Main­tain­ing its charm was part of the ren­o­va­tion brief for a 1940s orig­i­nal worker’s cot­tage in Perth.

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An orig­i­nal worker’s cot­tage in Perth is al­most un­recog­nis­able af­ter a full reno.

BUILD­ING DE­SIGNER JANIK DALECKI spent two years search­ing for the ideal “project house” un­til he found this

1940s fibro worker’s cot­tage, which ticked all his boxes. Lo­cated in the older sub­urb of May­lands, just five kilo­me­tres from Perth, and set among charm­ing clas­sic houses in tree-lined streets, it was mostly un­touched, apart from a 1990s rear ex­ten­sion of a small sit­ting room, liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas, and a fall­ing-apart kitchen ren­o­va­tion.

Janik’s plan was to turn the twobed­room, one-bath­room build­ing into a three-bed­room, two-bath­room home that would ap­peal to a young fam­ily. Af­ter mov­ing in, he started on phase one of the work: up­dat­ing the fa­cade from cream and green to crisp white, build­ing a car­port and fenc­ing the yard to make it se­cure for his dog. Then for the next eight months he worked on de­signs for phase two, which was far more ex­ten­sive.


In­ter­nally, the house was a rab­bit war­ren of con­fus­ing hall­ways and a large amount of wasted space.

“I needed to re­fine the orig­i­nal house, ex­tend it and cap­ture north­ern light in a rear open-plan liv­ing area,” Janik says. He also had to al­low for ad­di­tional stor­age, as the old home had only kitchen cup­boards and a lit­tle out­house laun­dry area with one dodgy shelf!

Janik cre­ated a mas­ter bed­room from the front lounge room, us­ing the old kitchen tucked be­hind it to form an en­suite and new main bath­room. A wardrobe was added to the old main bed­room, and a third bed­room/home of­fice cre­ated from the old sit­ting room and bath­room.

In the old rear ex­ten­sion, a wall was re­moved, a new kitchen in­stalled, a deck added off the din­ing area and the old out­house knocked down to make way for a new liv­ing area. To give more in­ti­macy to this open-plan lay­out,

Janik tucked the liv­ing room around the cor­ner and dropped the ceil­ing to de­fine the kitchen zone.


A light bright in­te­rior was cre­ated by chang­ing the orig­i­nal pal­ette of cream, pink and green to stark white, re­mov­ing car­pet and lino, and sand­ing back and pol­ish­ing old and new Jar­rah boards. In­su­lated plas­ter­board and new ceil­ing roses re­placed the old ceil­ings.

Bench­tops in grey ce­ment, black ac­cents in fur­ni­ture and light­ing, and pops of colour in the kitchen’s tiled splash­back and in Janik’s art and ac­ces­sories bring life to the in­te­rior. “I wanted to keep it quite sim­ple with a homely cot­tage feel that was still re­fined and youth­ful, but with a bit of a raw, in­dus­trial edge,” says Janik.

The gar­den out­side is pri­vate and low main­te­nance, with bam­boo pro­vid­ing screen­ing, dra­cena planted for its sculp­tural qual­ity and a patch of grass grown for the dog.


Ren­o­vat­ing an old house can re­sult in un­fore­seen is­sues, and dur­ing the work Janik dis­cov­ered rot­ten stumps and a bent and dam­aged wall that had to be re­moved. Although the bud­get was tight, he could man­age the chal­lenges.

And hav­ing lived in the cot­tage for a year, he’s en­joy­ing its comfy vibe. “It really feels like a home, not a ster­ile or clin­i­cal new house,” he says.

Room to move A dropped kitchen ceil­ing and cor­ner liv­ing area make open-plan in­ter­est­ing. af­ter

be­fore Wasted space The lay­out was con­fus­ing and dys­func­tional.

af­ter Dou­ble duty Ex­tra-wide steps off the pa­tio can be used as seat­ing.

Out back

The deck flows out from the in­te­rior din­ing zone, ideal for en­ter­tain­ing. af­ter

Street ap­peal

A crisp white and tim­ber up­date en­hances the build­ing’s charm. af­ter


Clever con­ver­sion

The mas­ter bed­room boasts an en­suite, robe and re­stored fire­place.

Adding an edge A con­crete bench­top gives the bath­room an in­dus­trial feel. af­ter

be­fore Loung­ing around Lo­cated at the front of the house, the orig­i­nal liv­ing area was the big­gest room.

Pale and wan The old pink bath­room needed an up­date. be­fore

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