This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Collector's Cottage In Sydney's Suburbs

Architecture

A wunderkammer is a German term to describe a cabinet of notable curiosities. These cabinets of wonder were originally an entire room, displaying objects from natural history, geology, ethnography, archeology, paintings, works of art and antiques.

This home renovation by Mark Szczerbicki Design Studio in Bardwell Park (NSW) transforms a home filled which character and beautifully curated collections into a liveable, environmentally sustainable, and warm wunderkammer. As Mark explains, there was no stylist needed for this photoshoot, as the owners have created their own highly-personal cottage filled with a life-time’s worth of treasured collections.

26th September, 2019

Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Miriam McGarry
Thursday 26th September 2019

Director Mark Szczerbicki of Mark Szczerbicki Design Studio explains that the design of this home in Sydney’s Southern suburbs was informed by a desire to maintain the original character of the house, and to provide a space to exhibit the owner’s much loved collections of artefacts, artworks, and ceramics. Owners Ben and Rose have spent a lifetime gathering their ‘cabinet of curiosities’, and Mark highlights that these collections are much more than mere ‘decor items’. ‘Their love for finding the beauty in the everyday object became the driver for the project’ he concludes.

The architects restored the existing cottage, and created a new addition to complement the characteristics of the old building. Branching out of the main living space, the addition expands the connection to the backyard and the small ceramics studio at the rear of the property. It steps down into the garden, creating a clearly delineated new space, that offers a link between the indoor and outdoors.

Inside, the link between spaces is marked by a finely crafted timber staircase, where one of the timber treads extends out to become the benchtop of the new kitchen. A seamless transition! The high ceiling and large skylight creates an surprisingly open and generous space, and takes advantage of the view of a large jacaranda tree overhanging the property from the neighbour’s backyard. (Ah, Sydney!)

The open shelving in the kitchen provides ample display and storage space for Rose’s curated selection of ceramics, and the architects reflected this passion in the custom-made splashback tiles and ceramic pendants in the dining space. Meanwhile, the music room provides a setting for a suite of instruments, and a display of drinking glasses from various op-shops around Sydney!

The design is also informed by a commitment to a low environmental impact. The home has no air conditioning, rather using passive systems of openings, ceiling fans, external shutters and a concrete slab to maintain thermal comfort throughout the year. A rainwater tank is connected to toilets and garden taps, and light fittings, doors, and bakelite handles were salvaged from the demolition and recycled in the renovation. Both inside and outside, materials were selected to age gracefully ‘with polished concrete in the extension and cedar cladding, which is left to weather and turn grey.’

This home successfully captures the owners’ personalities, and offers an opportunity to enhance the presence and presentation of their considered collections. Mark emphasises ‘the house is not “styled” for the photography – Rose’s natural knack for curating an ever-evolving display of object lifts the interiors from staged to authentic and personal.’

This Week

News

A New Series Of Paintings From An Old Favourite

Steven John Clark (aka denHolm) exhibits his first body of paintings, ‘Flowers For Gary’, exploring the imperfect, and its chall...

Homes

A Dreamy, Nostalgic Family Home in Melbourne's Suburbs

Sympathetic renovations featuring recycled materials have made the 1930s Malvern East family home of Josh and Anastasia Elias even better th...

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Media Powerhouse And Ultimate Creative Slashie, Sophia Athas

The founder of digital marketing agency Hatrik House talks us through the ins-and-outs of running a successful business in your twenties!

Interiors

A Designer’s Fun, Mid-Century Makeover Of Her ‘90s Townhouse!

Studio Tate associate Liz Ryde shares her self-designed, Clifton Hill family home filled with mid-century elements and colour!

On The Market

A Huge Family Warehouse Apartment In The Heart Of Richmond

At approximately 520 square metres, this out-of-this world industrial home has got to be one of the biggest warehouse conversions in Melbour...

Shopping

A Curated Collection Of Luxury Goods From Across The Pond, Here In Melbourne

Discover the best of New Zealand fashion, lifestyle, and homewares at this inspired pop-up, until May 23rd at Chadstone.

Gardens

Everything You Need To Know About Working With A Landscape Designer

We asked expert garden designers Phillip Withers, Fran Hale, Kathleen Murphy, Katy Svalbe and Richard Unsworth to demystify the process of w...

Architecture

A Gentle Brutalist Masterpiece In Brisbane

The Mt Coot-Tha House by Nielsen Jenkins embraces its steep and bushy surrounds courtesy of a minimalist and raw material palette.

Architecture

A Contemporary Reinterpretation Of The Classic Australian Farmhouse

FMD Architects introduce their version of the classic Australian farmhouse in 'Coopworth', located on Tasmania's Bruny Island.

News

The Annual Mud Seconds Sale Is On In Sydney This Weekend!

Shop almost-perfect porcelain Mud pieces with discounts starting from 40% off.

Architecture

A Multigenerational Family Retreat In A Blue Mountains Valley

It looks like a Swiss Chalet, but 'Stonelea' is a uniquely Australian home in the Blue Mountains, by Matthew Woodward Architecture.
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Stays

A Mountain-Top Holiday Spot That Floats Above The Clouds

Cloud Parade is a design-led accommodation in the Blue Mountains, with truly sublime views over the national park.

