Houzz Australia Contributor based in Sydney. Design historian, writer and researcher. I study cultural history through the lens of architecture, design and visual culture. I have a Masters in the History of Decorative Arts and Design from Parsons The New School for Design, New York
Creating more space is a common request in client briefs, especially for small heritage cottages. Often, however, there’s no room to extend backwards or upwards, so it becomes necessary to rework the floorplan to create more – and better – space in house.
This two-bedroom weatherboard house in Sydney, Australia, occupied most of the property, so an extension was out of the question. “Instead, the design brief required we work within the existing footprint of the house and rearrange the spaces to achieve a more functional layout to suit the client’s needs,” architect Kitty Lee, director of Kitty Lee Architecture, says.
House at a Glance Who lives here? A couple – a software engineer who collects trainers, and an accountant who loves yoga – and their chow chow dog, Chowder Location Sydney, NSW, Australia Size Two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an additional mezzanine/guest room; 103 sq m Architect Kitty Lee of Kitty Lee Architecture BuilderWyatt Projects JoinerIntrend Joinery
Photos and styling by The Palm Co
The couple purchased the house after looking in the area for several years. It had a small garden and was close to the parks for Chowder. But they wanted to improve the interior space and the street appeal.
Kitty developed a new colour scheme for the exterior, including repainting the roof sheeting, and added timber battens on top of the front fence and a new timber-battened side gate.
Working within the constraints of the existing house provided both a challenge and an opportunity. Retaining most of the structure minimised waste during construction, maintained a small building footprint and allowed the consumption of resources to be kept to a minimum.
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Kitty transformed the former living area into two bathrooms plus a walk-in pantry and laundry, and relocated the staircase without taking up space from the hallway. It now wraps around the new bathrooms, and skylights bring more natural light into the centre of the house.
Kitty redesigned the kitchen, creating space for the dining area alongside. The curved island worktop is convenient for ease of movement around the kitchen and dining area, and the walk-in pantry and laundry is concealed behind a door at the end of the room.
“The owners were surprised they were able to gain a walk-in-pantry that wasn’t part of their design brief,” Kitty says.
A splashback window brings more natural light into the kitchen and dining space and provides a view of the trees outside. “The house has been designed to maximise the use of daylight and therefore reduce the reliance on electric lighting during the day. All the lights installed in the house use low energy-consumption LED lamps,” Kitty says.
The Moon Garden terrazzo worktop provided the starting point for the materials palette. “The soft grey colour has been picked up in the joinery, tiles, carpet and curtains, while the specks of blush have inspired the use of warmer tones in the timber, bathroom tiles and paint colour in Chowder’s cubbyhole,” Kitty says.
The new living room was created by demolishing the two old bathrooms at the rear of the house. The large, light-filled room takes up the full width of the house and flows seamlessly from the kitchen and dining area.
“The design of this house demonstrates the importance of having an efficient and well-considered floorplan first and foremost,”Kitty says. “When the owners approached me to redesign the house, they had an idea of how they wanted to achieve the brief, but I’m proud I was able to give them more than what they’d imagined and create a house that feels so much brighter and larger without an extension.”
Tell us… What do you like about this redesigned home? Share your thoughts in the Comments.