August 13, 2022

supportnumberaustralia

Our future home

A clever use of sunlight, space and colour has transformed this narrow terrace into a bright and airy home

5 min read

In a nod to its extraordinary functionality and diminutive proportions, Sally Timmins of boutique firm Timmins + Whyte christened this inner-city renovation ‘Pocket Rocket’.

The clients – a busy couple with a high-school-age son – loved the nickname: after living quietly in the suburbs for many years, they were ready for blast-off. The brief was to reimagine the dark, poky terrace as a zen-like environment, with welcoming communal areas plus privacy for a teenager.



A glass roof and enormous window at the rear of the home flood the dining area with light. The table, chairs and bench – all from Apato – bask in the sun, while the engineered Woodcut floorboards enhance the warmth of the space. The hand-printed artwork is by Caroline Walls.


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A glass roof and enormous window at the rear of the home flood the dining area with light. The table, chairs and bench – all from Apato – bask in the sun, while the engineered Woodcut floorboards enhance the warmth of the space. The hand-printed artwork is by Caroline Walls.

Sally was tasked not only with the architecture but also the interior design and landscaping, which allowed her to develop a holistic response to the building’s core problem: a near-total lack of natural light.



Architect and designer Sally Timmins took great care to thread silver tones throughout the project, even selecting Silver Falls, a type of trailing Dichondra, for the raised garden bed outside the main bedroom window. She added hydrangeas for a touch of glamour.


© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd
Architect and designer Sally Timmins took great care to thread silver tones throughout the project, even selecting Silver Falls, a type of trailing Dichondra, for the raised garden bed outside the main bedroom window. She added hydrangeas for a touch of glamour.

Sally knew a two-storey extension would be needed to accommodate a new kitchen/living zone, an upstairs bathroom and an internal laundry. But instead of building out the entire width of the block, she added a small courtyard on the eastern side of the extension.



A separate dining table and breakfast bar allow the family of three to spread out in the heart of the home. The custom-made breakfast bar comprises a powder-coated steel base and Tasmanian oak top, and the adjoining kitchen island is topped with Signorino terrazzo. The bar stools are from Adairs.


© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd
A separate dining table and breakfast bar allow the family of three to spread out in the heart of the home. The custom-made breakfast bar comprises a powder-coated steel base and Tasmanian oak top, and the adjoining kitchen island is topped with Signorino terrazzo. The bar stools are from Adairs.

“The courtyard brings light into the living room downstairs and allows light and air into the bathrooms on each floor,” Sally explains.

Gallery: 18 balcony decorating ideas (Real Living)

With light and space top of mind, Sally devised a colour palette of soft wood tones and neutrals that expands each room. Pale grey soon emerged as a great unifier. “It’s a neutral that works with everything,” she says.



The Tasmanian Oak kitchen shelving holds tableware by local ceramicists including Connie Lichti and Robert Gordon. The joinery is Oyster Grey laminate from Laminex with brass trim from That Metal Company.


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The Tasmanian Oak kitchen shelving holds tableware by local ceramicists including Connie Lichti and Robert Gordon. The joinery is Oyster Grey laminate from Laminex with brass trim from That Metal Company.

“It’s soothing. And it doesn’t date, like some other colours and tones.” In the living zone, grey joinery helps the kitchen blend into the background and subtly accentuates the warmth of the wood.



The exterior of Pocket Rocket is clad in Colorbond steel in Surfmist, and the decking is painted the same shade.


© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd
The exterior of Pocket Rocket is clad in Colorbond steel in Surfmist, and the decking is painted the same shade.

Sally opted for natural-looking surfaces with visual texture, including veined porcelain bathroom tiling, a white and grey terrazzo kitchen island and engineered wood flooring. “The subtle variations induce calm, more so than surfaces that are polished and stark,” she notes. In the kitchen, a mirrored splashback reflects the garden’s greenery while amplifying daylight.



Veined grey porcelain tiles from National Tiles set a calm tone in the bathroom.


© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd
Veined grey porcelain tiles from National Tiles set a calm tone in the bathroom.

“Sitting in the dining area, you’re aware of the light changing outside,” she says. It’s an ideal spot to gather one’s thoughts before rejoining the rush of the city outside.



Floral accents In the compact backyard, a scattering of flora creates intrigue without blocking the light. The kumquat tree was chosen for its ornamental fruit; bougainvillea peeks out from the rooftop flower bed.


© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd
Floral accents In the compact backyard, a scattering of flora creates intrigue without blocking the light. The kumquat tree was chosen for its ornamental fruit; bougainvillea peeks out from the rooftop flower bed.

3 ways to optimise a skinny footprint

  1. Lay floorboards lengthways and select slim-line furniture to enhance visual flow.
  2. If extending to the rear, add floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors to maximise light.
  3. Crowded walls and busy printed wallpaper can make rooms feel narrower. Less is more!



The tub is by ACS Designer Bathrooms. A shelf, mirrored cabinet and two-drawer vanity offer ample storage in a tight space.


© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd
The tub is by ACS Designer Bathrooms. A shelf, mirrored cabinet and two-drawer vanity offer ample storage in a tight space.

Photography: Tatjana Plitt

Timmins + Whyte is at timminswhyte.com.au and @timminswhyte_architects

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