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 Home Purpose Built For A Woman And Her Cat!

Architecture

The renovation to this heritage cottage in North Fitzroy by Atlas Architects had one unusual requirement: it must be designed with equal consideration of both their human client, and her cat, Dot. And so it was done!

The resulting structure is harmonious gathering of opposites: concrete and timber, rounded and rectilinear angles, human and cat lifestyles! All in pursuit of the common goal of homeliness.

21st May, 2020

The open living and dining space is the main spectacular event of the renovation. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

The cathedral ceiling allows light to flood in from the north-facing courtyard. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

The peaked awning gestures to the Victorian cottage’s original roofline. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

The view in from the garden. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

Dot’s porthole! Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

The living room bookshelves were designed as a ladder for dot to scamper up and around. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

The different heights and platforms are designed for Dot’s folly! Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

The kitchen was refurbished with new joinery. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

The cabinetry wraps around the kitchen and into the living room study. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

The hanging steel shelf continues the framing motif throughout the house! Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

A light-filled corridor. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

Hallway frame shelves. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

Grey finishes in the bathroom bow into the interplay of light and dark throughout the house! Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

The master bedroom. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

The classic Victorian cottage facade was structurally reinforced but retained. Photo – Tess Kelly. Styling – Devina Natasha Loekito.

Sasha Gattermayr
Thursday 21st May 2020

‘Our vision was to create a home where functionality is a thread woven with comfort, light, history and homely joy.’ – Ton Vu, Director of Atlas Architects.

How do you respond to a renovation brief that requires specific considerations for human and animal liveability? Atlas Architects have achieved it seamlessly and if you ask them, it turns out it’s all about flow.

‘Our vision was to create a home where functionality is a thread woven with comfort, light, history and homely joy,’ explains Director of Atlas Architects, Ton Vu. ‘Spatial and functional requirements for the client’s cat, Dot, related to playing, eating, access and litter were an important part of the design brief.’

Dot required access from the front yard to the back, and between the laundry and living space for days when she is left alone – hence cat doors were inserted discretely throughout corners of the house. The laundry room is dedicated entirely to Dot’s comfort and folly. Custom joinery designed specifically to accommodate her litter tray, food and storage is elevated off the laundry floor, while the north-facing bookshelves in the living room act as a ladder she can scamper up and keep watch on the garden through the rounded porthole.

Aside from Dot’s design specifications(!), the existing building was riddled with structural problems that impeded on spatial choreography. ‘The old house was a combination of a two-room heritage brick building with asbestos-clad lean-to structure,’ Ton explains. ‘The existing brick building was only supported by a shallow bluestone footing and had significant cracks throughout the internal and external walls.’

Though Ton was committed to designing new additions in harmony with the pre-existing elements, a near-entire demolition of the back of the house was required. The shape of the existing roofline informs the rear facade, the ceiling line and the rear awning, while the existing brickwork and plaster textures were left exposed along the corridor as a gesture towards the peeling layers of the house’s history. Cast in the triangular silhouette of the cottage’s original peaked facade, the rear awning references the same visual dialogue between the old and new dwelling. The final structure is a delicate balance of contrasts between materials, colours and angles.

In addition to the new extension, the original Victorian home was also restored extensively as part of this renovation. The architects worked with Resicon Master Builders to reinforce the bluestone footing in the original part of the house with concrete underpins, future proofing it for years to come. With this careful renovation and restoration project, Atlas Architects have breathed new life into this much loved little home, ensuring it will stand the test of time – in both human and cat years!

See more projects by Atlas Architects here.

This Week

Homes

A Warm And Wonderful 1950s Home In North Warrandyte

Vy and Andrew Costen share their charming mid century family home, in near original condition!

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Boozy Pear And Polenta Tart

Pears poached in Italian red wine and spices form the basis of this scrumptious, simple fruit tart.
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

On The Market

An Expertly Updated 1970s Masterpiece Is On The Market!

Built by renowned Melbourne homebuilders Fasham Johnson, this lovingly restored mid century home in Hurtsbridge is one of the best we've see...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An 1850s Horse Stable Turned Stunning Guest House

Renato D’Ettorre Architects reinstate the charm of an 1850s horse stable, turning it into an inviting guest house in Surry Hills.

Studio Visit

The Painted Papier-Mâché World Of Morgana Celeste

The multi-disciplined creative and emerging artist shares her process ahead of her first solo exhibition, online now at pépite.
Sasha Gattermayr

Times Like These

Times Like These...With Musician And Writer Clare Bowditch

The award winning musician and author shares her thoughtful outlook on the future of art and creativity after COVID-19.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Interiors

This Community-Minded Interior Is More Unique Than Meets The Eye

Sibling Architecture triumph with this flexible home / work interior, to cater for all bodies and accessibility requirements.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Dilapidated Cottage Transformed Into A Modern Family Home

A subtle and skilful design by Olaver Architecture brings light and richness to this compact family home in Richmond!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Playful + Reorienting Renovation

Austin Maynard Architects joyfully reconfigure the Grant House in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

This Week

Interiors

A Joyful Home, Full Of Whimsy + Glamour

Scalloped edges and vibrant colours have elevated this Sydney terrace by Arent&Pyke.

Architecture

A Modernist-Inspired Seaside Home

This adaptable, Victorian seaside home designed by Nest Architects and Placement blurs the line between modernism and contemporary design. ...

Interiors

11 Mirrors That Are Having A Moment!

Lauren Li's edit of her favourite mirrors out there right now, to take your space to the next level!
Lauren Li
  17 hours ago

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.

News

An Online Super Store + Subscription Service For All-Natural Goodies

GoodnessMe carries over 3,000 products from snacks to ready-made meals – with samples delivered to your door every month!
Sponsored

News

Get Luxe Designer Furniture For Up To 15% Off!

Designer furniture retailer DOMO is discounting in-stock and custom items from HC28 + HC28 Cosmopolitan.
Sponsored

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....

News

Delicious New Bed Linen From A Local Fave

Melbourne-based bed linen stars, The Sheet Society, launches a moody new winter range ripe for mixing + matching.
Sponsored

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

Architecture

A New Zealand Villa Built For Hosting

Architecture firm Maud creates a home for a family of hospitality professionals, built around a generous kitchen, outdoor room + pétanque g...

Interiors

A Before-And-After Interior Renovation That’ll Knock Your Socks Off!

AMA Studio Interiors transforms a rustic, wood-panelled cottage on the NSW Central Coast into dreamy family retreat.

Homes

A Remarkable Family Home Transformation

Maddie and Mike Witter transformed a mould-ridden, dilapidated house into a bright and breezy family home for six!

TDF Design Awards

The Most Fabulous New Furniture Designs In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021

There is no shortage of innovation and inspiration from the Furniture Design finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards this year!
Lucy Feagins
  9 hours ago

Architecture

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Architect

Four of Australia's best architects answer your frequently asked questions, from what an architect does, to how much they cost!

Similar Stories

Interiors

This Community-Minded Interior Is More Unique Than Meets The Eye

Sibling Architecture triumph with this flexible home / work interior, to cater for all bodies and accessibility requirements.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Dilapidated Cottage Transformed Into A Modern Family Home

A subtle and skilful design by Olaver Architecture brings light and richness to this compact family home!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Playful + Reorienting Renovation

Austin Maynard Architects joyfully reconfigure the Grant House in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

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.