When the owners of Curtin Residence engaged architects Cast Studio to update their Cottesloe home — just a few blocks from the beach — they had a clear motto in mind.
‘The clients’ brief was “better, not more,”’ Cast Studio director Stephen Hicks says.
The original California bungalow had previously been extended to include a dark and low lean-to kitchen and living area, with a tiny, unused garage sitting to the rear of the house. The couple had already completed a pool and landscaping at the rear, and were happy with the original house, so Stephen and his team were tasked with renovating the small extended section between.
‘The project is quite modest in its aspirations,’ Stephen says. ‘It would have been easy to build a double-level addition to the rear of the cottage, but our clients were content to keep the house as a two-bedroom residence that is compact and restrained.’
‘In a suburb of multi-level mansions, you can’t really see this little addition from the street, which we think is admirable.’
Instead of building upwards, they took the opportunity to increase the home’s sense of space with a soaring pitched roof over the west-facing living and kitchen, rotating the study and laundry to the north. A series of high-level windows help bring changing sunlight into the house, while unique bronze fins on the exterior shade the expanses of glass from the harsh Western Australian sun.
Stephen says the renovation was largely inspired by its location. ‘Towered over by giant Norfolk Pines, the house has a ‘beach’ feel that we sought to heighten by bringing in views towards the sky and the existing tree canopy,’ he explains.
Inside, the owners asked for a ‘fun space that didn’t take itself too seriously’. The resulting colour scheme is almost soft and summery, with muted blue, musk pint, and sage green that picks up on their playful collection of art and furniture, reflecting the couple’s friendly nature — as well as the casual atmosphere of the coastal neigbourhood.
Notes of warm timber make the home even more inviting, contrasting against the polished concrete floors, steel build and the endearing brickwork, both old and new. But Stephen says the best part of the 73-square-metre addition is the way the mood changes throughout the day, thanks to the windows along the east, north and west.
‘Early morning eastern sun peaks through in the living room before the protected northern windows bathe it in sunlight later in the day,’ he notes. ‘As the afternoon sun begins to come around to the west, the deeply recessed western windows drench everything in Perth’s brilliant sunlight.’