Compact Australian Home Clad in Steel and Concrete

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An Australian renovation uses industrial materials both indoors and out.

When renovating a 1920s semi-detached home in Tamarama, a beachfront suburb near Sydney, architect David Langston-Jones decided to invert the house. He reconfigured the space so that the living space opened to the yard, then took the exterior elements and used them to decorate the interior as well. The concrete and corrugated steel design creates a dialogue between inside and outside, all on a fixed budget of roughly $175,000.

Compact Australian Home Clad in Steel and Concrete - Photo 1 of 10 -

Langston-Jones, who grew up in Malaysia and Hong Kong, was attracted to corrugated metal for its its unique edges and visible flecks of material. He left the original 1920s corrugated steel roof and filled the interior with panes of the same material, as well as walls of sanded concrete and a concrete slab. “Inside and outside, there’s only one set of finishes, which succeeds in drawing the outside inside,” he says. “The climate here is wonderful, you can virtually live outside.”

Initially raised 400 millimeters above the ground, the home was lowered onto a new concrete slab to gain additional space. However, the way the plumbing lines were laid out meant the bathroom had to stay at ground level, leading to a quirky step down from the main floor. Despite the challenges, the resulting structure, which clocks in at a little more than 800 square feet, manages to pack a kitchen, bathroom, and lofted living space together, yet still boasting a spacious living area that opens into a newly accessible garden.