Lilyfield House

Lilyfield House

Lilyfield House is located in Sydney’s Inner West and comprises alterations and first and second floor additions to a former shop building.

Designed by architects Studio203, Lilyfield House is a spatial assembly of internal and external rooms and volumes, opening to the light and rising to the district outlook.

The rooms and platforms of the house pivot around the central atrium, connecting to garden terraces and opening a conceptual and personal dialogue through the levels.

Lilyfield Houses rises behind a distinctive early shopfront, a local feature, renovated and set into scene, terminating the Norton Street Leichhardt vista.

The idea of a ‘public’ path rising through the house is interwoven with private spaces arranged around the central atrium and its black stairs, bridge, and hearth.

Beyond these spaces, garden terraces form an outer constellation such that every room is held between the central void and a garden experience.

The plan progressively reduces as the house rises, culminating in a more intimate living space, enclosed tent-like by the curved inner planes of the roof and opening up to district views.

A richness of spatial and tectonic experience is given precedence over room count, technology for its sake, or pursuit of newness.

Materials throughout are simple and reduced.

White set render, sealed, identifies retained masonry from the original house.

Off form concrete, bamboo flooring, and hoop pine ply provide economical warmth and texture.

Clear anodised framed glazing meets stringent acoustic and energy requirements.

The project engages the senses like the building’s hidden history: from the intricate tooled patterns of the white set masonry which is held together by the velvety materiality of the off-form concrete surfaces, to the cold smoothness of the stove finished black stairs and rustic fireplace, reminding of the charcoal traces of its predecessor.

The reverberant sound of bare feet on the steel treads and firm landing on the stone of the kitchen floor reflect the robustness of the material palette of a bygone era.

Lilyfield House is an assembly of remnants, memories and opportunities.

It seeks out special corners with vignettes of the outside world, offering privacy but ensuring a connectedness that is vital for the modern family.

Lilyfield House caters for a family with children of three different age groups as well as for working-from-home.

Compact private spaces are supplemented with generous living, dining, kitchen and play spaces for the family interaction.

Gardens and garden terraces create separate outdoor space opportunities on every level to retreat, entertain or play.

A home office can be separately accessed from the front courtyard to receive clients without interrupting the family.

At the bottom of the atrium, there is no specific program or furniture. This is a free space ready for impromptu dance and music performances, gymnastic displays, battles, and constructions.

The Studio203 design team maximised available space within this home for the family of five.

Both adequate space and amenity were previously in short supply.

Now multiple spaces offer opportunities for family members to sit in the sun, to enjoy the garden areas, and take in the district views.

The central spatial device is a unique daily experience and a core part of family life.

Conversations continue through this space and the sounds intersect with the movement of people and light.

The ever evolving light qualities tell convey time of day and season, overlapping with seemingly complex three dimensional vistas that belie the simplicity of the plan.

Lilyfield House is efficient and sustainable in its use of an inner city site.

Its envelope re-uses existing fabric, with gardens multiplied upwards and new additions designed to maximise environmental outcomes in their orientation, section, materials, envelope, and landscape.

The house maximises passive heating and cooling and does not require air conditioning.

A three-storey top lit atrium brings light and winter sun deep into the plan and creates a highly effective ventilation path, drawing air from garden terraces up through the house.

Exposed concrete soffits and walls together with historic masonry walls provide thermal mass and radiate cool in hot weather.

External sliding screens and tilt-up shutters protect from sun.

In winter, the well-insulated and sealed envelope holds the heat gained through north glazing at three levels, and dark polished bluestone floor radiates absorbed winter sun.

Rainwater harvesting is connected to toilets, laundry, and garden.

LED lighting is used throughout. Hot water is provided utilising renewable energy (heatpump).

Heating is a combination of a high-efficiency European hydronic heating system and a double-sided gas fireplace, with maximised heat distribution via the atrium.

The house is set up for solar harvesting.

Lilyfield House uses less electricity than a one person household in summer and exceeds water efficiency targets.

Project Awards

  • 2019 Architeam Finalist – Alterations and Additions
  • 2019 Sustainability Awards (SA Awards)- Finalist (one of four Australian Alts & Adds)
  • 2020 SMEG Tour Shortlist
  • 2019 Houses Award – Shortlist: Alterations and Additions under 200sqm
  • 2019 Houses Award – Shortlist: Sustainability
  • 2019 Inner West Council Built Environment Awards – Sustainable Design Award
  • 2019 Inner West Council Built Environment Awards – Marrickville Medal for Conservation- Credit
  • 2019 TIDA Australia Kitchen Awards – High Commendation
  • 2019 TIDA Australia Bathroom Awards – High Commendation
  • 2019 TIDA Australia Homes – Renovation – High Commendation
  • Nominated by the German Design Council for the 2020 German Design Award (Deutscher Design Preis 2020)

Project Details

Project size – 196 m2
Site area – 287 m2
Completion date – 2018
Building levels – 3

Project Team



Studio203 is an architecture and interiors practice delivering innovative design thinking, engaging spaces and sustainable outcomes. The studio is focused on sustainable, place specific design, seeks to maximise amenity, and enhance well-being.

Structural Engineering


TTW are consulting engineers, that have for over 60 years partnered with architects, developers, builders, and project managers to tackle the most complex projects and engineer their vision.

Civil Engineering

Novati Consulting Engineers

Novati Consulting Engineers (NCE) is a consulting engineering firm established in 2013 and based in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

NCE provides civil and environmental engineering services for residential, commercial, and industrial developments including the design and documentation for earthworks, erosion and sediment control, flood studies, traffic management plans, road works, stormwater drainage design, and stormwater quality management.


Renata Pari-Lewis

Lighting Design

Architectural Lighting Design

Architectural Lighting Design is an independent lighting design consultancy based in Sydney, Australia.  Their objective is to ensure that each project is enhanced through the implementation of a well designed and sustainable lighting scheme that meets the quality and budget needs of their clients.

Acoustic Modelling

Noise and Sound Services

Noise and Sound Services are an independent Australian acoustical consultancy specialising in small and medium projects. Their main areas of expertise are in environmental acoustics for development applications, building acoustics, and occupational noise assessments.  They cover the Sydney metropolitan area as well as regional New South Wales.



Durant Building Design Management (Durant BDM) was founded by Troy Durante in September 2014 and is located in Gerringong on the South Coast of NSW.

Troy brings with him over 16 years of experience working predominantly in Sydney, but also in Vancouver and London.

Since starting the company back in 2014, Troy and his team have worked on many high-end projects in the Eastern Suburbs, Inner City and Inner West of Sydney.

The business relocated to Gerringong in 2018 and services all of the Illawarra region from Thirroul to Kiama to Culburra.


John Gollings

John has been the photographer of choice, the go-to guy for many Australian architects.

He is renowned for his ability to almost always compose the best shot, the one defining image that makes a building memorable, etches it into the psyche.

Photo Gallery

Click on a thumbnail image to enlarge.

Design © 2020 Studio203. All Rights Reserved.| Images © 2020 John Gollings.. All Rights Reserved.

The Builtworks Quest

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Together with showcasing older exemplars of enduring merit, we spotlight and celebrate the very best new and recent additions to Australia’s built environment.

Lilyfield House
Article Name
Lilyfield House
Studio203 transformed Lilyfield House with first and second floor additions to this former shop building located in Sydney’s Inner West.
Publisher Name
Builtworks | Celebrating Australia's Built Environment