Brisbane worker's cottage original

A heritage-listed worker’s cottage in inner-city Brisbane has been transformed by Bureau Proberts director Terry McQuillan and his interior designer wife Charlie.

Working with a small, steeply sloping site as well as a compact floor plan and an older structure were challenges, but also presented plenty of opportunities for design innovation.

“We wanted to create a contemporary home that not only overcame the site’s limitations but unlocked its potential too,” says McQuillan.

“The addition of our pavilion, behind the cottage, enabled us to greatly increase the living space and capture views out to nearby Mt Coot-tha and the surrounding neighbourhood.”

Brisbane worker's cottage transformation

The new pavilion includes a spacious living area, central courtyard, kitchen, master bedroom and storage for two vehicles. Meanwhile, the cottage now accommodates two guest bedrooms, a study and sitting room.

A covered breezeway separates the pavilion from the cottage.

Brisbane worker's cottage indoor outdoor

“The physical demarcation was a device we deployed to respect the difference between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ structures,” says McQuillan. 

“From inside the pavilion, sight lines provide glimpses of the cottage that foster a sense of connection and flow from one dwelling to the next.”

When viewed from Albert Villa’s side street, the rooflines of both structures appear in alignment — despite the pavilion standing at three storeys and the cottage at just one. Thoughtful alignment of the eaves and a steeply raking roof form were deployed to create this sense of symmetry.

Brisbane worker's cottage angles

Building materials were also carefully curated to ensure the design of the pavilion was sympathetic with the design of the cottage. For example, the texture of the stone on the base of the cottage is mirrored in the stone that anchors the pavilion. Similarly, the width of the cottage’s chamfer boards has been replicated in the dimensions of the pavilion’s new boards.

As Bureau Proberts specialises in subtropical design, the pavilion’s central courtyard was designed to let the outdoors in, while the adjoining kitchen features louvred windows to regulate ventilation and capture cooling Brisbane breezes.