Alfalfa House shortlisted for 2 awards at the 2015 AIA Awards


Alfalfa House, a refurbishment project for the long-standing food co-operative has been shortlisted in the Australian Institute of Architects 2015 Awards in the Small Projects and Sustainability categories. 

Dunn & Hillam Architects undertook this project as part of our commitment to mentoring younger architects, and worked with two UNSW 3rd year students, Morgan Carson and Tim Elliot who collaborated with us on the briefing, feasibility, design and documentation and worked on the tools with the brave and generous Craig Niven of CNC building (also known for his work on Republic of Everyone and the recent Artspace refurbishment) to construct the final product.

We await the final decision on 2nd July at Sydney Town Hall

May 8, 2015







CNC Building Professionals Celebrate at HIA CSR NSW Housing Awards - 21st October 2013


CNC Building Professionals celebrated their success at the 2013 HIA CSR NSW Housing and Kitchen & Bathroom Awards on Saturday night.


The Darlinghurst based company won the HIA NSW Renovation / Addition Project $600,001 $1 million category (partnered by Stratco) for their Darlinghurst project.


Judges said, “This is a beautiful restoration of an existing terrace, with a definitive line for representing new construction. The addition is very modern with a good blend of minimalism that complements the original terrace. A great use of the garage as a second living space with cavity doors to the main outdoor living area creating good zoning. A fantastic use of space on a very tight site”.


Congratulating CNC Building Professionals on such an outstanding achievement, HIA’s NSW Executive Director, David Bare, said the awards were a tremendous display of the housing industry’s capacity, innovation and resilience in tough times.


“It is encouraging to see that in challenging market conditions HIA’s builders and designers have maintained their commitment to excellence. The high standard of entries shows that support for these awards has yet again been remarkable. Each year the bar is raised higher making the judging process all the more difficult.”

“Major winners tonight can look forward to progressing to HIA’s national awards next year and we wish them every success.”


The awards were held in front of a sell-out audience at the Sydney Convention Centre. Special guests included Minister for Fair Trading the Hon Anthony Roberts; Andrew Darley, State Manager NSW/ACT, CSR Bradford Group and HIA’s NSW President, David Linaker.


This year’s theme was ‘Disco Inferno’. The MC for the evening was the well-loved Australian singer, actress, and TV personality, Marcia Hines. After the awards presentation, Marcia then entertained guests with many hits from the years of disco.


The Association’s showcase awards night recognise excellence in housing innovation, material selection, design, construction and services to the NSW residential building industry.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) is the leading industry association in the Australian residential building sector, supporting the businesses and interests of builders, contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, building professionals and business partners.


For further information contact:
David Bare, HIA Executive Director, NSW - 0418 924 127 HIA NSW Events
9978 3333 


Press Release







*NEW*  Sydney Terrace home conversion

ARTICLE Anja Kussler PHOTOGRAPHY Katherine Lu, May 05, 2016


Streamlined modern spaces with broad connections to the outside, balance the desire to complement the original terrace spaces, which were reinstated with traditional, textural details in a modern colour palette.


Sydney terrace home conversion


Creating multi-functional spaces and visual connection to the outdoors, were two main driving factors in Architect Jodie Niven Choi's game plan to convert her family's Darlinghurst Terrace heritage home in Sydney. The inspired project involved stripping the tired-looking two-storey, two-bedroom, one-bathroom existing building back to its original brickwork shell, and transforming it into an airy, modern three-storey, four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom abode with two living areas.

"Our brief was to create a private and sophisticated family home with a series of flexible spaces designed for a variety of uses inside and out," Jodie explains. "And one that catered for family members of all ages, and for our changing needs as our kids grew."


The space factor


Jodie's strong focus on expanding and cleverly utilising limited space, stems from her own experience. At the time she and husband Ivan bought the Darlinghurst Terrace home, the couple were living in a small two-bedroom Sydney-side apartment within a converted Victorian Terrace house.


Sydney terrace home conversion


"We had no connection to the outdoors and as our family grew, first with the arrival of our son Asher, and then our daughter Isla two years later (just eight weeks before construction started!), the space became increasingly claustrophobic."

