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 Dilapidated Cottage Transformed Into A Modern Family Home

Architecture

When given a brief for a functional family home on a modest budget, there’s a risk the architect’s creativity must be curtailed. But, the cleverest architects thrive under these constraints, creating the most innovative of solutions under pressure!

Olaver Architecture are those architects. In this renovation project in the inner-city suburb of Richmond, they have transformed a small, decrepit single-fronted cottage into a bright, contemporary sanctuary – no mean feat!

24th April, 2020

The original Victorian weatherboard was decrepit from the beginning, but remained the inspiration for the final design. Exterior painted in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

The clients had pre-purchased Baltic pine floorboards and brass fittings, so the architects had a base palette to work around. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

The back of the house opens out onto the backyard, giving the rear facade over to the natural world. Exterior painted in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

Who needs television when you have a whole wall of glazing? And deep slabs of marble! Paintings by Oliver Watts and Claudia Greathead. Walls painted in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

Living room details. Walls painted in Dulux Natural White. Paintings by Oliver Watts and Claudia Greathead. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

Light floods in through the large sliding glass doors. Walls painted in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

The kitchen sprawls around a corner of the room, leaving ample space for living and dining spaces to share the open plan area. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

A skylight adds to the light drenching in from the sliding doors. Walls and ceiling painted in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

Ceiling-to-floor walnut cabinetry is a statement piece. Walls painted in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

A pane of scalloped glass at the door carries light down the hallway. Walls painted in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

The lush green carpet makes a forest floor of the children’s bedroom! Walls painted in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

The bathroom is heavenly! Photo – Josh Robenstone. Styling – Victoria Merrett.

Sasha Gattermayr
Friday 24th April 2020

‘Our vision was to provide a functional sanctuary, wherein the rituals of daily life are made that little bit easier.’ – Emlyn Olaver

Olaver Architecture opted for a subtle, sophisticated approach when it came to transforming this dilapidated single-fronted cottage into a modern family home. ‘We took a ‘light touch’ approach to the architecture, and simply extruded the original form,’ explains director Emlyn Olaver. ‘On the inside we ensured that the modest space was amplified with natural light and rich materiality,’ he explains, while minimal changes were made to the street-facing exterior.

The clients had pre-purchased brass fittings and Baltic pine floorboards, so Emlyn and his team had a base palette to work around when selecting the rest of the materials. Rich burgundy stone, walnut joinery and dark marble slabs bring depth to the light-filled communal spaces, while lush forest green carpet provides reference to the natural world in the bedrooms. The bathroom is also heavenly, bathing in radiant natural light that accents the rich colours of the marble, tiles and walnut surfaces.

Though the existing Victorian weatherboard served as the inspiration for the final design, the brief was to create a functional, easy-to-live-in family home that made the most of a small footprint. One key part of the design response was to maximise light, through the extensive use of glazing. With enormous sliding doors that sweep the rear of the house, and a pane of scalloped glass inserted in the front door to carry light down the hallway, sun streams into the cottage at all hours of the day.

As a professional challenge to Emlyn and his team, the entire home was designed without the use of 3D modelling or computer rendering. Instead, all the drawings were done in the old fashioned way, with card models and drawings! An anecdotal detail that makes this clever little renovation project all the more impressive!

This Week

Architecture

A Curvy, Late Modernist Home in Malvern Gets A Sharp Contemporary Extension

A unique dome ceiling and curved glass wall share centre stage with a slick renovation in Melbourne's East by Architecture Architecture.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Curious City Home, Nestled In Park Land

Architecture Architecture balance indoors and out in this clever renovation of a 1940s house in Williamstown North.

Small Business

Expert Advice For Creatives, Freelancers and Small Business On Managing Your Finances In This Crisis

TDFs own bookkeeper, Line Paras from Counting Clouds shares her wisdom to help tackle the financial impact of COVID-19.
Line Paras

Times Like These

Times Like These... With Cherrie Miriklis-Pavlou Of Flowers Vasette

When things started to fall apart, Fitzroy's most beloved high street Florist transformed her business overnight to stay afloat. Here's how!...

Homes

This Terrazzo Artist's Cosmic Palace Is Out Of This World!

