Top tips for renovating terrace houses

If you walk around the inner suburbs of Sydney or Melbourne you can’t help but marvel at the grand terrace houses. Most are from the Victorian area and located within walking distance to the city making them highly sort after. Most are already beautifully renovated often incorporating exterior folding doors at the rear of the property and command a premium price. However, if you do happen to find a good, untouched gem from the heyday of our cities, snap it up and let your renovating ideas take over! But be cautious, it can be trickier than you think, negotiating strict planning laws and the design challenges that many terrace houses present.

Many terrace houses around Sydney are set on a gently sloping gradient. This can be tricky to work with in some cases, from my experience it is always better to work with the natural slope rather than to fight with it. A nice way to incorporate the gradient is to create distinct levels within the building that step through the ground floor. These levels can then be separated if desired with a range of sliding and folding door hardware. As space is normally at premium in a terrace house, bifold doors are a great option as they can retract neatly to virtually not encroach on the room space at all. If you choose sliding doors instead, just make sure they are rolling on quality stainless steel sliding door tracks to ensure they continue to be easy to operate in years to come. Many companies such as Brio offer a great selection of folding doors with first rate hardware and many options.

Originally, terrace houses were built to accommodate as many people into a small area as possible, hence why most are quite narrow. The entrance hall is often quite long, narrow and dark with natural light often being hard to come by. With clever design modifications however, such as incorporating skylights, using large clerestory windows or installing ingenious glazed exterior folding systems this can be overcome to create a light filled, inviting space. Indeed, traditionally terrace houses had very little connection to the outdoors as the rear of the building was intended to facilitate cooking, washing and the WC. To overcome this, it is very common to use large exterior sliding door hardware such as the type Brio manufacture at the rear of the building to connect the house to the outside or patio in a seamless fashion.