Renovation for Adelaide heritage home

Adelaide builders Heritage Building Group have successfully transformed a rundown workman’s cottage into a light and airy home.

Nestled in the seaside suburb of Brighton, the 1920s cottage underwent a complete transformation taking the dwelling from a dark, damp small living space to a fully integrated home and work space.

Every detail has been considered, from respecting the original heritage exterior to applying a complimentary colour palette and soft furnishing scheme.

The project took just nine months to complete and came in on budget. You could say it was a dream run for the builders as the renovation was their own, however, choices and decisions still had to be made every step of the renovation process.

The brief

The owners originally purchased the rundown bungalow cottage to renovate it into a spacious home office. However, as the design evolved it was soon evident it should still retain the fundamentals of a functional home.

“The location was ideal, considering its proximity to the city, Adelaide Airport, restaurants and cafes and, of course, the ocean,” builder and owner James Wagner said. “Being so close to the beach meant it had to have a relaxed feel, yet be contemporary and well finished to cope with the everyday workings of a busy office.”

The challenge

The idea was to complement the classic design of the original 1925 home with a contemporary extension that would add space, natural light and functionality.

High on the list of must-haves was the owners desire to retain the three front rooms in their original form. Skirts, doors, floors and walls would need to be brought back to life after a thorough stripping of paint and replacement of fittings.

Their list of new rooms included a well-appointed ensuite,a spacious kitchen, large dining/family room and a decent-size family bathroom.

The owners also wanted to bring the outdoors “in” Wagner said. “Given the site wasn’t very large - approximately 300sqm - we had to maximise every available piece of space to ensure adequate living, work and play areas.

“We replaced all the windows throughout the property with double-glazed timber windows ensuring minimal noise disruption and providing additional insulation.”

The solution

Timber on the facade was restored and fresh coats of Dulux paint applied to every surface. Dulux Organic was chosen for the walls and spouting and Dulux Vivid White for the trims. A new roof in traditional corrugated zinc, a new picket fence, cottage plantings and stained timber decking gave the home renewed street appeal.

Inside, fireplaces were retained in the front rooms with French doors leading to the front deck. An ensuite was added to the master bedroom, complete with Villeroy & Boch sanitaryware and lush floor-to-ceiling porcelain tiles. Plumbing for the wall-hung toilet and basin was concealed to maximise space. The walk-in tiled shower with storage nib and Caesarstone benchtops with mirrored shaving wall cabinets maintain the clean lines featured throughout the home.

The second bedroom is of generous proportion and has the same high-quality finishes as the main bedroom. The rooms were completed with 100 per cent pure wool carpets and Dulux Grand Piano paint was chosen for the walls and trims.

The home office utilises most areas of the home from the front door entry hallway. To maximise space and light the single-story home with north-south frontage was stretched the length of the 300sqm block.

The modern extension offers a smart contrast to the original front of the home. The walls and ceilings were box set to eliminate cornices, durable porcelain tiling was chosen for the kitchen/living room flooring and Casearstone Linen benchtops and timber/veneer was blended with two pac Dulux Grand Piano for the kitchen cabinetry. The open-plan kitchen / living areas overlook a small, private courtyard lush with green foliage and a small water feature that add a calmness to living in a capital city. The bathrooms also overlook the courtyard, perfect for bath time relaxing. To add to the modern comforts, ducted cooling and heating was added throughout the home.

The renovation cost $300,000 and took about nine months to complete once building approvals were given. The result is a blend of functional old and new.

“We absolutely love this home office,” Wagner said. “The location is fantastic and the functionality of the home suits our life stage in that the home is not too large to manage.  

“We love the muted tones within the colour palette coupled with the stunning internal courtyard.

“We had to make the most of the compact site and whilst the gardens are small we have ensured that the selected plantings are ever-green and lush. The French doors open on to the front veranda where we can soak up the winter sun. It really is a special location.”

Build and Design: Heritage Building Group