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

Shopping

Radiant New Table Linen From Bonnie + Neil, Just In Time For Summer Entertaining!

Elevate your summer dining table with ‘Clover’, the new summer collection from beloved Melbourne design duo, Bonnie and Neil.
Sasha Gattermayr

News

An Amazing Design Auction To Help Support Bushfire Recovery

Limited-edition ceramics or a weekend on Bruny Island are just some of the incredible items available in this online fundraising auction by

News

A Limited Edition Trio Of Vessels From Mud Inspired By Margaret Preston

Mud has collaborated with the National Gallery of Australia on a limited edition collection of vessels that pay homage to the iconic Austral...

Architecture

From Unliveable To Unbelievable!

BayleyWard have brought this Elsternwick Edwardian back to life, and added a swoon-worthy double-height contemporary extension!

On The Market

This Grand 1860s Terrace In Melbourne’s Inner North Is Up For Grabs!

An original Victorian gem with all the modern updates in one of Melbourne's most coveted inner-city locations has hit the market - and it wo...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Childhood Home Revived For The Next Generation

A single-storey home in Toorak is transformed into a contemporary family retreat by Melanie Beynon Architecture + Design!
Sasha Gattermayr

News

An Epic Online Program Of Future Design Stars From RMIT

Celebrate the graduating students of RMIT’s class of 2020 with an epic program of virtual end-of-year showcases across art, architectu...
Sponsored

Architecture

A Coastal Family Home Without Any Coastal Cliches!

A contemporary home for furniture designers - meet Coastal Pavilion by Mim Design, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

Studio Visit

The Construction Specialist Turned Conceptual Sculptor!

Brisbane-based sculptor Hailey Atkins' takes her background in industrial roofing and applies it to her abstract art practice.
Sasha Gattermayr

Homes

A Pascoe Vale South Home With Palm Springs Flair

The delightful family home of Jake Cassar and Naomi Jankowski in Pascoe Vale South, Melbourne counts Palm Springs and David Hockey as design...

News

All Of Your Favourite Makers In One Decadent Showcase!

Craft Victoria hosts an end-of-year exhibition for the crème de la crème of the state’s artisanal creatives.

Studio Visit

Designing Vibrant + Joyous Clothes With A Cross-Continental Perspective

Dinzi Amobi unites the London of her upbringing with the Nigeria of her heritage through her fashion + homewares label - Ulo Australia.
Sasha Gattermayr

Design Eye

Lauren Li on Contemporary Curves

Square, blocky shapes are out, and CURVY furniture is in - Interior designer Lauren Li gives us the lowdown.

Studio Visit

A Studio Visit With One Of Australia’s Most Exciting Young Architecture + Design Firms

Jesse Bennett and Anne-Marie Campagnolo have been married for 10 years, and together, they have created some of the most impressive architec...
01:59

Art en Route

Art en Route : A Visit to Mitchelton Estate + Gallery Of Aboriginal Art, With Ford Puma

A day trip featuring iconic Australian Architecture and Indigenous Art, in the stylish new Ford Puma!

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

Interiors

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

Architecture

A Childhood Home Revived For The Next Generation

A single-storey home in Toorak is transformed into a contemporary family retreat by Melanie Beynon Architecture + Design!
Sasha Gattermayr

News

All Of Your Favourite Makers In One Decadent Showcase!

Craft Victoria hosts an end-of-year exhibition for the crème de la crème of the state’s artisanal creatives.

News

An Epic Online Program Of Future Design Stars From RMIT

Celebrate the graduating students of RMIT’s class of 2020 with an epic program of virtual end-of-year showcases across art, architectu...
Sponsored

Studio Visit

The Construction Specialist Turned Conceptual Sculptor!

Brisbane-based sculptor Hailey Atkins' takes her background in industrial roofing and applies it to her abstract art practice.
Sasha Gattermayr

News

An Amazing Design Auction To Help Support Bushfire Recovery

Limited-edition ceramics or a weekend on Bruny Island are just some of the incredible items available in this online fundraising auction by

On The Market

This Grand 1860s Terrace In Melbourne’s Inner North Is Up For Grabs!

An original Victorian gem with all the modern updates in one of Melbourne's most coveted inner-city locations has hit the market - and it wo...
Sasha Gattermayr

Shopping

Radiant New Table Linen From Bonnie + Neil, Just In Time For Summer Entertaining!

Elevate your summer dining table with ‘Clover’, the new summer collection from beloved Melbourne design duo, Bonnie and Neil.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Coastal Family Home Without Any Coastal Cliches!

A contemporary home for furniture designers - meet Coastal Pavilion by Mim Design, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

Homes

A Pascoe Vale South Home With Palm Springs Flair

The delightful family home of Jake Cassar and Naomi Jankowski in Pascoe Vale South, Melbourne counts Palm Springs and David Hockey as design...
01:59

Art en Route

Art en Route : A Visit to Mitchelton Estate + Gallery Of Aboriginal Art, With Ford Puma

A day trip featuring iconic Australian Architecture and Indigenous Art, in the stylish new Ford Puma!

News

A Limited Edition Trio Of Vessels From Mud Inspired By Margaret Preston

Mud has collaborated with the National Gallery of Australia on a limited edition collection of vessels that pay homage to the iconic Austral...

Studio Visit

A Studio Visit With One Of Australia’s Most Exciting Young Architecture + Design Firms

Jesse Bennett and Anne-Marie Campagnolo have been married for 10 years, and together, they have created some of the most impressive architec...

Studio Visit

Designing Vibrant + Joyous Clothes With A Cross-Continental Perspective

Dinzi Amobi unites the London of her upbringing with the Nigeria of her heritage through her fashion + homewares label - Ulo Australia.
Sasha Gattermayr

Design Eye

Lauren Li on Contemporary Curves

Square, blocky shapes are out, and CURVY furniture is in - Interior designer Lauren Li gives us the lowdown.

Architecture

From Unliveable To Unbelievable!

BayleyWard have brought this Elsternwick Edwardian back to life, and added a swoon-worthy double-height contemporary extension!

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

Interiors

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.