The Tusculum St Residence elegantly combines the design notions of traditional charisma and minimal modernism by Smart Design Studio

1View of the Existing House
Project credits:
Project name: Tusculum St Residence
Location : Sydney, Australia.
Design Firm: Smart Design Studio
Project Team: William Smart, Victoria Judge, Richard Storey, Edmund Spencer
Year Completed : 2010
Structural Engineer:  Ruggero Benvenuti- Benvenuti S.C. Pty. Ltd.
 Quantity Surveyor: Shane Taylor- Muller Partnership
Principal Certifying Authority: Paul Rigon- NSW.
Building Certifiers Geotechnical: Mark Bartel- Asset Geotechnical Engineering Pty. Ltd.
Mechanical Engineer: Brian Reid- Brian M. Reid and Co.
Co. Hydraulic Engineer: Peter Argent- A Squared Consulting .
Arborist: Martin Peacock- Martin Peacock Tree Care.
Acoustics: Thomas Taylor- Acoustic Logic Consultancy.
Heritage: Don Wallace- NBRS + Partners.
Sustainable Building Design: Graham Hunt- BASIX.


2View of the Extension to the House

The multiple award-winning Tusculum St Residence project revolves around crafting an exhilarating renovation and extension to an existing, turn-of-the-century terrace house in Sydney’s Potts Point neighbourhood. The spiralling staircase, a striking and elegant element, is the pivotal connector between the old and the new parts of the house. The stair spans the width of the building, featuring elusive fan-like steel treads that cantilever from a single, central steel post. Winding its way past six split levels, the stair offsets between the old and new sections of the house.

3The Staircase
4The Staircase

Inspired by the pure forms of Modernism, the stair was envisioned as the core element that grafts the new, contemporary, minimal structure to the old, refined persona of the older portion of the house.

5Conceptual Design of the Staircase connecting the various Split Levels 
6Conceptual Design of the Staircase connecting the various Split Levels 

The staircase projects spacious living areas and private zones from each of its side, with one area per level, alternating between the old and new parts of the house; these zones being formal living, dining, kitchen and informal living; master suite, guest suite, study and laundry.

7Kitchen and Dining Area 
8Kitchen and Dining Area 
9Kitchen and Dining Area 
10A Private Zone in the House 

Each of these zones maintains a unique sense of privacy from the other, owing to the offset in its levels. In spite of this, the zones retain an impression of interconnection in the openness and movement of the stair.

33Stair opening into the Kitchen and Dining
11Stair opening into the Study 

The internal finishing of the old part of the house is contemporary and tasteful in a stripped-classical style, complete with deep flush skirting boards, mannered panelled doors, and wide timber floorboards. All the finishes are done in gloss white paint which is balanced by richly coloured set plaster walls.

12Interiors of the Existing House 
13Interiors of the Existing House 
 14Interiors of the Existing House 
15Interiors of the Existing House 
16Interiors of the Existing House 

The extension to the house is in contrast to the old part, with its mainly white with floorboards of the same gloss finish. It features a black stained timber-boarded joinery element across three levels. Bronze window frames, ironmongery and trims bring about unison between both portions of the three-storey home. A perception of poetry is created in the design through multiple layers of precision in joinery, details and the colour of the walls, making the interiors unique to the house.

17Interiors of the Extension to the House
18Interiors of the Extension to the House
19Interiors of the Extension to the House
20Interiors of the Existing House 
21Bathroom Interiors
22Bathroom Interiors
23Bathroom Interiors

The Studio believes that each of their design should contribute positively to their exterior surroundings, respecting the environment they sit in. Externally, the connection of the house to its context is highlighted by a 13 metre clear span wall of sliding doors, overlooking a pocket garden. Along with this, the bi-concealed doors are masked by detailed joinery to provide a harmonious connection with the tiered rear garden and its mature pepper trees.

24Sliding Doors as Connectors between the House and its surroundings 
25Sliding Doors as Connectors between the House and its surroundings 
26View of the Tiered Garden
27View of the Tiered Garden

This house presents innovative spaces complimented by confident forms, minimal design and intricate detail. It illustrates Smart Design Studio’s philosophy that ‘form has a function’, instead of ‘form follows function’. The project is a testimony to their relentless determination to push their parameters to formulate new solutions and embrace modern technology.

28View of the Existing House
29View of the Extension to the House 
30Floor Plan 


Design Team

– Tanvi Naik ,Volume Zero.

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