Maintaining its charm was part of the renovation brief for a 1940s original worker’s cottage in Perth.
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.
IMPROVING THE FLOW
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.
A FEW HICCUPS
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.
The deck flows out from the interior dining zone, ideal for entertaining. after
A crisp white and timber update enhances the building’s charm. after
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