This magical oasis in Rosebery, New South Wales, is home to renowned terrazzo artist, David Humphries, and has 12m high walls, a bonkers art...
Lucy Feagins

Architecture

This Japanese-Inspired Beach Shack Feels Like A Grown-Up Cubbyhouse!

Curious Practice architects transform a two-bedroom dwelling into a sleek, yet cosy seaside getaway in Newcastle.
Sasha Gattermayr

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Thoroughly Tactile Terrace

Bringing new light and life to a narrow North Fitzroy home, with Olaver Architecture.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

An Extra Small Home, Streamlined For Tiny Living

Nicholas Gurney shares the 5S tiny home in Potts Point, informed by a Japanese strategy for five practices of everyday living.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Total Transformation For This Pocket-Sized Heritage Home

The Kingsville House undergoes a clever, contemporary renovation from Olaver Architecture.
Miriam McGarry

This Week

Art

Sally Anderson's New Works Explore 'Home' As Landscape, In A Pandemic Age

The NSW-based artist's new exhibition explores the poetry of everyday spaces.
Sasha Gattermayr

News

A New Online Boutique Curating Sustainable + Ethical Homewares Is Here!

Shop Milou Milou bed linen, Seljak textiles, Vermeer jewellery and more at Good Things, where everything is handmade, sustainably produced o...
Sasha Gattermayr
  5 hours ago

Homes

The Colourful Family Home Of Fenton & Fenton Owner, Lucy Fenton!

The Malvern home of Lucy Fenton, owner of Fenton & Fenton, is a vibrant, eclectic and thoroughly sunshine-y space!

TDF Design Awards

These Emerging Designers Are The Next Big Things!

Introducing the 8 showstopping finalists in the Emerging Designer category of The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020!
Lucy Feagins

News

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Launches Online!

Buy ethically traded art at the country’s largest Aboriginal art fair in its (now virtual) marketplace.

Art

The Winners Of The 2020 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards

We share highlights and winners from the country's most anticipated award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists!

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Fred’s Head Chef, Danielle Alvarez

Follow the daily routine of Danielle Alvarez, head chef of the renowned Paddington restaurant, Fred's!

TDF Collect

TDF Collect Presents 'Portalis' By Hannah Nowlan

A series of 15 richly textured paintings exploring retreat, regeneration and the rapidly changing world around us from the talented Victoria...

Father's Day Favourites

Announcing... The Design Files Father's Day Favourites!

We're making Father's Day easy with our first ever SHOPPABLE gift guide! Shop gift ideas from four Dad-worthy brands - and score special dis...
Lucy Feagins

News

Online Art Dealers Curatorial+Co. Open An IRL Gallery

Located in a 300 square metre warehouse, the Redfern gallery will offically launch with a female-led exhibition this Friday.

Studio Visit

Entering Lost Worlds With Oh Hey Grace Ceramics

Ceramicist Grace Brown explores dystopian landscapes and fallen civilisations in her debut solo show in Kyneton.
Sasha Gattermayr

Father's Day Favourites

Shop Slick Homewares, Lamps + Designer Accessories For Father's Day With 10% Off From Cult!

Browse cult-status kitchenware and slick home accessories in this edit of sure-fire Father's Day hits from one of Australia's most iconic de...
Lucy Feagins
  7 hours ago

Homes

A European-Style, Beachside Melbourne Apartment!

The 1920s St Kilda apartment of friends John Wares and Peter Papadopoulos has been completely reconfigured in a beautiful renovation.
Lucy Feagins
  15 hours ago

News

Watch The National Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Art Awards Live!

Brooke Boney hosts the prestigious art awards ceremony, which will be broadcast online for the first time ever!

Father's Day Favourites

Browse These Father's Day Favourites With 25% Off Thames & Hudson Australia!

From iconic local architecture to nontraditional takes on Australian history, browse our top picks for Dad, with 25% off from Thames & Hudso...
Lucy Feagins

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Thoroughly Tactile Terrace

Bringing new light and life to a narrow North Fitzroy home, with Olaver Architecture.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

An Extra Small Home, Streamlined For Tiny Living

Nicholas Gurney shares the 5S tiny home in Potts Point, informed by a Japanese strategy for five practices of everyday living.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Total Transformation For This Pocket-Sized Heritage Home

The Kingsville House undergoes a clever, contemporary renovation from Olaver Architecture.
Miriam McGarry