A Classic Queenslander Bungalow Gets an Inky New Extension

A Classic Queenslander Bungalow Gets an Inky New Extension

By Kathryn M.
A contemporary addition reimagines the interior of this traditional four-room cottage near Brisbane, Australia.

This quintessential Australian bungalow celebrates both traditional and modern design—and the distinction between old and new is clear as black and white.

Located in Wilston, a suburb of Brisbane, the four-room home features a bold new extension. Views of the surrounding parkland are framed by apertures in the front facade and louvre windows along the entire rear side. 

The extension creates a new visual midpoint for the home. While the modern addition sits in stark contrast to the original home, vertical slatting and other design elements establish harmony between the two.

The original home is a typical pre-war worker's cottage. While the new addition sits partially within the original footprint, the renovation focused on creating new relationships between public and private spaces while increasing the home's size to 1,900 square feet.

A spacious master suite and several living areas now span the original cottage floor plan, while the extension holds a new living room, kitchen, and additional bedrooms.

The new central entrance opens up to a long hallway that connects the old with new. A large sliding door erases the transition between indoor and outdoor spaces, drawing the eye directly to the lush backyard landscape.

The team at Brisbane-based Wrightson Stewart led both the interior and exterior transformations. Director Steven Stewart explains how the team approached the project: "Our aim was to incorporate a very small home within a much larger whole without negating the charm and character of the original, but instead celebrating it. We relied on elements that used the traditional language of painted, Queenslander-style timber carpentry."

A spacious new kitchen is at the heart of the expanded living space. Centered with the island, a long horizontal window trimmed in black contrasts the crisp white palette.

The Queensland lifestyle was considered to be a fundamental element in the new design. "Using custom-designed joinery and built-in furniture, we wanted to create a compact layout that maximizes functionality throughout day-to-day activities," adds Steven. 

A look at the dining area, which features a custom bench with shelving. The home's living area acts as an enclosed porch, with floor-to-ceiling louvre windows looking out over neighboring parkland.

The team felt it was important that new spaces didn't lose the essential character of the old home. "Our intention was to create new elements that used the traditional language of painted, Queenslander-style timber carpentry," says Steven.

"Timber flooring in the original cottage was refreshed, and this was paired with light American oak flooring in the extension. The idea was to celebrate the old and new, rather than denying the difference."

"All aspects of the homeowners’ lifestyle were considered when designing the custom joinery," says Steven. "We even reinvented the skirting board as a bookshelf to house and feature their large book collection."

A new bathroom off the hallway in the extension is divided with a half bath in front for guests. Additional square and rectangular tiles in the bathroom mimic traditional tiling patterns found in the original cottage bathrooms.

Further back into the bathroom, a larger vanity and shower are revealed.

A view out onto the rear deck from inside the living room. Sliding glass doors create a seamless transition between the two spaces.

When asked about his firm's design philosophy, Steven describes the essence of their approach to the renovation process: "Like solving a riddle, we map out the floor plan to incorporate day-to-day needs. We then start to draw on the existing architecture as a guide to connecting all the dots and creating a dialogue between the architecture and lifestyle."

Apertures in the facade create a consistent design element for the new addition—from the louvre windows in the living room to slender vertical windows in the children's bedroom.

A look at the new layout. The original four-room cottage now houses a separate living area, study, and master suite. In the extension, an open living/dining area provides a large gathering area in the back, while two bedrooms and a new full bathroom are at the front.

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