Hurlstone Park House by Carla Middleton Architecture

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    Architect Carla Middleton introduces sustainable and modern spaces to a Sydney cottage through a new red-brick extension that deeply reflects the family that lives there.

    The Hurlstone Park residence captures the need for comfortable communal spaces and pockets for privacy to accommodate present-day family living. Located in inner Western Sydney, architect Carla Middleton was asked to take on the design of builder Sean Murphy’s family cottage and its new brick extension. With the construction process taking place throughout 2020, flexibility and collaboration were integral to Carla Middleton and the team, builder Sean Murphy, ROR Consulting Engineers and Fig Landscapes. The result is a modern Australian home with a crisp interior, integrated natural light and cross ventilation – that couldn’t be more in tune with how we want to live in our homes now.

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    The slimline Delta Light Microline 40/40 Pendant features in the kitchen above the honed marble island bench.

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    Builder and homeowner Sean Murphy had a vision for a spacious family home renovation and extension, with calm spaces to ease the chaos of small children. He called on architect Carla Middleton to bring this ‘uplifting and grounded’ home transformation to life, complete with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, geometric open-plan living space and a lush backyard.

    The adaptability of Carla Middleton’s design is implied in the home office, which she describes as a ‘surprising outcome’. When lockdown regulations asked people to work from home, the clients were thankful for a new space to allow them to work and isolate themselves in comfort. “The design intention was to carve out skylight tunnels to control the light, but when Sean built the roof, and they could understand the space better, they wanted to make use of this space with a home office,” Carla says.

    “The generous skylights throw light into every corner of the main room, and it gives us a sense of wellness in our confinement. It is indeed a sanctuary for us to breathe easy.”


    – Sean Murphy, homeowner and builder

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    The living room features the Wittmann Kubus Sofa.

    The material palette is a combination of the client’s styles. While Sean loved recycled bricks and wanted them to be prominent in the home extension, his wife, Maddy, loved all things white. This brought together a hand-laid brick façade that conceals a crispness indoors. “The repetition of bricks on the façade shows their agile adaptability to different architectural shapes. The nature of building with bricks by hand, one by one is a skilled craft by a bricklayer, who adds a human scale to the project,” Carla reflects.

    The interior features a ‘confident use of white,’ with high ceilings and large windows to frame the outdoor greenery. Carla honoured the cottage by restoring plaster details in the architraves and traditional fireplace in the kids’ bedroom, with playful pink tones dotted throughout. In the extension, jutted windows in the living area create comfortable nooks for the children to be immersed in the outdoors. Two Jacaranda trees on the site anchor either side of the house’s architectural form.

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    The master bedroom features the Tom Dixon Beat Wall Light.

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    The Hurlstone Park House makes sustainable considerations through water, power efficiency and cross ventilation. Skylights are found in both private and public spaces, allowing hot air to be released and providing natural light and warmth, while the home also features a water tank and solar panels – and cross ventilation from the front door to the rear.

    Carla Middleton Architecture bring a refreshed take on efficient family living to a classic Sydney cottage, now complete with a baby pink front door. Homeowner and builder Sean couldn’t be happier; “we hoped for something beautiful and thoughtful and what we have is all of those things and so much more,” he says.

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    The laundry features DiLorenzo glass mosaic tiles in Cube Blush Matt.

    “The confident use of white internally and recycled bricks are my favourite materials.”


    – Carla Middleton

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    The Moller Bench #63 in the hallway

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