Renovating Resources

Meet architect Caroline Pidcock and her design for an old terrace renovation in Petersham. The extension is filled with light and comfortable spaces for the family.

Petersham Terrace Transformation

The Morrison Terrace Renovation

What good design can do is to make a small space feel really large. This means you don’t need so many materials to create the space. … you just make it a flexible space and connected to what the clients will love  which means it will be cared for too.” Caroline Pidcock


The Clients Brief

When Madi and Ken Morrison bought their large terrace house in Petersham, they knew it had great potential. Not only did it sit on the south-east corner of a lovely double block, have good orientation and space, it also enjoyed lovely garden space dropping away to the north and west, nurturing a 100 year old lime tree. They decided to live in the house for a while to better understand the place so they could optimise the outcome when they started the renovation process.

They found the small service rooms (kitchen, laundry and bathroom), which sat to the rear of the main section of house and were in original cramped condition, did not allow the family to connect to the garden or to the front living rooms. The upstairs bathroom and bedrooms also needed attention, as did the structural integrity of the walls.

The clients were looking for someone who could listen carefully to what they were after, and then deliver on their brief with regards to both good design and sustainability.

“Ken wanted to go with someone who could deliver sustainability and we just got thinking about what could be done.” Madi

In addition to a range of sustainable ideas, the brief included providing a kitchen that worked well as part of larger open plan living spaces, which in turn connected with external decks and the garden. A carport space that could open up and double as covered outside play area was also on the list of must haves.


Plans: Morrison Renovation ©Pidcock 05-016 Marketing plans (G & 1ST) 2

Plans: Morrison Renovation ©Pidcock 05-016 Marketing plans (G & 1ST) 1



Project Details

Project Name:Morrison Terrace Renovation
Project Architect:Caroline Pidcock of PIDCOCK – Architecture + Sustainability
Interior Design:Daphna Tal, Australian Living
Location:Yuraygir National Park
Clients:Madi and Ken Morrison. Working couple with 3 children – 1 boy and 2 girls.
Builder:Manik Constructions
Building Surveyor:Steve Abbott, Lean Lackby + Hayward
Landscape/Environmental Consulting:Patio Design
Year of Completion:2008
Building Area:191m2
Project Cost:$300,000 incl GST
Climate Zone:Warm temperate
Awards:Finalist, Single Dwelling (Alts + Adds) BPN Sustainability Awards 2009

Sustainable features:

  • Passive solar design to create natural comfort throughout the year and no need for air-conditioning
  • Retention of existing house reduced waste and embodied energy
  • Great space utilisation enabling a smaller footprint
  • Flexible planning will accommodate changing needs of the family in the future
  • High levels of insulation in new work and existing ceilings where possible
  • Food composting and food growing in the garden
  • Low water garden using natives, also resulting in a great improvement of the ecology of the site
  • Car parking able to be easily adapted for other purposes and includes bike storage
  • Lots of natural light and ventilation and good views out
  • No VOC floor finishes and paints used throughout
  • Ability to zone areas of house for thermal and acoustic purposes
  • Ceiling fans for low energy cooling
  • Energy efficient lights throughout
  • Dedicated natural drying area in back garden, designed as sculpture
  • Water sack tanks under deck for flushing the toilets
  • Water efficient appliances and fittings
  • Timber from sustainably managed forests
  • Solar hot water
  • Solar PV panels on the roof

Liveability Q and A with the owners

Was energy efficiency an important factor in the brief to your architect? Yes

Do you see a home renovation which optimises environmental factors as being: better for the life in the house, or for the efficiency of the house or both ? Both

How were issues concerning sustainability addressed in the design? Passive solar design.  PV on roof.  Ceiling fans.  Renewable materials.  Low off gassing paints.  Native low water garden. Water tanks.  

Are you addressing sustainability in other areas of your life as well? If yes examples. Worm farm.  Off peak energy use.  One car.  Public transport use. Recycling. Chemical-free cleaning with ENJO microfibres. Energy efficient appliances. Low energy lights. 

What do you wish you knew about before the process? (Information that would have been interesting to know). Doing more with passive solar and airflow to modify environment in non renovated part of the house.


Photo Gallery (click to enlarge)



Caroline Pidcock

Caroline Pidcock

Caroline Pidcock, the curator of our Liveability ‘be inspired by design’ is founding Principal of the design firm PIDCOCK – Architecture + Sustainability which is focused on desirable, sustainable architecture. The practice aims to excel in ecologically sustainable design, documentation and advice and to demonstrate how such a focus can deliver potent influences in design and can produce delightful experiences. PIDCOCK is particularly interested in renovations, where it is possible to identify the best of what is existing and help to recognise, adapt and develop this to be part of a strong and relevant future.

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