Double Life house keeps the outside world guessing with its aged street frontage, but the moment you enter, there is a softening of the outside world. The acoustic walls and ceiling linings welcome you into a calmer, quieter realm. A moment to pause. You face a library of black joinery, again a disguise for what lies beyond, a hidden room accessed by those who know the secret.
Designed by Breathe Architecture, Double Life is a house for two introverts living in a world of extroverts. It’s their hideout, their fortress of solitude. A mild mannered exterior, but an interior made of steel and strength. This “hide-out” is a narrow inner-city terrace in Sydney. Site constraints included the structural integrity of a house over a hundred years old and the challenges that overlooking presented. These constraints also became opportunities as old ceilings were pared back to reveal the true identity of the building and privacy screens in outdoor courtyards encouraged increased vegetation, ensuring further protection for the owners.
Like a fortress, discovery awaits at every turn. A sunken concrete living room with exposed herringbone struts revealing the true identity of the building. Hidden and double life themes continue with the hidden TV behind a Sonny Day artwork. A stream of natural light invites you deeper into the plan, past a red velvet curtain concealing the main stair and the space opens up to a kitchen and dining area detailed with mild steel, concrete, timber and herringbone brickwork. The material palette is robust, humble and enduring. The north facing courtyard draws you to a narrow concrete stair that leads you further into the lair where an additional courtyard exists. The plan delivers seemingly limitless spaces from a modest and narrow footprint.