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

An 1850s Horse Stable Turned Stunning Guest House

Architecture

You know a home must be pretty special when the guest house alone is worthy of its own feature! 

We first introduced this project to you in 2018, focusing predominantly on the property’s main Victorian home, but today is all about the guest house. 

This building is actually the fourth major iteration of this historic 1850s structure. Originally a horse stable, it was later transformed into a boarding house, before eventually becoming a media and conference space.

We spoke to Renato D’Ettorre Architects about how they reinstated the charm of this original sandstone outbuilding, and converted it into an inviting guest house.

19th May, 2020

This sandstone guest house was originally built in the 1850s as a cab proprietor’s horse stable. Photo – Justin Alexander.

When Renato D’Ettorre Architects were engaged on the project, this building has most recently been functioning as a media and conference space. Left: Photo – Justin Alexander. Right: Photo – Simone Bossi.

The project aim was to rebuild and restore the stone structure with respect to history, while implementing a completely contemporary design. Left: Photo – Simone Bossi. Right: Photo – Justin Alexander.

The undercover courtyard outside facilitates lively social gatherings and long summer lunches. Photo – Justin Alexander.

A garden separates this building from the main house on the Surry Hills property. Photo – Justin Alexander.

The property driveway and carport. Photo – Simone Bossi.

‘The charm and the honesty of construction and rustic nature of the structure provided all the inspiration and the guiding principles,’ says Renato D’Ettorre. Photo – Simone Bossi.

The now complete guest house! Photo – Simone Bossi.

A concrete plunge pool. Photo – Justin Alexander.

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 19th May 2020

‘It generates a wonderful quality of uniform daylight; light that is both warm and joyous.’ – Renato D’Ettorre

There aren’t many guest houses with the architectural pedigree of this project by Renato D’Ettorre Architects!

This two-storey building is just one element of a larger Surry Hills property (you can see the main house here) with origins dating back to the mid 19th century. 

Heritage records reveal the 1850s structure was originally a horse stables owned by a cab proprietor. It later became a boarding house in 1894, then in 1993 was converted into a commercial office. 

When Renato D’Ettorre Architects were engaged to renovate the building, they found the original character of the former stables had been lost over its many lives. Their aim was to rebuild and restore the stone structure with respect to its history, while implementing a completely contemporary design. Unnecessary details and ornamentation were removed to honour the original building and promote a simple way of living. 

New materials introduced into the guest house such as Carrara marble, red brick and oak all complement the existing sandstone. ‘The sandstone has a delicate golden colour and is beautifully receptive to the sunlight that enters via the new large skylight,’ says Renato D’Ettorre, director of Renato D’Ettorre Architects. ‘It generates a wonderful quality of uniform daylight; light that is both warm and joyous.’

One of the only contrasting features is the new metal staircase, which Renato deliberately designed to be a focal element. ‘Generating visual richness to an otherwise pure and modest interior, the design and fabrication of a winding staircase of open metal treads creates a striking, weightless, abstract and contemporary pure structure which is in stark contrast to the rustic structure,’ says Renato.

The ground floor of this guest house provides an ideal recreational area, particularly in the warmer months. Being located next to the property’s concrete plunge pool area and courtyard, this is where you’ll find the owners hosting lively social gatherings and long summer lunches. It’s like a private Italian villa, right in the heart of Surry Hills.

See more projects by Renato D’Ettorre Architects here

This Week

News

The TDF ‘ALL THE THINGS’ 500k Giveaway!

Help us celebrate half a million (!) Insta followers with epic prize packs for three lucky readers! 

Interiors

A Colour-Drenched, 'Grandmillennial' Home In North Sydney

Bold colour, and both English and Moroccan influences come together in this North Sydney home by Lisa Burdus.

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

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

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!

News

Shop These Plush Woollen Rugs And Get A Special TDF Discount!

Carpet Court’s customisable rug range is made with 100% New Zealand wool and can be cut to suit the size, shape and colour of your interio...
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

Studio Visit

Two Best Friends' Lockdown Hobby Turned Cult Candle Business

Creative entrepreneurs Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri pooled their respective small business knowledge to found Blazed Wax - a colourful, cult-...

