A cramped, dark and damp Victorian workers’ cottage is transformed into a light-filled, flowing and uplifting home, while referencing original features of the house. The project is unique in that the architect was also its builder, so this provided the opportunity to test out ambitious ideas and their consequence during construction. One of the unique aspects of this project is the play of contrasts between the unassuming facade and what lies inside. Like a veil of camouflage, the front gives nothing away of its contents and remains entirely anonymous.
A professional couple asked the architects to breathe new life into their recently purchased Victorian of 60m2. Due to budget constraints, the architects made all the changes inside the existing envelope.
Architects felt a couple would only need one dedicated bedroom so the front room could be incorporated into the hallway and become a flexible and open living space. On the occasion that guests stay over, a curtain can be pulled across to ‘wall’ off a spare room.
The kitchen was reconfigured to include a generous island for ease of circulation and encourage shared cooking. The dining area extends out from the island bench and provides a seamless transition to the courtyard.
While the architects couldn’t increase the square meterage of the house, they could add to the volume and feeling of space. They did this by lifting the ceiling to the line of the original rafters which created the opportunity to light the house indirectly by placing LED strips atop the newly exposed ceiling joists. There is also a little quirk on the brick wall in the kitchen, where architects punched a hole through at the top to add a further connection between front and back, while also providing an access point to the attic floor. You can feel this connection when the light from LED’s running around the bedroom perimeter is switched on.
There are no downlights in this project, and the entire house is lit indirectly with energy efficient LED strip lights shining up at the ceiling and reflecting back a comfortable, warm glow.
The architects made custom linear pendants which complement the continuing theme of the house. In the bedroom, they flipped this pendant upside down to create an uplight which provides a softly lit ceiling – perfect for making the transition into night.
In the bathroom, there are some lighting options. During the day natural light shines down the rear wall where a skylight was cut-out over the shower. After dark, aside from the custom pendant, the shower screen can be lit, which has been fitted with an LED strip along its top edge and provides just enough light to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Architects Apparte Studio
Photography by Daniel Aulsebrook