An Australian Builder’s Cramped Family Cottage Gets an Industrial-Inspired Extension

In Melbourne’s Newport suburb, OOF! Architecture leads a skillful remodel packed with playful surprises like exposed trusses, a gantry walkway, and a hidden dog tunnel.
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After running his construction company for nearly 20 years, Anthony Adams finally took on one of the few projects he’d never tried before: renovating his own home. Together with Australian studio OOF! Architecture, Anthony, a builder, and his wife, Natasha, a dietician, set out to update their "sweet but cramped weatherboard cottage" into a home, warehouse, and workshop for their three sons and two beloved dogs.

Located on a quiet street in the Newport suburb of Melbourne, the home’s traditional exterior is preserved from the street view, revealing only a hint of the bold, new extension that peeks out from behind it. 

The rear facade, however, showcases one of the renovation’s most notable features: an exposed steel truss that transitions from a robust orange to a demure blue as it extends out from the interior into the backyard. The raw material palette of timber, reclaimed brick, and perforated steel add to the home’s industrial character.

Ample space to work from home was a key priority for both Anthony and Natasha. The couple also wanted a balance of areas to gather with friends and spend time alone. One design solution is the home’s split-level arrangement, which establishes a continuous, shared living space punctured by a perforated-steel staircase. The stairs connect the ground floor to the gantry walkway, which extends through the open trusses overlooking the main communal areas.

"All of the home’s shared activity spaces are open to each other but gently screened so the family can have their own spaces and yet still be together," says architect Fooi-Ling Khoo, the firm’s director. A second strategy was incorporated into the kitchen pantry design, which Anthony crafted using Victorian ash timber. The pantry "adds storage and workspace, while its openness allows it to be the central control station of the house," Fooi adds. 

The spirit of the renovation reflects the family’s busy lifestyle and love for various creative pursuits such as building, cooking, gardening, and scouring thrift shops. Several of the owners’ favorite vintage finds are built into the house, including an antique train station clock in the kitchen and an illuminated ice cream sign in the dining area. 

The family’s dogs come and go freely through a custom tunnel hidden inside a built-in timber bench in the dining area. A custom orange Paddle Pop range hood hovers over a farmhouse stove accented by blue plywood cabinets.  

Related Reading:

A Melbourne Architect Imagines a New Home for Her Sister’s Family

Budget Breakdown: A New Zealand Architect Builds a Passive House for His Family for $490K

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Fooi-Ling Khoo, OOF! architecture / @fooilingkhoo

Builder: Complete Builders Insight / @buildin_the_dream

Building Surveyor: Anthony Middling & Associates

Joinery: Luna Joinery  / @lunajoinery

Roofing & Cladding: JTK Metal Craft / @jtkmetalcraft

Doors & Windows: Aspect Windows / @aspect_windows

Tiling: Synergy Tiling 

Steel Trusses: MKM Structural Steel

Electrician: Linked Electrical Services

Photographer: Tatjana Plitt  / @tatjanaplitt

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