Creative People

Collecting Materials And Memories On Minjerribah With Delvene Cockatoo Collins

Quandamooka woman and artist Delvene Cockatoo Collins shares a look into her art practice, and the magical place she calls home.

News

A Massive Sale Of A-List Designer Furniture Is Happening Soon!

Nab furniture, lighting and homewares from big time European designers like Ligne Roset, Duvivier + more at DOMO’s mid-year sale.
Sponsored

Interiors

A Dark + Dingy Heritage Home Revamped In Contemporary Country Style

Interior designer Georgie Shepherd of GSiD transforms breathes new life into the interiors of this newly renovated pre-Federation villa in A...

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Multigenerational Family Retreat In A Blue Mountains Valley

It looks like a Swiss Chalet, but 'Stonelea' is a uniquely Australian home by Matthew Woodward Architecture.
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Architecture

A Contemporary Reinterpretation Of The Classic Australian Farmhouse

FMD Architects introduce their version of the classic Australian farmhouse in 'Coopworth.'

Architecture

A Gentle Brutalist Masterpiece In Brisbane

The Mt Coot-Tha House by Nielsen Jenkins embraces its steep and bushy surrounds courtesy of a minimalist and raw material palette.

This Week

Interiors

A Dark + Dingy Heritage Home Revamped In Contemporary Country Style

Interior designer Georgie Shepherd of GSiD transforms breathes new life into the interiors of this newly renovated pre-Federation villa in A...

Shopping

A Curated Collection Of Luxury Goods From Across The Pond, Here In Melbourne

Discover the best of New Zealand fashion, lifestyle, and homewares at this inspired pop-up, until May 23rd at Chadstone.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Media Powerhouse And Ultimate Creative Slashie, Sophia Athas

The founder of digital marketing agency Hatrik House talks us through the ins-and-outs of running a successful business in your twenties!

Homes

A Dreamy, Nostalgic Family Home in Melbourne's Suburbs

Sympathetic renovations featuring recycled materials have made the 1930s Malvern East family home of Josh and Anastasia Elias even better th...

Gardens

Everything You Need To Know About Working With A Landscape Designer

We asked expert garden designers Phillip Withers, Fran Hale, Kathleen Murphy, Katy Svalbe and Richard Unsworth to demystify the process of w...

News

A Massive Sale Of A-List Designer Furniture Is Happening Soon!

Nab furniture, lighting and homewares from big time European designers like Ligne Roset, Duvivier + more at DOMO’s mid-year sale.
Sponsored

Architecture

A Contemporary Reinterpretation Of The Classic Australian Farmhouse

FMD Architects introduce their version of the classic Australian farmhouse in 'Coopworth', located on Tasmania's Bruny Island.

Architecture

A Gentle Brutalist Masterpiece In Brisbane

The Mt Coot-Tha House by Nielsen Jenkins embraces its steep and bushy surrounds courtesy of a minimalist and raw material palette.

Interiors

A Designer’s Fun, Mid-Century Makeover Of Her ‘90s Townhouse!

Studio Tate associate Liz Ryde shares her self-designed, Clifton Hill family home filled with mid-century elements and colour!

On The Market

A Huge Family Warehouse Apartment In The Heart Of Richmond

At approximately 520 square metres, this out-of-this world industrial home has got to be one of the biggest warehouse conversions in Melbour...

News

The Annual Mud Seconds Sale Is On In Sydney This Weekend!

Shop almost-perfect porcelain Mud pieces with discounts starting from 40% off.

Creative People

Collecting Materials And Memories On Minjerribah With Delvene Cockatoo Collins

Quandamooka woman and artist Delvene Cockatoo Collins shares a look into her art practice, and the magical place she calls home.

News

A New Series Of Paintings From An Old Favourite

Steven John Clark (aka denHolm) exhibits his first body of paintings, ‘Flowers For Gary’, exploring the imperfect, and its chall...

Architecture

A Multigenerational Family Retreat In A Blue Mountains Valley

It looks like a Swiss Chalet, but 'Stonelea' is a uniquely Australian home in the Blue Mountains, by Matthew Woodward Architecture.
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Stays

A Mountain-Top Holiday Spot That Floats Above The Clouds

Cloud Parade is a design-led accommodation in the Blue Mountains, with truly sublime views over the national park.

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Multigenerational Family Retreat In A Blue Mountains Valley

It looks like a Swiss Chalet, but 'Stonelea' is a uniquely Australian home by Matthew Woodward Architecture.
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Architecture

A Contemporary Reinterpretation Of The Classic Australian Farmhouse

FMD Architects introduce their version of the classic Australian farmhouse in 'Coopworth.'

Architecture

A Gentle Brutalist Masterpiece In Brisbane

The Mt Coot-Tha House by Nielsen Jenkins embraces its steep and bushy surrounds courtesy of a minimalist and raw material palette.

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.