After a poor renovation in the '80s, this historic Hobart Milkman's cottage was packed full of charm but felt dark, cramped and altogether awkward. A recent renovation by Preston Lane Architects completely transformed the cottage, turning into a surprisingly bright, spacious home in spite of its compact footprint. Here's how they did it...
The original renovation left the cottage with no connection to the outdoors and a dark and cramped internal layout. The front door was actually located at the back in a lean-to addition which contained the laundry and bathroom; far from a glamourous (or obvious) entrance! Outdoor space was close to the street which left it exposed to passersby
The aim of the renovation was to provide privacy, capture sunlight and create useable internal and external spaces without compromising the original cottage or heritage significance from the street.
"From the street, the extension sits comfortably beside the original facade of the milkman’s cottage and in context with its historic neighbour up the hill", Preston Lane Architects explains. The addition 'grows' out of the original cottage's dormer window, a sensitive way to connect old and new and steps back from the original home to create an entry and to maintain the proportions of the original facade, giving it some breathing room.
The addition uses double brick walls to mimick the solidity of the original cottage, while also providing additional protection from the busy street. A blank wall to the street focusses the eye on the original cottage and creates a screen for shadowplay in the evenings as people make their way home from work.
The original cottage houses a living space at ground level and a bedroom tucked under the roofline in the attic space. The addition contains kitchen and dining space, a bathroom, laundry space and a stair to the bedroom while still leaving space for a north-facing courtyard.
This unexpected outdoor space provides a sunny and private outdoor retreat. Double pivot doors swing open into the courtyard to allow the interior to expand outside, helping the home feel march larger than its actual square metres.
A clever study alcove in the bedroom overlooks the kitchen and dining spaces below, a playful and practical way to increase the sense of space in both rooms.
To maximise the sense of space inside the compact home, the architects focussed on volume and light. A cathedral ceiling gives all the available space under the roofline back to the living area and draws additional northern light in via a clerestory window.
"The newly altered home is essentially one large room divided into 'home zones'", explains the architect. "The two interlocking forms organize a collection of open rooms that result in the functions being defined by volume rather than walls and doors. Internally the connection between old and new appears seamless."
"The extension celebrates tall and light-filled spaces deliberately providing a contrast against the dimly lit and cosy alcoves of the original cottage. The subtle shift of materials and texture also highlights the shift between old and new." Preston Lane Architects
Milkman's Cottage ground floor plan
Milkman's Cottage first floor plan