Sec­ond Chance

A worker’s cot­tage gets a style and space pro­mo­tion.

Australian House & Garden - - Contents - STORY El­iz­a­beth Wil­son

Some of Janik Dalecki’s friends made un­kind jibes when he pur­chased a fi­bro cot­tage in a river­side sub­urb 5km north-east of Perth’s CBD. “They thought I was crazy and joked it was a bowl-over house,” says Janik, a first-home buyer.

True, the 1940s two-bed­room worker’s cot­tage had seen bet­ter days: two poorly ex­e­cuted ad­di­tions (one in the 1970s, another in the ’90s) had ru­ined its char­ac­ter, and there were vis­i­ble signs of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion ev­ery­where. But it was ex­actly the kind of project this 20-some­thing ren­o­va­tor had been look­ing for.

“I’d been hunt­ing for an older home I could re­store and re­work,” says Janik, who runs his own build­ing-de­sign com­pany spe­cial­is­ing in the adap­tive re­use of ex­ist­ing dwellings. “I knew the back of the house could be opened up to the north-fac­ing back­yard to cre­ate a gor­geous open-plan liv­ing space with lots of light and sun.”

Pre-ren­o­va­tion, the bath­room was ac­cessed via the kitchen, and the sep­a­rate liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas had no con­nec­tion to the gar­den. Janik to­tally re­con­fig­ured the rooms, mov­ing the kitchen to the rear and build­ing a new open-plan liv­ing/din­ing zone that flows onto a deck. The fa­cade has been trans­formed too: as­bestos cladding has been re­placed with com­pos­ite weath­er­board, and alu­minium win­dows swapped for tim­ber fit­tings. From the street, the house now ex­udes char­ac­ter, and the in­te­ri­ors sing with a con­tem­po­rary flow and feel.

“I put a lot of thought into cre­at­ing the best-func­tion­ing lay­out, in­clud­ing all the mod­ern lux­u­ries while mak­ing the most of ev­ery square cen­time­tre,” says Janik. “I love ev­ery cen­time­tre of it.”

A Din­ing Janik knocked down two old lean-tos at the rear to build the new liv­ing/din­ing zone. His beloved bi­cy­cle dou­bles as an eye-catch­ing fea­ture. “There isn’t much stor­age space, so

I had to be a lit­tle in­ven­tive,” he says.

B Liv­ing Janik de­signed the book­shelf/ me­dia unit to be the fo­cal point in the room. It was the last item of join­ery to be in­stalled here and fill­ing it with trea­sures was “an ex­cit­ing mo­ment”. New jar­rah floorboards were in­stalled to match the ex­ist­ing floor­ing.

C Fa­cade Tak­ing cues from nearby homes, he re­placed the fi­bro cladding with com­pos­ite weath­er­board and the over­sized alu­minium win­dows with tim­ber-framed ones fea­tur­ing glaz­ing bars sim­i­lar to oth­ers in the area. The paved drive­way was re­placed with washed ag­gre­gate. A row of or­na­men­tal plum trees lines the path to the front door.

D Main bed­room For­merly the liv­ing room, the large main bed­room comes com­plete with char­ac­ter win­dows, an en­suite and a re­stored fire­place with ethanol burner.

| PHOTOGRAPHY Dion Robe­son

KITCHEN The spa­cious 3.76x2.7m kitchen is at the heart of the new open-plan area at the rear of the home. The is­land – 2.2x0.9m with a 60mm-thick con­crete bench­top – eas­ily ac­com­mo­dates four, and is in­dis­pens­able when Janik en­ter­tains. The vinyl-wrap cab­i­netry in ul­tra white gloss is the per­fect foil for the Andy Glass Insert tiles, in­spired by the pop art of Andy Warhol, from Beau­mont Tiles. Small ap­pli­ances are stored in the cup­board at the end of the rear bench. From fi­bro to fab­u­lous

Janik with his trusty bea­gle, Mis­ter. Be­low

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