Making a bridge with the past
A new Japanese-inspired design is still sympathetic to its original purpose, writes
ransforming this weatherboard cottage into a contemporary masterpiece was all about making sure the historical charm remained, while gently pushing the architecture into the modern day.
The turn-of-the-century home was characteristic of Lilyfield, but it had been altered over the years, with renovations carried out to meet the needs of whoever happened to live there at the time.
“It was essentially an old cottage to begin with, there were four rooms and a hallway down the middle,” explains architect Ed Davis of Davis Architects.
“The original cottage was expanded and renovated, probably in the late ’70s in quite an insensitive and unsatisfactory way. It was not pretty, but not atypical of that era.”
Before work began, the house was stripped back to the original four rooms. The two rooms at the front would remain bedrooms, while a study and new bathroom took over the remaining spaces.
“There were no structural changes to the old house, aside from the bathroom, which opens up into a courtyard,” Ed says.
“We didn’t want to change the character of it too much.”
Linking old and new
Once the old add-ons were removed, the new kitchen/living and dining section was created, along with a studio out the back.
“We removed the old addition and ‘stickytaped’ the new section to the back of the house,” says Ed. “We exposed an old weatherboard wall and the original roof pitch of the cottage as well, and we left it as it was.”
The old and new sections are separated by a 2m glass bridge, which is aligned with the central hallway of the old home, with twin Japanese-inspired courtyards on either side.
“The design concept was to strip away the old renovation and allow separation of the zones with a bridge,” says Ed.
“That allowed the new section to have its own character.
“Most importantly, it allows light, air and