From the architect: 

Set well back from the street beneath the towering limbs of a gigantic heritage-listed fig tree, the rear addition contrasts with the original timber cottage in both form and materiality, yet sits comfortably with the surrounding landscape and built context. The key challenge of the brief – to add three bedrooms, two bathrooms, as well as kitchen, living and dining areas and laundry to a small timber cottage – is managed without subsuming the cottage or destroying its character and contribution to the streetscape.

The upper portion of the rear addition is sheathed in fibro, articulated in a vertical rhythm by sheets and battens and divided horizontally by expanded mesh screens that skirt the windows top and bottom; providing both shade from the sun above, and privacy from and for the neighbours below.


Internally, old and new are drawn together by a material language of oak floors and off-white walls.

 We met our objective to provide a passively cooled house by constructing the new two-storey rear addition – comprised of living spaces and bedrooms - from concrete and reverse brick veneer; maximising thermal mass where it is needed – on the inside of the building. This mass serves to significantly reduce daytime summer temperatures without the need for air-conditioning. Cooling afternoon sea breezes and ceiling fans flush out heat built up during the day. Large areas of north-facing glazing to each habitable room and solar boosted, gas powered hydronic heating provide winter comfort.

A protected and private north-facing courtyard is formed between the existing cottage and the rear addition. The living spaces open to the west onto a lush rear garden extending the life of the house into the supersized buttress roots and under the canopy of the heritage-protected fig tree. A mushrooming concrete island bench is the centrepiece of the generously proportioned informal living area, focusing the room’s activity around food, wine and conversation.

Having lived for several years in Japan, the clients asked that the entry hall incorporate space for removal and storage of shoes. A large skylight and pivot door at this juncture of the entry hall demarcates the family and guest sections of the dwelling. This extended entry threshold creates a pause in the spatial sequence of the house.