Located in the Inner West of Sydney, Australia, this cottage creates an expansive sense of garden and a generous, light filled home on a compact site. Designed for a young couple with a growing family, the project sought to create a variety of comfortable spaces within both the garden and the dwelling.
At 9m wide by 37m deep, the site possessed unusual proportions for the inner city area, with a well established treescape at the rear of the site. The design concept responded to this unusually long site by creating a series of spaces that layer towards the garden, becoming a 'tube' of space and framing the natural landscape.
The site is oriented with north to the front (a challenge in the southern hemisphere), so to draw natural light into the core of the house, a series of skylights were incorporated, cutting across the full width of the interior and contributing to the sense of 'layered' space. The house is terminated at the rear with an indoor / outdoor room; a covered space that has the sense of being an interior space but is undeniably within the garden. The indoor / outdoor room is enhanced through subtle features; radiant space heaters and a retractable flyscreen, serving to control mosquitos and also retaining heat during cooler months.
A narrow void cuts across the house and is spanned by a bridge that links across to the main bedroom, creating a subtle feeling of the bedroom becoming a sanctuary. A flexible rumpus space is also located on the upper level, drawing living spaces throughout the house and expanding the sense of scale of the interior. To enable connection between all living spaces, a series of solid bi-fold windows separate the rumpus and the void, able to be opened up fully to create connection between ground floor and upper level.
It's an often stated claim that successful projects rely upon client, architect and builder - each has a critical role to play in the project. In this instance, a collaborative and thoughtful approach was shared by all parties to create a successful project and a wonderful home.
The original cottage sits comfortably within the streetscape, set behind a Crepe Myrtle tree.
The rear of the house opens to the garden, creating a layering of spaces from inside to out.
Interior spaces are simple and understated. Natural timber in light tones contrasts with white walls, lit by washes of sunlight.
Colourful furnishings animate the space. Thonet armchair, Jardan Nook lounge and Hay side tables provide a comfortable, deliberately low key setting.
A bridge spans across the two-storey void that cuts across the house, drawing natural light into the interiors and creating connection between ground floor and the upper level.
The bridge looks down to the kitchen and across in to the upper level rumpus room. Solid bi-fold shutters enable the rumpus space to be opened up to connect to the ground floor living spaces.
The view to the garden is across a sequence of spaces - the kitchen / living / dining spaces extend onto a covered loggia, a thermally controlled indoor / outdoor space for year round comfort.
The garden room frames the landscape and becomes an extension of the interior spaces. White painted lining boards wrap the space and echo the traditional palette of the cottage.
A second skylight cuts across the garden room, bringing soft natural light into the interior and providing balanced light to both sides of the garden room.