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A Victorian-era cottage in Sydney is Transformed into a contemporary-classic family home

The architects and designers at Alexander & Co. reorganised all the spaces to create a better sense of flow on one side and pay tribute to the spirit of the place on the other

By House & Garden South Africa | March 14, 2022 | Interiors

Southeast of Sydney in the neighbourhood of Darling Point, this 230-square-metre project consisted of remodelling an old cottage from the Victorian era, adding more space to provide its dwellers (a couple with three children) with a contemporary lifestyle.

Picture: Home entrance point

The team behind Australian studio Alexander & Co. – led by principal Jeremy Bull – found a house in poor condition, which had not been renovated since the 1970s. The property had a lot of charm but was not functional.The architects and designers at Alexander & Co. reorganised all the spaces to create a better sense of flow on one side and pay tribute to the spirit of the place on the other.

Photography by Tom Ferguson

On the exterior, where the white-painted brick structure was preserved, a small path adorned with blue-and-white geometric patterns leads to the entrance. Following the hall, which acts as a transitional space, the main living areas occupy the ground floor. The staircase was relocated to invite more natural light inside and improve the continuity between the different areas. ‘Our ambition was to pay homage to a traditional grand home within a limited footprint,’ says Jeremy. Alexander & Co. played with several historic references – such as the application of traditional paved limestone floors in the kitchen – but with a contemporary interpretation. ‘The project is beautiful in its exploration of finding the contemporary and grand within what is historic and compact, youthful but also reverential.’

Picture: Outside kitchen

The importance of textures (such as linen), the handmade and the robust spirit of the house in terms of materiality are reflected through the elegant design. All surfaces were carefully considered; materials are authentic and brass details add a refined touch. In this four-bedroom, two-bath home built on a small plot, the proportions are perfect.

Photography by Tom Ferguson

The limited colour palette expresses peacefulness and timelessness, which is particularly present in the airy living room where three French pivot doors open up to the terrace. In the dining room, which gives the feeling of being in a winter garden, a table for ten allows the owners to enjoy pleasant moments with their family and friends. The three children’s bedrooms and the couple’s master bedroom are located on the upper level. This clear separation between public and private areas helps to create a warm home and a tranquil refuge at the same time.

Photography by Tom Ferguson

In this house, classic pieces of design by masters such as Charlotte Perriand, Gio Ponti and Warren Platner combine with furniture and accessories by contemporary designers including Tom Dixon and Neri&Hu, as well as Armadillo & Co hand-woven rugs for a tactile effect. According to Jeremy, who considered every gesture and element to highlight refinement and authenticity, ‘this project is a delicate and slightly feminine study in the role of the contemporary classic’.

Written by: Karine Monie

Photographery by Tom Ferguson

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