Hence the main push behind every planning and design decision was to open up the floor area and make every space multi-functional.

"Our focus was not only on increasing the floor space, but also on opening up the house to light, glimpses of sky and the exterior wherever possible. I saw it as a home that we could peel open in summer and retreat within in winter."

The transformation of the original parking area into a second living area is a prime example of a beautifully executed, light-drenched, flexible space. Here, stacking timber bi-fold doors were used to separate the raised parking area from the lower courtyard, with the upper level performing double duty as an outdoor entertaining space.

Atmospheric lighting and integrated speakers that wirelessly connected to the home's audio system were installed, and custom outdoor curtains that can be pulled across to conceal the garage door added.

"That way, when set up with a large outdoor table for an alfresco dinner party or used as a 'performance space' by the kids, the area felt more like part of the home," Jodie says. "We nicknamed it the 'Stage', and certainly used it that way!"


Design wise


 As far as design changes go, Jodie says the original Terrace home had been stripped of much of its original character and suffered from a poor east-west orientation, leaving it dark and cold. In order to give it a new lease of life, she provided a softened minimal design and pared back a black-and-white colour palette to complement the reintroduced traditional, textural cornices, skirting and fireplace surrounds of the original Terrace.


Sydney terrace home conversion


"The original floor boards were in poor condition, so it was an easy decision to stain these black," she says. "The crisp black and white balances the traditional and modern, and highlights the traditional detail as a textural element."


A life(style)-changing result


 It took nine months to complete the makeover. In the process Jodie faced a number of challenges, such as the fact that the building was set on a small, steeply sloped site, that she had an eight-week-old baby and a two-year-old with a broken leg in tow, and that Ivan's job as a business consultant frequently took him out of town.

The alterations provided Jodie and her loved ones with the lifestyle improvements they'd dreamed of.


Sydney terrace home conversion


"Having the ability to change our home to suit our changing social and living needs on a day-to-day - or mood-to-mood - basis gave us a sense of real freedom," Jodie enthuses. "I think we realised that this flexibility is at the core of what is important to us as a family."

Jodie adds that her children and her husband have also recognised how important the outside connection in a home is to them, including glimpses of sky, "it may just have something to do with the way Australians live as one with the outdoors, but those connections to the sky are good for our souls."

Being spoiled for space, Jodie says her kids fell in love with their new home almost instantly and surprised her with the elements they each fancied the most. Asher was lucky to have the upstairs rear bedroom, featuring a seamless balcony and retractable louvre screen, which made it easy to block out light and noise at night.

By day, this bedroom became the kids' favourite playground, with the doors stacked back and the louvres retraced, so they could play and run around inside and out on the balcony, overlooking the timber screen doors to the 'stage', and the borrowed greenery of a large adjoining tree.

"In reality it is quite a narrow space," Jodie explains. "But with careful detailing we were able to provide a large, open outdoor room, rather than a bedroom with a narrow attached balcony." Having recently sold their Terrace home, Jodie says she and her family really miss that special space, "particularly due to the way it lifted our moods. The kids still refer to it fondly as the Balcony House."


Sydney terrace home conversion


Jodie says the 'Stage' was another favourite place for the kids to run and play. "It gave us so much flexibility too - we would pull the timber doors across when we used the space to park the car, giving us a lovely warm backdrop to the smaller courtyard area from inside. And when we had the doors stacked back, the 'Stage' would act as an extension of our interior spaces.

The sale of their Darlinghurst Terrace conversion ultimately made it possible for the Niven Choi family to buy another Victorian Terrace on a much larger site and in a quieter street in the same area. Jodie's final words: "While we were all very sad to leave our first real family home and made some great memories there, we are looking forward to the excitement of creating another new home together.








Daily Telegraph

7 Sep 2013 | Home


"Let there be light

Clever design and attention to detail brightens a tired terrace, writes Chelsea Clark


Inner-­city terraces aren’t known for copious amounts of light and space. So when architect Jodie Niven Choi decided to renovate her Darlinghurst home, the first priority was opening up the space to create room for her growing family. 

Her first point of call was brother Craig who, as a builder, took on the ambitious project to turn a tired­ looking, cramped terrace on a sloping site in a Heritage Conservation Area in into a modern, open and spacious family home. 