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!

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!

Homes

A Designer’s 1970s Bells Beach Dream Home!

The incredible eclectic home of interior designer Léo Terrando and Jessica Watts, on Victoria's surf coast.

TDF Design Awards

The Sensational Interior Design Finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

The 12 incredible residential projects in the running to win the Interior Design award at the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021, presented by...

Creative People

The Mother and Daughter Duo Uncovering Perth’s Hidden Terrazzo Treasures

A community exhibition uncovering Fremantle residences containing terrazzo floors by master artisan, Giuseppe Scolaro - as part of the city'...

Indigenous Art

15 Excellent Indigenous Art Centres To Support And Celebrate!

We've spoken to some experts, and pulled together this guide on purchasing Aboriginal artwork ethically, and some ideas of where to find it!...
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....

Interiors

Get The Look: Dark + Moody Bathrooms And Kitchens

All the product and styling advice you need to achieve the dark, moody bathrooms and kitchen interiors trend, brought to you Oliveri.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Former Trouser Factory Turned Intimate Sydney Home

A 1909 former factory in Annandale has received a sophisticated yet family-friendly renovation by Josephine Hurley Architecture.

Architecture

Past + Present Coincide In This Army Drill House Conversion

A Federation red brick hall in Sydney is stripped of its imposing 1980s renovation (with some contemporary touches)!
Sasha Gattermayr

Stays

An Old Dairy Farm, Transformed Into One Of Victoria’s Coolest Boutique Accommodations

A designer getaway in South Gippsland, designed and owned by father-daughter team Andrea and Lindsay Moore.
Amelia Barnes

This Week

Interiors

A Colour-Drenched, 'Grandmillennial' Home In North Sydney

Bold colour, and both English and Moroccan influences come together in this North Sydney home by Lisa Burdus.

Homes

A Designer’s 1970s Bells Beach Dream Home!

The incredible eclectic home of interior designer Léo Terrando and Jessica Watts, on Victoria's surf coast.

News

The TDF ‘ALL THE THINGS’ 500k Giveaway!

Help us celebrate half a million (!) Insta followers with epic prize packs for three lucky readers! 

Studio Visit

Two Best Friends' Lockdown Hobby Turned Cult Candle Business

Creative entrepreneurs Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri pooled their respective small business knowledge to found Blazed Wax - a colourful, cult-...

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

Shop These Plush Woollen Rugs And Get A Special TDF Discount!

Carpet Court’s customisable rug range is made with 100% New Zealand wool and can be cut to suit the size, shape and colour of your interio...
Sponsored

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

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

Creative People

The Mother and Daughter Duo Uncovering Perth’s Hidden Terrazzo Treasures

A community exhibition uncovering Fremantle residences containing terrazzo floors by master artisan, Giuseppe Scolaro - as part of the city'...

Indigenous Art

15 Excellent Indigenous Art Centres To Support And Celebrate!

We've spoken to some experts, and pulled together this guide on purchasing Aboriginal artwork ethically, and some ideas of where to find it!...

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!

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!

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

TDF Design Awards

The Sensational Interior Design Finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

The 12 incredible residential projects in the running to win the Interior Design award at the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021, presented by...

Interiors

Get The Look: Dark + Moody Bathrooms And Kitchens

All the product and styling advice you need to achieve the dark, moody bathrooms and kitchen interiors trend, brought to you Oliveri.

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Former Trouser Factory Turned Intimate Sydney Home

The Courtyard Warehouse by Josephine Hurley Architecture is a lesson in liveability and layering.

Architecture

Past + Present Coincide In This Army Drill House Conversion

A Federation era red brick hall is returned to its former glory (with some contemporary touches)!
Sasha Gattermayr

Stays

An Old Dairy Farm, Transformed Into One Of Victoria’s Coolest Boutique Accommodations

A designer getaway in South Gippsland, designed and owned by father-daughter team Andrea and Lindsay Moore.
Amelia Barnes

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.