Reinvented City Cottage

Reinvented City Cottage


A major renovation brought this humble inner-city weatherboard cottage into the 21st century

Prior to the renovations, the existing residence was a small semi-detached weatherboard cottage. The ‘lean to’ at the rear of the dwelling had been enclosed to form a bathroom and small kitchen. This resulted in the living space having no external windows and the laundry was a separate external structure. The rear of the dwelling was elevated from the ground level and had no visual connection to the outside yard.

Designed by architect Wayne Guiffre, the job involved maintaining the existing front of the dwelling containing the two bedrooms and then to rebuild the rear to provide rooms with improved outlook and new amenities. The street frontage of the dwelling has been maintained with minor cosmetic works and the rear of the dwelling has been rebuilt. The external laundry and toilet structures have been demolished, with the new work including a combined living and dining area and a combined bathroom and laundry. A walk-through kitchen and a new room at the rear of the property was built, which can either be used as a family room or third bedroom, depending on the occupants’ requirements.

Wayne Guiffre described some of the unique challenges this project presented. “The unusual u-shape configuration around a deck with an operable louvre awning was a special design consideration. The level of the rear of the dwelling has been lowered so that it relates to the level of the outside courtyard. Some of the special design considerations of the project, including a small allotment with limited outlook, south facing, semi-detached dwelling, all provided restrictions.

According to Guiffre, the aim of the design was “to maintain the cottage proportions of the existing dwelling while providing contemporary indoor/outdoor spaces”. As the architect, Guiffre’s favourite aspect of the renovated cottage “are the vistas that are created looking through the spaces from indoor to outdoor, and from the outdoor through to indoor. On a small allotment with limited outlook it was important to create an inner world which looks upon itself.”

One of the main challenges was gaining council approval. According to Guiffre, “The project was non-compliant with many of the council planning requirements, however the proposal was finally supported because we, the architects, demonstrated how the design achieved good passive solar design for all the internal spaces and the external deck and courtyard space. The rear family/bedroom has highlight glazing above the level of the adjacent kitchen roof; this allows for direct winter sun into this room.

“The residence is a semi-detached dwelling on a small allotment in the inner west of Sydney — these all contributed numerous hurdles and challenges that had to be overcome. This project demonstrates the importance of good design to achieve internal and external spaces that have an abundance of light and solar access to a south-facing rear of an existing semi-detached dwelling. Even in mid-winter there is direct sunlight to all the spaces.”

The project was designed/built by Wayne Guiffre Architect P/L
ADDRESS: Suite 17, 210-216 Victoria Road, Gladesville NSW 2111
PHONE: (02) 9879 4655

Kitchen: Blackbutt
Dining: Blackbutt
Living: Blackbutt

Kitchen/Casual Dining:
Dining: Painted plasterboard
Living: Painted plasterboard
Bedroom: Painted plasterboard

Benchtop: CeasarStone
Splashback: Glass

Bathtub — Kaldewei Duo Pool
Frameless glass shower

General — recessed downlights

Stackable and sliding metal windows and doors

Operable skylight with remote control to bathroom
Skylight to living & dining

Landscaping, decking, shading or paving details:
Operable louvre awning with remote control over deck — Vergola
Operable shading blind with remote control to western window of family/bedroom — Issey sun shade systems