Every now and again we come across renovations of houses born centuries ago that pique our interest. The success or failure of these projects hangs on the ability of the architects involved to adapt these old buildings to life in modern times, while at the same time keeping what makes us fall in love with them in the first place. Australian architects Welsh & Major have traversed this razor thin line with great dexterity in their renovation of Fitzroy Terrace.

Fitzroy Terrace is one of a row of Georgian era houses built by one of Australia’s first professional architects, James Hume. Located in Redfern, Australia, it is one of seven in the row. Probably the most beneficial and dramatic development in housing since the Georgian era, was the advent of indoor plumbing. This and other developments means that the floor-plan of Fitzroy Terrace has over the years become quite haphazard. The architects rationalized these extensions to create a building that works. The most modern addition to Fitzroy terrace is the butterfly roof, which was used to create airy bedrooms on the top floor. Skylights along the edge of the property bring light into the first floor.

As much as possible of the original building was salvaged and used in its renovation. In fact, the architects seem to have gone to great lengths to keep cracking masonry and half-rotten wood that most others would simply have retired to a skip. The new additions are very clearly from the modern age, rather than copies of Georgian features. This juxtaposition of the new and the derelict is what makes Fitzroy Terrace such an interesting example of renovation gone right.