THE MAKING OF A FRENCH COURTYARD
The brief: Turn a typical inner city terrace backyard into a French Courtyard to provide extra living space.
The owner of this property in Sydney’s Surry Hills had a typical small pokey east facing backyard which backed up onto a large block wall. Knowing space was at a premium and needing to expand this small house’s living space, I came up with an innovative design to maximise the small space.
The original space was about 7 sqm with an outdoor laundry and old toilet. Interior designer Jonathan Clarke of Urban Interior Design had come up with a clever design that enabled the kitchen space to open out to an alfresco dining area. The ultimate aim of this space was to seamlessly integrate the indoor and outdoor flow and to make a small outdoor area feel like an open extra living green space.
The back area of the house was demolished and reconfigured to use the existing side return as an extra kitchen dining space. This increased the outdoor area to be around 25 sqm. This needed to become a light and bright area – and with walls on all sides, this also needed to reflect a feeling of light and space which is much needed in the inner city. Large sized white coloured concrete pavers were used to give a feeling of space. They were laid on a bed of river sand to allow for drainage when it rained and stop the paved area becoming a pond. Mature Ficus cones were used to give the feeling that the garden had been established for a long time and two old 19th century French doors were mirrored and mounted on the large back wall thus reflecting the garden and giving a feeling of space and grand proportions. A French Urn was used with a Gardenia standard and under planted with annuals. White painted hardy plank walls and wooden trellis were used on the sides to give an impression of ‘French country’.
Overall the feeling of the space made the courtyard feel grand as well as spacious and made a dark underused space an integral part of the house and created a much needed extra entertaining space.