Urban update

This contemporary, vertical extension to an early 1900s workers' cottage has created a light-filled family living area and reinvented the traditional back yard
Story by: Colleen Hawkes
Exterior view of this renovated Brisbane home which architecture, building, commercial building, daylighting, facade, house, structure, window, black
Exterior view of this renovated Brisbane home which features aluminum louvre blades, cladding, roofing, doors and windows.

Pockets of housing in a big city invariably take on their own defining characteristics. In Brisbane a subdivision of workers' cottages built in the early 1900s is notable for the small size of the houses and the connected yards that create a green garden strip across the rear of the properties.

But although the West End houses do have a historical significance, most have been extensively altered over the years. And few of the houses open up to the green strip at the rear.

Architectural designer Carroll Go-Sam and partner Dr Paul Memmott, the owners of this remodelled workers' cottage, could see the potential of their 250m² property was not being realised. Consequently, Carroll Go-Sam approached architect Paul Hotston of Phorm Architecture + Design to collaborate on executing her designs for an extension that would open up the house to the garden.

"There were two overriding reasons for the project," says Hotston. "Firstly, there was a reaction to living in the existing low-roofed workers' cottage, and an ill-conceived '80s split-level deck addition. The renovation needed to provide light, space and a sense of proportion and scale. Both Carroll and I also wanted to actively engage the rear of the house with the garden and neighbourhood."


View of kitchen area a long kitchen island, countertop, daylighting, interior design, kitchen, window, white, gray
View of kitchen area a long kitchen island, stools, appliances, louvres, lighting, laminate cabinetry.

The provision of natural ventilation and passive cooling and heating were other requirements.

The rear of the house now opens to a double-height glass-walled void, which features adjustable louvres and high windows that allow hot air to rise and leave the building. Windows are also positioned to capture prevailing cross breezes.

Similarly, cantilevered eaves are designed to keep the sun out of the living area at key times.

But Go-Sam and Hotston say it is the sense of space and the physical and visual link with the garden and view that has transformed the house.

View of the main dining area featuring bamboo architecture, ceiling, daylighting, floor, house, interior design, lighting, gray
View of the main dining area featuring bamboo flooring, dining table and chairs, adjustable louvres, doors and windows, lighting.

"The most successful aspect of the project is the sense of freedom and release this room secures for the whole house, despite the limited footprint," says Hotston.

Go-Sam says the new kitchen is the focus of family life just as it would have been in days gone by. A large island that appears to float within the space serves as a food prep area and table.

The refurbished master suite overlooks the kitchen from a mezzanine level. Below the bedroom is a new guest room/family room and laundry.

Jun 03, 2009

Credit list

Architect
Paul Hotston RAIA, Phorm Architecture + Design
Roofing
Lysaghts Spandek
Sunscreens
Hunter & Douglas Aerobrise Elipse aluminium louvre blades
Flooring
Floor Series glazed ceramic tiles; laminated bamboo by Bamboo Australia
Kitchen cabinetry
Flute laminate from Laminex Industries
Tapware
Christiaans
Builder
Contrast Constructions
Masonry block walls
Pepper motif in polished block by Hanson (Besser)
Doors and windows
Centor from G James Commercial Sections
Lighting
Wever + Ducré H-line profile kitchen light; recessed lights from Caribou; Foscarini O-space dining pendant from ECC
Benchtops
Crystal White from Stone Italia
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