Lovers of the meticulously detailed and the natural, minimal pallet, this one is for you…

Design power couple, architects Tony Chenchow and Stephanie Little have transformed a dark Victorian terrace in Balmain, Sydney, into a glorious, light-filled sanctuary – a true celebration of light and architecture.

The aptly named Skylight House embraces the unrelenting challenges of terrace design: long, narrow, lightlessness. It introduces new movements in the buildings form, wrapping, shifting and pulling light into the spaces.

Don’t let the restored Victorian facade fool you: step inside the light-filled entrance and you’ll find light streaming down the double-height void and into this modern masterpiece.

Look up as you move throughout to take in the magic of the ‘skylight’: the undulating white blades that sculpt the light, allowing it to flood in shafts throughout the living spaces below and throughout the lower levels. What a way to celebrate the space where we come together to be together.

Turned on its head from tradition, the Skylight House’s priority is to wrap the core spaces in light and provide a softer glow to the bedroom and circulation spaces below. Their design mantra was to maximise the best parts of the house with the spaces they would spend the most amount of time. Touching on their Chinese heritage, a central courtyard separates the kitchen from the living spaces and blurs the threshold between the edge of inside and outside.

The balance of materials and textures is perfection. The use of cold, defining concrete to wrap up from below, becoming the stairs and balustrades, and into the living spaces is beautifully countered with the softness of the timber on the ground floor and the master bedroom. The crisp white walls and ceiling elements highlight the stunning shafts of light and accentuate the clarity of the framed glazing.

And the stairs! They’re what dreams are made of… All in all, the Skylight House is the essence of beautiful yet functional 21st century design. We love it, if you hadn’t guessed already…

By Sienna Maill, images by Katherine Lu and John Gollings for Chenchow Little Architects.