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Sydney architect Clinton Cole storey transformation: crumbling building gets transformed into a jungle-inspired family home

Sydney architect Clinton Cole storey transformation of a three-story building in Sydney’s inner-west that architect Clinton Cole turned into a jungle-inspired family home

An architect has transformed a crumbling three-story building into a jungle-inspired dream home for his family.

When dad-of-three Clinton Cole bought the 90sqm property in Darlington in Sydney’s inner-west for $930,000 AUD in 2015, the ‘uninhabitable’ structure was in such ‘complete disrepair’ that it had to be razed to the ground.

Just five years later, his unique house that cost just over $1million to rebuild and design is one of 55 New South Wales homes nominated in the Australians Institute of Architects’ first-ever people’s choice Isolation Oasis Award, which recognizes ‘dream’ residences people would gladly quarantine in.

Despite encountering structural issues and problems with planning permissions, the home was successfully transformed into a luxurious $2.5million space complete with three levels of luxe living space and a beautiful rooftop vegetable garden.

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When dad-of-three Clinton Cole bought the 90sqm property in Darlington in Sydney’s inner-west for $930,000 AUD in 2015, the ‘uninhabitable’ structure was in such ‘complete disrepair’ that it had to be razed to the ground

Just five years later, his unique house that cost just over $1million to rebuild and design is one of 55 New South Wales homes nominated in the Australians Institute of Architects’ first-ever people’s choice Isolation Oasis Award

The top floor kitchen and living room that runs into an outdoor garden terrace is where the family spend most of their time

The first-floor bedroom looks out onto the street below via a unique wooden window built into the wall

Mr. Cole made the most of the space by installing a spiral staircase in the center of the house and building a folding extension onto the kitchen island which can be raised and used as a dinner table, then folded away

Mr. Cole made the most of the space by installing a spiral staircase in the center of the house and building a folding extension onto the kitchen island which can be raised and used as a dinner table, then folded away.

‘We find people don’t use formal dining tables very often these days and they tend to attract clutter,’ he said.

He used alternated materials to create a different theme for each level, with exposed brick and concrete on the ground floor, timber on the first, and a variety of metal finishes on the second.

He used alternated materials to create a different theme for each level, with exposed brick and concrete on the ground floor, timber on the first and a variety of metal finishes on the second

The first floor is dedicated to sleeping, with two children’s bedrooms (one pictured), a bathroom, separate shower room, and laundry

The ground floor houses a study, storage area, bathroom, and guest suite, along with a music room originally intended as a parking garage.

The first floor is dedicated to sleeping, with two children’s bedrooms, a bathroom, a separate shower room, and laundry and a master bedroom fitted with a unique wooden window that opens onto the street and closes to look like part of the wall.

The top floor is where the family spends most of their time, relaxing in the open-plan kitchen and living room that runs into an outdoor garden terrace.

Keen to design a space that’s both stylish and sustainable, Mr. Cole installed huge solar panels and a wind turbine on the roof to power the house as naturally as possible.

Keen to design a space that’s both stylish and sustainable, Mr. Cole installed huge solar panels and a wind turbine on the roof to power the house as naturally as possible

Mr. Cole’s Darlington ‘jungle house’ is up against a varied range of properties for the Isolation Oasis Award, from multi-story apartment blocks in the CBD to rural retreats in the Blue Mountains and New South Wales north coast

‘Well designed spaces [like Clinton Cole’s three-story] make a world of difference to you and how you enjoy your time’

The rooftop vegetable garden he dug and planted is now flourishing, ready to provide the family with fresh produce all year round

Sydney architect Clinton Cole, who transformed a crumbling inner-west building into a jungle-inspired family home

The rooftop vegetable garden he dug and planted is now flourishing, ready to provide the family with fresh produce all year round.

Mr. Cole’s Darlington ‘jungle house’ is up against a varied range of properties for the Isolation Oasis Award, from multi-story apartment blocks in the CBD to rural retreats in the Blue Mountains and New South Wales north coast.

Kathlyn Loseby, president of the NSW branch of the Australian Institute of Architects, says the country’s lockdown prompted people to reconsider what they really want from their house.

‘People are spending more time at home and thinking, ‘this isn’t working’,’ she told realestate.com.au.

‘Well designed spaces [like Clinton Cole’s three-story] make a world of difference to you and how you enjoy your time.’

The winner of the Isolation Oasis Award will be announced in July.

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