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Home Tour: Garden Home

The transformation of a dilapidated Victorian home in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs is turning heads, for all the right reasons.

Who lives here: Professional couple with two young children.

Location: Queens Park, Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.

Decor style: Beautiful blend of old and new architecture.

Favourite space: The open kitchen, dining and living room. The joy of being inside a space that is so private yet light-filled is wonderful.

Favourite pieces: The Jardan couch is pretty phenomenal.

Steps away from Sydney's sprawling Centennial Park, on a corner block in the luxurious inner-city suburb of Queens Park, sat a rundown heritage home. That is, until now, when a young professional couple returning from the United Kingdom engaged Carla Middleton Architecture to take on the task of transforming the home into a sophisticated family abode with a whole lot of wow factor.

"Residential architecture is so personal and intertwined with how different people live their lives," explains Carla, who designed the home for the couple who had two babies during the build. She created a light-filled and spacious home with an indoor playroom, a golf simulator, a study that overlooks Queens Park and an outdoor living area complete with a landscaped garden and pool.


Carla's brief was to retain the home's heritage features while designing an extension that introduced an open kitchen and dining area and reconfigured existing rooms to allow for better use of space and functionality. Capturing the northern light was also a must in this four-bedroom, three-bathroom home, which is a celebration of well-considered design that brings together the old and the new.


The existing façade, with its beautiful Victorian elegance, formal garden, and restored sandstone wall, leads you into a hallway that runs the length of the home—opening into a spacious living area bathed in natural light, which filters through from a void and oversized glass sliding doors.

"The new extension is separated from the existing part of the home, but the central hallway is the common thread binding the two parts of the home together," explains Carla. "The architectural cues and connections between the old and the new parts of the house allow them to retain their own identities."

The rooms at the front of the home preserve an elegance of a bygone era – curved architrave, decorative mouldings, floorboards, and cosy fireplaces are the canvas to designer furnishing. Moving through the home to the rear of the house, the home starts to take on a decidedly different feel.


"Making one large open space at the rear on the ground floor was something I wanted to explore. But how does one break it down into all of the ''spaces'' for living without it feeling too large and cavernous?" was a challenge Carla had to overcome.

Taking her cue from the home's existing structure, Carla created a rear extension that extrudes into three distinct shapes accentuated by black frames. They subtly reflect the three zones within the home's extension; the large open plan living, dining and kitchen spaces on the ground floor, and the family bedrooms, playroom, study and bathrooms on the first floor.

Overlooking the outdoor entertaining area and garden, the light-filled living area is luxuriously spacious, with three distinct zones anchored by defining furniture pieces; the Jardan Valley lounge within the living space, the Cosh Living dining table and chairs in the dining area, and the oversized marble island bench in the kitchen. All three spaces look out onto the entertaining outdoor area created by Garden Life, which feels like a retreat from the everyday.


"I see the garden as another room, an outdoor room to be used at different parts of the day depending on where the sun is in the sky," says Carla. "The rear deck, grass and swimming pool actively engages with the main living parts of the home with the rear doors opening up to provide an indoor/outdoor connection. It's very much a practical area for the kids to play and the owners to privately relax and retreat with the high fence walls and surrounding gardens."

To provide more space, the owners wanted to reduce the size of the existing garage, creating a third outdoor room, a courtyard that provided the owners with a cool space to retreat to after a relaxing swim in the sunny pool.

"I love seeing the occupants enjoy the house. The light-filled inside a space that is so private but light-filled is wonderful," says Carla.

Centennial Parklands


In all its style and elegance, Queens Park is perfectly positioned to take in the best of Sydney's Eastern suburbs. With the expansive Centennial Park to one side, Bondi Junction to another, and moments from the city centre and stunning coastline of Bondi, everything you could ever want is on hand. Queens Park itself is a small community of beautiful heritage homes and modern wonders, a quiet retreat from the bustle of its surrounding neighbourhoods, which celebrate good food, fashionable boutiques and an outdoor lifestyle.


For brunch: Ruby’s Diner for deliciously wholesome food to kickstart your day right.

For lunch: Centennial Homestead, for its winning location and delicious food.  

For dinner: Three Blue Ducks in Bronte is one of our absolute go-to's. Renowned for their wholesome and delicious brunch, they are an absolute must for dinner as well.

For drinks: Wonder down to Bondi Icebergs, if only for the views alone!

Go-to local boutique: Surrounded by Bondi Junction and just beyond is Woollahra, Paddington and Bondi, so Queens Park is spoiled for choice. 

Best things to do in Queens Park: Spending time in the beautiful parklands of Centennial Park and Queens Park. 


Architect & Interior Design: Carla Middleton Architecture

Styling: Anna Delprat

Builder: PGR Projects

Landscaper: Garden Life

Photographer: Tom Ferguson

Words: Margaret Quilter

Looking for more home inspiration? Why not check out these 6 interior design trends for 2023, or peruse these chic sofa beds for a dreamy night's sleep.

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