The new in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion

An old worker’s cot­tage is trans­formed into an in­ner city oa­sis built for two, writes

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - STYLE -

If houses could talk, this one would have a great story to tell. What was a mod­est cot­tage in the for­mer Cooper’s Es­tate, which was sub­di­vided in the 1880s to pro­vide hous­ing for the work­ers of in­dus­trial Water­loo and Alexan­dria nearby, is now a con­tem­po­rary res­i­dence in Syd­ney’s sought-af­ter in­ner east.

When owner Adrian Wil­son bought it, the sin­gle-level res­i­dence was miss­ing a bath­room and kitchen and now it has an ex­tra storey, four bed­rooms and, un­like most of its neigh­bours, a pool.

The orig­i­nal foot­print of 100sqm was ex­panded to 170sqm.

“The idea was to cre­ate a con­tem­po­rary, lux­ury res­i­dence with a bit of a ware­house feel and nod to the her­itage of the area,” Adrian says. “We wanted to rein­vig­o­rate the her­itage fa­cade, which we did with new tes­sel­lated tiles, a cast iron hand­made fence, sand­stone and her­itage colours.

“Down­stairs, we re­tained the front two rooms of the house, knocked off the back of the house and started from scratch.”

The back of the house is full of light, thanks to 3.2m-high ceil­ings. The height was achieved by drop­ping the floor level by half me­tre and putting in a pol­ished con­crete slab with un­der­floor heat­ing.

Mild steel, a raw steel which even­tu­ally de­vel­ops a patina, works with the con­crete for the in­dus­trial vibe and was used through­out the home in­clud­ing the handrail for the stair­case and its panel ris­ers, steel bi-fold doors and the arch­way which con­nects the orig­i­nal sec­tion of the home to the new build.

When the old lime ren­der was pulled off, the orig­i­nal brick­work was in such good con­di­tion that Adrian de­cided to keep it as it adds to the home’s her­itage.

The only way is up

The home’s foot­print meant there were lim­ited op­tions for the up­per level if it was go­ing to fit four bed­rooms.

“The clients asked for a small bed­room or nurs­ery room near the mas­ter bed­room and it had a top-level side set­back, which al­lowed a win­dow out there for the side bed­room, and also dic­tated the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the stair­well,” says mas­ter builder and direc­tor of Win­shore Build­ing, Jor­dan Glover, who de­signed the house.

The brief was to avoid plac­ing the stairs in the liv­ing area along the length of the build­ing so that they wouldn’t en­croach on valu­able liv­ing space.

“The way the stair­case was placed al­lowed for a fourth bed­room on the first floor and a more gen­er­ous space for the guest room or sec­ond bed­room at the front of the house,” Jor­dan says.

“It also al­lowed room for a laun­dry and toi­let to be tucked un­der the stairs on the ground floor.”

The stair­case’s brass flat bars in­laid to the treads not only pro­vide a non-slip sur­face, but are high­lighted by the full height win­dow and sky­light which flood the stair­well and the ground floor with nat­u­ral light.

Open to ideas

“Adrian wanted a car space that was us­able and asked me to come up with a way to have a cov­ered out­door area,” Jor­dan says. “We

The her­itage fa­cade was re­freshed and new tes­sel­lated tiles and cast iron fence added.

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