Smash Repair House


Smash Repair House is the renovation of a former car workshop on a corner site in the Paddington conservation area.

Conceptually, the house seeks to do one thing well : to provide a joyful, nurturing, inner world within a protective, respectful perimeter.

The building exists within a relatively intact streetscape of Victorian terrace houses, yet historically and formally does not fit the terrace typology. An anonymous painted brick exterior is presented to the street with a form that is governed in many aspects by the context. However, this perimeter gives way to heavily detailed internal spaces around a central private courtyard through which light and air are drawn to all three levels.

The immediate sensation upon entry is calmness, and quietness. The house represents a pause in the spatial and temporal external world, which unfolds in layers to reveal a core of space around which all the rooms of the house are arranged.

Materially, there is a consistent natural palette chosen for warmth, robustness and honesty. Brick perimeter walls are expressed internally. The roof is unpainted galvanised sheet. Blackbutt floors and joinery are beautifully crafted. Steel security and privacy screens are applied to all outward facing windows. West facing glazing is all protected with operable screens. Open jointed blackbutt battened ceilings are detailed to absorb reflected sound and make a significant contribution to the internal environment.

Environmentally, the house is adapted to the pre-existing perimeter brick walls and re-uses bricks from site for any new walls. There is a 4kW optimised photovoltaic array on the roof. Windows and internal shutters are all made using large sections of recycled blackbutt. Tables are made using hardwoods salvaged from site during the build.

Economically, while the house is spatially and materially rich, it is not excessive. The small floor plan allowed for a relatively high level of detail within a modest budget, and reinforces the case for building small and well.


Project Team – Matt Elkan, Sam Horspool, Daina Cunningham

Builder – ARC – Brad Swanson

Structural Engineer – Charles Blumer – SDA Structures

Joinery - Streamline Custom Interiors

Photographs – Clinton Weaver


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