A Picture Perfect Heritage Cottage Extension

Like many heritage homes in Melbourne, this endearing cottage in Richmond was simultaneously filled with charm and structural challenges before a recent renovation. Its picture perfect facade concealed a series of dilapidated additions at the rear, and the owners grappled with its seemingly paper-thin walls during Melbourne’s icy winter.

Interior design studio Heartly restored Cutter Cottage’s original detailing, alongside a spacious new extension that’s invisible from the street!

Christina Karras

Cutter Cottage by Heartly. Photo – Martina Gemmola

The original home was draughty and rundown before Heartly’s renovations. Photo – Martina Gemmola

The house been revamped in line with the contemporary needs and style of its owners. Print by Stuart Cantor. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Creating an open-plan kitchen, living and dining area was central to the brief. Photo – Martina Gemmola

The sleek marble kitchen. Photo – Martina Gemmola

The stairs to the extension also make room for the custom dining table by Joel Elliot. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Light and bright interiors bring the home into 2022. Photo – Martina Gemmola

‘The connection between the old and new structures is defined with a half arch,’ Heartly director and principal designer Mikayla Rose notes. Photo – Martina Gemmola

‘There is built-in storage under the bench seat and it is positioned to make use of the space under the stairs whilst allowing the dining chairs to be positioned out of the thoroughfare.’ Photo – Martina Gemmola

The renovations met the client’s wish for three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Photo – Martina Gemmola


Marble, brick and steel detailing feature throughout the home. Photo – Martina Gemmola

A look into the en suite bathroom. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Pink tiles bring a pop of colour. Painting by Annie Everingham. Photo – Martina Gemmola

In order to respect the neighbourhood character, the extension is invisible from the street. Photo – Martina Gemmola

A quiet and refined home amid Richmond’s hustle and bustle. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Christina Karras
28th of July 2022

Preserving the period charm of this Richmond cottage was front of mind for the owners when renovating the old brick building.

The couple purchased the property with a vision to create more bedrooms, new bathrooms, and an open-plan living, kitchen and dining room. They enlisted the help of design studio Heartly to reconcile a series of small lean-to style structures at the rear, while updating the home for modern, inner-city living.

‘The clients had kept it beautifully neat and tidy and decorated it with some joyful pieces, but it was very tired and extremely draughty,’ Heartly director and principal designer Mikayla Rose says. ‘The walls seemed paper thin, and they explained how cold and difficult it was to live in during Melbourne winter…We wanted to restore the original details and preserve the character and patina of the home.’

The owners and Mikayla were mindful of the project’s contribution to the streetscape, as well as heritage restrictions from the council.

To preserve the facade, the structure of the extension and first floor addition were designed to be hidden from the street. This required a careful redesign repositioning the staircase above the dining room.

Heartly also created a built-in bench seat and storage, cleverly making functional use of the space below.

The front rooms of the house were retained, and the hallway was pared back to the original brick wall that’s been painted white. Hints of the home’s history are referenced in use of reclaimed brick throughout.

A half arch subtly marks the connection between the old and new spaces inside.

While the completed Cutter Cottage appears minimalistic, Mikayla says elements of concrete, glass, oak, leather, linen and marble help give the property a warm and textural atmosphere.

‘The home has character but is also quite sharp and refined. It is light, bright, contemporary and uplifting,’ she notes. ‘The hustle, bustle and excitement of Richmond are left at the front door. Once inside, there is space to rejuvenate, work, play, and connect.’

See more projects from Heartly here.

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