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The Complete Restoration Of An 1842 Tasmanian Cottage

Architecture

The small town of Oatlands, Tasmania (just over an hour north of Hobart) contains the largest number of Georgian sandstone buildings in Australia.

Among the buildings is this 1842 cottage, which until recently, was at risk of ruin. After being in generational ownership for over a century, a retired couple purchased the home and vowed to restore it to its former glory.

Designed by Taylor and Hinds Architects, the completed project sets a new benchmark in the preservation of archetypal, Tasmanian Georgian homes. 

24th July, 2020

Bozen’s Cottage by Taylor and Hinds Architects is a restored 1842 cottage in Oatlands, Tasmania. Photo – Adam Gibson

The entry hall shows original wall fabrics and carpentry. Photo – Adam Gibson

A series of wallpaper fragments from the original cottage have been preserved, framed and hung above the library mantel. Photo – Adam Gibson

The building fabric contained much of its original character, including pit-sawn hardwood floorboards, hand-hewn ashlar sandstone, and brick. Photo – Adam Gibson

The memory of blacksmiths and carpenters who previously lived here is recast into the new works through a series of finely crafted mild steel and timber insertions. Photo – Adam Gibson

Morning light penetrates the home. Photo – Adam Gibson

The home belongs to a retired couple passionate about its restoration. Photo – Adam Gibson

The new name of the house, Bozen’s Cottage, references the previous owner, Bozen Stuart Pennicott, whose family lived in the house for over a century. Photo – Adam Gibson

The damage caused by a fire to the north-eastern elevation decades ago has been replaced with two large format windows that bring morning sunlight into the sitting-room and library. Photo – Adam Gibson

Hardworking, raw materials in the kitchen. Photo – Adam Gibson

Mild-steel cabinetry and open hardwood shelving service the kitchen. Photo – Adam Gibson

Working within the mannerisms of the primitive Georgian, the new work defines the quality of the original rooms in a consolidating, harbouring materiality, says the architects. Photo – Adam Gibson

Timber casement shutters enclose the windows. Photo – Adam Gibson

Photo – Adam Gibson

The original vellum land deed from Sir John Franklin to Jane Pain is now hung in the entry. Photo – Adam Gibson

Timber meets sandstone. Photo – Adam Gibson

The remnant chimney breast clarifies a courtyard, where site salvaged brick serve as an infill to an ‘archaeological’ field of sandstone foundations, stoops and hearths, say the architects.  Photo – Adam Gibson

To the east, the new windows bring in light and garden aspect. Photo – Adam Gibson

Externally a new steel awning represents the only contemporary intervention to the front facade. Photo – Adam Gibson

Amelia Barnes
Friday 24th July 2020

When Taylor and Hinds Architects were brought on to restore this 1842 cottage in Oatlands, Tasmania, the property was in a state of impending ruin. With a collapsed north-easterly elevation patched up with asbestos panelling, and decaying interiors due to a lack of light and rising damp, significant work was required to restore the home to its former glory.

Despite its dire condition, the building fabric contained much of its original character, including pit-sawn hardwood floorboards, hand-hewn ashlar sandstone, and brick. Uncovering these Georgian qualities of the original interior through a process of adaptive repair was key. 

Most renovation projects include an extension element, but this cottage was actually reduced in size over the course of restorations. ‘More an alteration and subtraction, than an addition,’ is how Mat Hinds, director of Taylor and Hinds Architects, describes the project. New works include two large format windows, a small bathroom, and a rear porch guided by An Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm, and Villa Architecture and Furniture (1833), which the architects referred to throughout. 

Mat describes the characteristics of Tasmanian Georgian architecture as ‘peculiar’, defined by honest material expression and direct detailing. He says the style is also ‘subtle and delicate, but also suffused with qualities of economy, purposefulness, and austerity.’  The architect acknowledges how this style speaks to the ‘unresolved histories of exile of both the colonial and Aboriginal peoples of this island.’

The new name of the house, Bozen’s Cottage, references the previous owner, Bozen Stuart Pennicott, whose family lived in the house for over a century. The family worked as blacksmiths, carpenters and pastoralists, and this history is reflected in a series of finely crafted new mild steel and timber insertions. 

Mat has loved seeing how the owners have furnished this home to include Van Diemonian Georgian furniture, books and ephemera. When visiting the project shortly after its completion in 2019, Mat noted the framed original land deed on the wall, colonial artworks recognising prior and continuing occupation by Tasmania’s First Nations Peoples, and plates decorated with Tasmanian floral patterns. Perhaps the most delightful touch is a series of wallpaper fragments originally from the cottage, which have been preserved, framed and hung above the library mantel. ‘It was a perfect, complete, encounter with the promise of the interior,’ says Mat. ‘For us, that moment was like watching the interior of a small four-room Van Diemonian Georgian Cottage expand to hold the entire history of the island.’

See more Taylor and Hinds projects here

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