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Collection by Sarah Akkoush

An 1850s Prefab Cottage from Boston Finds New Life in Australia

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A derelict home in Melbourne received a complete overhaul by Jost Architects in five months.

In a Melbourne suburb, a rundown 1850s cottage sat vacant on the market without buyer interest. Its worn and weathered appearance didn’t deter the property’s eventual owners, Agata and Chris Millington, from seeing the potential behind the dilapidated facade, though. The home, a prefab manufactured in Boston, was originally shipped from the United States to Australia in the 1850s and assembled on site. This historical context meant that the original structure could not be torn down, but instead had to be preserved in compliance with local Heritage Council restrictions. Unphased, the owners embraced the original structure, and set out to create their dream home. Together with Melbourne-based Jost Architects, the couple dramatically transformed the derelict cottage into a lively and vibrant home for themselves and their young son, all in just five months.

Keeping the original home intact, the team added to the existing structure to create a U-shaped layout that surrounds...
The original rear façade can be seen, in stark contrast to the modern update.
The cozy “rumpus room,” a kids playroom that functions as a second living room, looks out onto the courtyard.
Central to the design of the home from day one was the “Dunny Block”, an Australian toilet historically found outside...
Low-maintenance, sustainable materials were favored throughout the house.
The master bedroom is seen during partial demolition.
The renovated master bedroom preserves the slope of the original vaulted ceiling.
The kitchen is positioned strategically in the middle section of the home’s U-shaped layout.
Black Electrolux induction cooktop and electric oven offer graphic contrast to the minimal white Corian counters and...
Along with the bedrooms, the home’s study features local Australian undyed wool carpets.
The original home is seen before the dramatic transformation.
The colorful new front façade is clad in recycled sugar pine boards salvaged from the original house.
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