“The building had really been stripped of much of its original character and suffered from its poor east­ west orientation,” explains Craig. “So it was really important that we not only restored some of the heritage features, but we also got some natural light into the home by completely opening up the rear.”

Following Jodie’s impressive design plans, the existing terrace was stripped back to the original two­ storey, four-­room brickwork shell, to be reinstated as a three­-storey, four-bedroom, three­-and­-a­-half bathroom home.


Light and bright

Traditionally, terraces are long and narrow, but to create extra space both inside and out, Jodie’s design called for a shorter, but wider, building footprint.

“As a result, we gained a courtyard space which flows on from the kitchen and casual living area at the rear via full­-height, wall­-to-wall glass bi-­fold doors,” says Craig.

Glass was used extensively in the house— a glass roof to part of the downstairs living area and highlight windows in the first­ floor bedroom and bathroom capture the northern light creating a much brighter environment.

“Like most terrace owners, I wanted to make sure we got every last bit of light possible,” says Jodie. “Combined with the skylights over the stairs, we managed to significantly brighten what was previously a very dark space.”


Multi­-use spaces
One of Jodie’s other concerns was that the home provide flexibility for her growing family.
As such, her design incorporated multi­use spaces including a first­floor bedroom, bathroom and living

space that can be transformed instantly with the use of concealed sliding wall panels.
Jodie says throughout the design process, she realised this was the home her children would grow up

in, so it was important the spaces worked for them throughout their childhood and teenage years.
“The sliding panels in the rear first ­floor bedroom and main bathroom mean the space can be used as

a main bedroom and ensuite, bedroom and separate main bathroom, or even open living area, office, or playroom.”

The home’s original parking area provided the other main multi­-function space.

“We removed the roof from the original garage and added timber bi­-fold doors to create a raised parking area which performs double duty as an outdoor entertaining space,” says Craig.

Atmospheric LED lighting, integrated speakers wirelessly connected to the home’s audio system and custom outdoor curtains that can be pulled across to conceal the garage door were all added so when used as an entertaining space, the area feels more like part of the home rather than an unused carport.


Heritage features

Despite all the modern luxuries inside, the exterior of the terrace has been reinstated to reflect its original design.

“To be honest, when we bought the house lots of the original features had really been let go,” says Jodie. “One of my personal hates is when all of the detail gets stripped out of terrace houses so it was vital to me that we paid attention to the heritage of the home.” 

The original tessellated floor tiles and slate steps to the front entry of the home were restored while inside three fireplaces were returned to their original charm. 





Green Magazine


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Surry Hills based business, Republic of Everyone, describe themselves as “sustainability strategists and communicators”, so it’s not surprising they went to great lengths to make their new office fitout as green as possible, calling specialist architects Dunn + Hillam to help out. 
Continuing with ideas developed with their previous architects, Norman and Quaine, their space is a realisation of the brief to “Make it the sort of place people want to come to, with plenty of open space, and make it using as few new materials as possible.” Valet visitor parking (for bike riders), showers (for the sweatier bike riders), and lots of natural light at every desk, the whole office is green powered, carbon measured, managed and offset. 
The new office was chosen especially to encourage creative people to muck around in the park opposite, shoot some basketball or sit under a tree while considering ways to solve the world’s eco and social problems. Let’s all work like that!







Issue 49, 2012


Trash to Treasure - A unified vision from architect and client resulted in a fit-out that places the emphasis on re-use.








Republic of Everything


What's old is new again


Big news for us this week was that we moved into our new office. Then, not one week later, a fella called Paul Barbera emailed to say that photo's he'd taken of our old office were now up on his website, right here.

Just one set of Friday afternoon drinks and it feel like the old office is long forgotten (hey they were good drinks), until you look around and see all the familiar fitout. We first moved into our own office just over a year agon in August '10, the week our Greens ad for Gruen Nation hit the airwaves. It was scary to suddenly not be subletting someone else's space and to have a lease that said you have to keep paying up every month for a year but, of course like all things, it quickly became just the way things were.

