kristi completely trusted street artist Nico who was given full creative control of the lane facing artwork. Photo by My Inner West Address
Do you have any advice for Inner Westies considering a renovation? “Having a really good relationship with our Architect and Builder throughout made the project so much smoother. Having watched countless episodes of Grand Designs we were conditioned to expect massive cost blowouts, and an inevitable deterioration of those relationships, closely followed by a deterioration in our own relationship. We were incredibly lucky to find not just an Architect and a Builder who we clicked with instantly, but whom also had a really good working relationship. As our build commenced, a number of challenges were encountered, and in each case, we were able to find a solution quickly because of that relationship.”
Eric and Kristi have a solid relationship with their Architect, Kitty Lee and builder, Mischa from Geometric Construction and have formed a great friendship as a result of this. “Mischa was totally dedicated and paid incredible attention to detail throughout the build.” Photos by The Palm Co
Eric and Kristi’s home is located at what we refer to as an epicentre of Inner West lifestyle hubs because it is right on the border of Camperdown, Enmore, Newtown and Stanmore. It’s one of those homes that you can walk a short way in any direction and be right in the heart of it all.
What do you love the most about living in the Inner West and your particular location? Camperdown is a really vibrant community, we know our neighbours, and are walking distance from some of the most eclectic restaurants and bars in Enmore and Newtown, we are surrounded by parks, and we are only 6km from the heart of the CBD.
Here are their top local haunts:
Café : “Soul Brew on Australia Street. We got to know Sam and Sue when we found ourselves both working from home during lockdown, and started buying our morning coffee locally. We tried a few places before honing in on Soul Brew because the Coffee was consistently the best, and the food is great too.”
Restaurant: “Sushi Wow in Newtown. This is our go to when we want to eat and go with minimal fuss, the sushi is always fresh and reasonably priced, and you can be in and out in record time.”
Bar: “Cittavino on Enmore Road. This is a real hidden gem of a wine bar. The owner, Marco is friendly and will find the perfect wine for you whether you are starting the evening, or rounding it off.”
Favourite park: “Camperdown Oval, it’s close by and great for the kids.”
Best kept secret in the Inner West: “That you can get Mary’s Burgers delivered to you in the middle of Camperdown Memorial Rest Park while watching the sun go down over the Inner West.”
Camperdown Oval is Eric and Kristi’s favourite local park and only a short walk from their back lane. Photo by My Inner West Address
I love so many things about Rhythmic House, from it’s unassuming front to it’s surprising rear. It’s a home that delivers not just to Eric and Kristi, it considers it’s neighbours and the community.
So next time you wander down one of our Inner West lanes, look up and hopefully you’ll discover another Inner West home that’s as surprising as this.
Annika and Blake