Inside Out (Australia)
OUTSIDE THE BOX
The unearthing of a hidden piece of the past helped guide the modern metamorphosis of this 116-year-old cottage in Sydney’s inner west
The plan for this home was simple.
Owners David and Bec Smith were to add an architectural rear extension overlooking a new pool and give the facade a face-lift. But when a note fell out from behind an architrave during the initial stages of the renovation, works came to a halt.
THESE WALLS COULD TALK
The note read: “This building was erected by M. M. Haiges. Carpenter James Haston. Plasterers Thomas Smart and Henry Glossip. Painter M. Swan. Remember us all whoever finds this. 1902”. Suddenly, preserving the facade became crucial, and David and Bec sought to tell the story of the building’s historic past, while creating a contemporary haven for a growing family.
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
To realise this dream, the pair searched for inspiration. For the rear extension, Bec favoured cantilevered structures, and David loved the look of James Hardie’s ‘Axon’ vertically grooved cladding. Combining their visions, the ultra-modern ‘floating box’ upper storey came to life. The Axon cladding has 400-millimetre groove spacing and, painted in Dulux Stepney grey, it creates an impressive contrast against the original building. Local sandstone blocks, found on the site during construction, were re-used as a feature wall in the minimalist new kitchen, while high ceilings, rosettes and arches in the cottage create a strong visual link to the home’s initial incarnation.