Cuckoo Clock Meets Modern Edwardian Home!

A cuckoo clock house is usually a traditional, pitched roof, wooden design conveying a sense of European history and storybook cosiness.

While this Edwardian inspired new-build in Footscray by Wexhaus (formerly Rara Architecture) may look conventional from the outside, the interior experience is a whole different story!

Miriam McGarry
Supports The Design Files

The Cuckoo House by Rara Architecture and Interior Design, built by Jose Prats from Grand Maison Constructions. Photo – Nicole England.

The delightful pink entrance! Photo – Nicole England.

A pitched roof and splash of orange in the kitchen. Photo – Nicole England.

The mezzanine offers extra space. Photo – Nicole England.

This isn’t a conventional cuckoo clock style house! Photo – Nicole England.

A neutral palette sits opposite the orange kitchen. Photo – Nicole England.

Bold kitchen details. Photo – Nicole England.

The blue zone! Photo – Nicole England.

Creating the illusion of light with a cleverly painted bedroom ceiling. Photo – Nicole England.

Study details. Photo – Nicole England.

Blue and a pop of orange! Photo – Nicole England.

Old meets new. Photo – Nicole England.

Cuckoo! Photo – Nicole England.

Miriam McGarry
18th of November 2019

The brief for this project was to transform a small and dark Edwardian home into a light-filled two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a generous study space. Director of Wexhaus (formerly Rara Architecture) Wesley Spencer, describes how the small footprint (just 108 square metres) presented challenges, requiring the budget to work hard to achieve the intended results!

The key strategy of this project was ‘to bring light into the dwelling and to introduce the feeling of spaciousness,’ Wesley says. This has been achieved in the soaring raked ceiling of the living space, and by introducing a mezzanine, where extra space has been cleverly crafted!

With a bit of back and forth about how best to interpret to the original style of the home, the resolution was to embark upon a new build ‘that respected neighbourhood character without looking like a mock-Edwardian.’ Wesley describes the resulting structure as a ‘statement piece’ of architecture that respects its Edwardian past with its weatherboard exterior, front verandah and pitched roof, ‘but folded into the design are other influences that brought out the most of the home.’

The characterful name comes from the front and rear facade that resembles a cuckoo clock, but the interiors are splashed with an unconventional, bold use of colour. The bright orange kitchen and midnight blue in the bedrooms creates distinct zones, while the living area aesthetic is more restrained.

The windowless bedroom presented a particular challenge for the architects. In order to transform the space into one of warmth and relaxation, the designers drew upon an ‘Egyptian tomb, or Italian church ceiling with a blue night sky painted on it’ to create a sense of a roofless room!

From the upside-down arch at the front window, to the plywood ‘box’ vestibule that links the old and new, and the gently pink verandah, there is plenty to go cuckoo about in this innovative and bold home.

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