Aileen Sage Darlington Home Tour

Darlington, Sydney
Aileen Sage Architects
Tom Ferguson 

Aileen Sage Architects is a coming together of ideas, innovation and people. The name pays homage to founders, Isabelle Aileen Toland and Amelia Sage Holliday. Since starting the practice in 2013, Alieen Sage has worked across high-end projects in the residential, government and commercial sectors.

Take a tour through one of their most recent projects; a renovated inner city terrace. Aileen Sage Architects artfully opens up the home to flood once dark pockets with light and establish indoor/outdoor living. 

Our Q&A with co-founder Amelia Holliday will take you through the design process for the Darlington terrace, as well her personal experience and insights into the industry. 

Aileen Sage Architects balances the ambition of the renovation by being creative within the confines of the space. Dotted throughout you will find a range of Koskela furniture, textiles, homewares and art which complements the modern, clean lines of the project whilst creating a homely feel. 

“I love the challenge of balancing the poetics and pragmatics of a client’s brief.” – Amelia Holliday 

Can you tell us about the background of the Darlington terrace project? 

This project is a new split-level extension added to the rear of the tight inner city terrace house. This move defines separate living spaces across the site. A central planted light-well brings light and air to the core of the plan whilst a stepped rear courtyard opens up views to the neighbourhood beyond.

 *Featured art is by Michele Morcos (@tinytrappings)

The proposed alterations explore the typology of the narrow terrace house where opportunities for natural light are typically limited to the building ends and roofscape. Whilst the cellular character of the front living rooms is retained, rear living areas are consolidated and extend boundary to boundary to provide direct garden access.
The new courtyard garden connects directly to the rear kitchen / dining space and works with the change in level across the site. The proposed laneway garage is a single storey structure with a planted roof terrace over.
What role do you think furnishings play in tying together your designs?

Furniture and objects suggest ways of occupying the space to make the most of room sizes and proportions along with natural light. They add layers of colour and texture to the house which in this case had a fairly restrained neutral palette.
When did you decide to go out and create your own architecture firm? And have you ever looked back?

Isabelle and I decided to start our practice after a number of years working under Rachel Neeson and Nick Murcutt at Neeson Murcutt Architects. We haven’t looked back and love collaborating on the design of our projects.
What’s your favourite part of the job?

I love the challenge of balancing the poetics and pragmatics of a client’s brief. I like the early planning when you make decisions about key moves on the site and consider the big picture strategy for the work. I also like watching everything come together during the construction stage and ensuring that the design integrity is maintained throughout the build.
Which aspect of architecture do you find the most challenging?

It's often challenging to balance a clients brief and ambitions with their budget but this also forces creativity and thinking outside the square.
What’s your best piece of advice?

Trust your architect.
What are some design trends we should be on the look out for?

We love colour and often select materials and finishes that respond to the history or context of the site. Classic but playful combinations and materials that are sustainable and responsibly sourced bring joy to a space.

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