One of the things we endeavoured to do was fit out the office in the most sustainable way possible, using chests of drawers and sideboards from Vinnies as deskends and only resorting to plywood for the bits we had to. In decking out the new office, the brief to architects Workshop1 were the same. Come see our old office, figure it out how you can reuse it all to build the new office. So that's what they did.

The result is fresh yet familiar and, we think, something to be proud of. Shelves are simple but effective, storage is plentiful, the board room is made of recycled timbers and there is a visitors parking bike rack.

In short, we're happy in our new home. And grateful to Paul Barbera for taking the time to photograph our old one.





Fairfax & Roberts


March 2012 - For Immediate Release


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Fairfax & Roberts today announced that it has refurbished and reopened its flagship Showroom at 19 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, Australia. Castlereagh Street is the corridor to Sydney’s most desired boutiques, fashion and jewellery stores.

Spanning a vast area of more than 400 square meters in the original 1930’s MLC building, renowned as one of Sydney’s finest - the Showroom will house all the exquisite bespoke jewellery offerings of Fairfax & Roberts, including its on-site atelier and design facilities in an unrivalled setting in Australia.

The Fairfax & Roberts Showroom is designed to provide customers with the ultimate in design and jewellery craftsmanship experience. Over 150 years of tradition and skill lie at the heart of each Fairfax & Roberts unique jewellery piece.

The view directly into the on-site atelier reveals artisans creating their works of art using age- old techniques such as saw-piercing and mill graining which are still employed in this workshop. Fairfax & Roberts’ artisans choose to handcraft pieces rather than use more modern methods as this allows more freedom of design, a greater degree of delicacy, and does not compromise the integrity of the metal. To use an analogy they are creating an original oil painting rather than a print.

One of the world’s most esteemed European jewellery designers, Thierry Martin, joined the company three years ago. Showroom visitors can see Thierry Martin from the ground level, in his studio on the second floor, designing and creating unique jewellery and sumptuous objects d’art. 

Visitors are welcome to explore the Diamond Emporium, Gentlemen’s Quarter, Couture Gallery, Buccellati Boutique (Australian exclusive) and for gemstone and private consultation, one of the two Private Suites.

The Flagship Showroom is designed to provide a world class experience, knowledge and service for our customers. Our customers have the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary design or redesign consultation with an internationally acclaimed creative director, or select from our Collections on display. They have great comfort in knowing where and how their treasured jewellery is crafted, using the finest quality gemstones and metals. Generations of families have coveted the bespoke service and

creations that are the hallmarks of Fairfax & Roberts.” said Venietta Slama-Powell, Director of Marketing and Sales.

The consolidation of the Couture Showroom and Diamond Room are a sign this heritage bespoke jeweller wants to both nurture its existing valued clients, as well as entice a new generation that will be swept into the magical world of bespoke design and jewellery craftsmanship at its best.

Fairfax & Roberts are committed to value and quality. They source gemstones from the world’s leading suppliers, providing a link for their customers with the open market; providing access to a vast selection of high quality diamonds at competitive prices.

Fairfax & Roberts provide ready-to-wear; complimentary design and redesign consultation; diamond and gemstone advice and sourcing; valuation, restoration and repair.

Fairfax & Roberts has also launched within social media and you can keep abreast of their latest news and creations by joining their facebook page. 


press release



Radical Terrace


Radical Reinvention of a Darlinghurst Terrace

We’re not too sure when the Radical Terrace became a blog that seems to cover house flips more than anything else, but we definitely don’t mind. Few things reveal more about a neighbourhood’s ambitions than a flip: both in to what degree the renovation is capitalised and to what amount the market values it. For the better part of the 1990s and 2000s, Darlinghurst terraces were given a very specific flip treatment: converting the attic into a fourth bedroom, the upgrading of a kitchen, the removal of a sunroom, and the addition of car parking, if applicable. These days, many of the same aspects of the transformation continue yet to a far higher spec with little bits of architectural flamboyance tossed in; in more extreme cases, the rear (and smallest) bedroom is transformed into a master bedroom with ensuite and balcony. And seeing that some of the first “flipped” terraces in Darlinghurst are now flipping for a second time, we’re treated to learn where the suburb is heading…and, if 441 is anything to judge by, we like what we see.


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Radical Terrace Blog